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July 27, 2005

ESPN Column

Soriano’s Days Numbered In Single Digits?
With the Rangers quickly falling out of the race for the postseason, Texas looks like they’ll be selling. ALFONSO SORIANO stands out among tradeable players, and rumors abound of him going to the Mets, Yankees, and even the Twins and Mets. Trading him makes sense for Texas (in my opinion), but his departure is by no means assured. Owners in AL-only leagues need to prepare to compensate for a hole in their lineups. Owners in mixed leagues can relax; Soriano would move to a more pitcher-friendly park wherever he goes, but he’ll remain an elite fantasy performer. Prospect IAN KINSLER would probably take Soriano’s place. Kinsler is batting an unexciting .261/.329/.454 in AAA and wouldn’t have any value in mixed leagues at the onset.

Rogers Officially Suspended, Sort of
Baseball upheld the 20-game suspension of KENNY ROGERS for shoving two cameramen and generally making a fool of himself. The Players Association has appealed the ruling and will get a hearing on August 8, but in the meantime Rogers really and truly will not play. In his absence, Texas will need a replacement for this Saturday in Toronto and August 6th versus Baltimore. Candidates include C.J. WILSON, recently acquired JAMES BALDWIN, JOHN WASDIN and JUAN DOMINGUEZ. Baldwin has pitched well in relief but really isn’t ready to start. For fantasy purposes, none is desirable in any league, though Dominguez has the best chance to do well.

Nix Done
LAYNCE NIX will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Nix actually injured his right shoulder two weeks ago. Apparently the tear is a remnant of an injury suffered last June that caused him to miss a month. Barring a trade, GARY MATTHEWS will start most games in center field. He has batted incredibly well of late but doesn’t have much of a track record. He’ll provide some assistance in AL-only leagues but is a dubious long-term choice in most mixed leagues.

Gonzalez Recalled
ADRIAN GONZALEZ has rejoined the squad after three months in the minors. Gonzalez has started three of five games since his return and has batted .333 with a run and RBI. It’s hard to predict how often he’ll play since the personnel could change by next week. For that matter, Texas might trade Gonzalez. At the moment, he has some value in larger AL-only leagues. He stands a good chance to see more playing time down the road assuming he doesn’t switch franchises, so keep an eye on him. His arrival also permits Texas to play DAVID DELLUCCI in the outfield occasionally and rest KEVIN MENCH and RICHARD HIDALGO.

Other Rumors
I can understand why Kansas City covets Mench. I can’t see Texas giving him away for whatever the Royals have to offer. Expect Mench and Dellucci to stay with Texas. John Hart inexplicably bears a fondness in his heart for Baltimore’s Sidney Ponson and is dangling Hidalgo. What a blockbuster that would be. Ponson has an ERA of 5.01 in what has been an extraordinarily pitcher-friendly park this season, so it’s tough to fathom how he could assist even the rotationally challenged Rangers. If Hidalgo leaves, Texas may re-recall JASON BOTTS and actually give him an at-bat or two.

Posted by Lucas at July 27, 2005 11:54 PM