From Nothing To A Lot of Something


July 31st proved to be a busy day for the Texas Rangers after what seemed to be a quiet week leading up to today’s trade deadline. Several moves were officially announced today. The following is what was done and my thoughts regarding each move. 
Move #1: Texas trades Jacob Brigham to the Chicago Cubs for Catcher Geovany Soto

I had always stated that Texas needed a new bat in the form of a catcher or another outfielder. However Geovany Soto was not the answer I had in mind. Yes he was the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year when he hit .285 with 23 home runs but this season he’s posted a line of .199/.284/.347 with six home runs. Defensively, though, he has only allowed one past ball. 

As for Brigham he was just an average pitcher in the farm system who was 5-5 on the season with 4.50 ERA, 4.58 FIP, .300 BABIP and 1.35 WHIP. I was not worried about losing him. 

The next question was what would this mean for Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba?

Move #2: Texas Designates Yorvit Torrealba for Assignment

Well that answered that question. Even though Torrealba had posted better numbers (.236/.302/.342) his defense had become suspect of late and he was struggling at the plate. Maybe the Rangers front office is anticipating that a change of scenery will help. 

Move #3: Texas lands Ryan Dempster in a Last Minute Trade

It came down to the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees and in the end Jon Daniels managed to land Dempster from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Class A third baseman Christian Villanueva and pitcher Kyle Hendricks. This really surprised me as it meant that Texas did not have to deal away any of its top prospects. Villanueva was extremely expendable with Adrian Beltre in the bigs and Mike Olt and Joey Gallo really impressing the club in the minors. Hendricks is an A-ball pitcher and there’s really no telling how he will develop. 

As for Dempster I really love the move. His record is 5-5 but you have to take into account that he pitched for the Cubs and got very little run support. It’s another reason why I don’t believe in wins and losses being a viable stat for a pitcher. What impresses me is his 2.25 ERA, 3.41 FIP, .242 BABIP and 1.04 WHIP. Die-hard Rangers fans will also remember that Dempster was drafted by Texas in 1995 and traded to the Florida Marlins in 1996 for pitcher John Burkett. Seventeen years later he finally joins the Rangers. 

Move #4: The Rangers Announce Roy Oswalt Will Move to the Bullpen

This came as no shock to me as I assumed he would go to the bullpen or be placed on the disabled list to deal with his back. His numbers thus far are quite horrendous: 6.49 ERA, 4.63 FIP, .409 BABIP and a 1.73 WHIP. With the re-emergence of Scott Feldman in the rotation and the acquisition of Dempster this means that Oswalt will be the long reliever out of the bullpen and gives Texas a starting rotation consisting of Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Ryan Dempster and Scott Feldman though not in that particular order. If Oswalt can get his command back down he could become a very valuable asset out of the pen.

Move #5: Neftali Feliz Will Have Tommy John Surgery, Done for the Season

I never liked the idea of moving Feliz to the starting rotation. He had already been on the disabled list in the past as a reliever with shoulder and arm problems and I felt that stretching him out would do more harm than good so it came as no surprise to me when it was announced that he would have season-ending Tommy John surgery after experiencing elbow problems while rehabbing for a shoulder issue that landed him on the DL to begin with. 

To sum everything up Jon Daniels is a genius still and was able to get two players for very little risk and no damage to the farm system. The Rangers still have the Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe set to return soon to bolster the bullpen. Would I still like to see another bat off the bench? Sure. But that’s what the waiver-trade deadline is all about and I expect JD and company to pull another rabbit out of their hat.  
James Holland is a Senior Columnist for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at or@SDIJamesHolland on Twitter.
James Holland

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