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August 04, 2005

ESPN Column

Trade Winds Blow Softly
After weeks of speculation and intrigue, the Rangers retained the services of ALFONSO SORIANO but traded the seemingly untradeable CHAN HO PARK. Texas technically can still trade Soriano or anyone else, but players must now pass through waivers. Since none of the bottom-ranked teams would dare claim Soriano and his $7.5 million salary, the Rangers might yet work out a deal with a mid-level team. Odds are he'll finish the season in Arlington, and AL-only owners can rest a little more easily.

Nevin Arrives
Texas traded Park to San Diego for Phil Nevin. Nevin's role is undefined for the long term, but so far he's watched from the bench once and then batted cleanup against a lefty and a righty. He doesn't deserve such placement against anyone, yet there he is. Texas may be showcasing him for another trade. Clearly he merits pickup in AL-only leagues, although he shouldn’t provide more than middling production. Nevin has batted a loathsome .256/.301/.399 this season in hitter-hating Petco Park. In mixed leagues, avoid him for now if your league has ten or fewer teams. Incidentally, Park joined the Rangers the same season I "joined" ESPN, and I'm relieved I don't have to write about him anymore.

Seems Like Old Times
The Rangers have quickly reverted to their m.o. of not offering any worthwhile starting pitchers in mixed leagues. That's not entirely true, as KENNY ROGERS should provide help once his suspension ends. As for the rest... CHRIS YOUNG has run off the rails in his last nine starts, his ERA jumping from 2.78 to 4.94. Oddly, most of his peripherals haven't changed dramatically, and in fact his strikeout rate has increased. The killer is his home run rate. Young allowed four homers in his first thirteen starts and twelve in his last nine. Since he'd mostly stayed the course except for that one (admittedly important) statistic, I'd suggested to some emailers that he deserved another chance against Tampa Bay Monday night. Let's just say that didn't work out.

Now, with Young presumably facing a solid Orioles offense in Arlington followed by the Yankees on the road, mixed leaguers should cut bait. Likewise, mixed leaguers should look skeptically upon JOAQUIN BENOIT and his 1.94 ERA. Benoit has a checkered history as a starter and will face Baltimore and Boston in his next attempts.

Posted by Lucas at August 4, 2005 12:29 AM