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December 07, 2005

Transaction: Soriano Traded

Texas has traded 2B ALFONSO SORIANO to the Washington Nationals for OF BRAD WILKERSON, OF TEREMEL SLEDGE, and pitcher ARMANDO GALARRAGA.

Hello, Jon Daniels!

Montreal picked Wilkerson 33rd overall in the 1998 and he debuted in 2001. He is two years younger than Soriano and has a career line of .256/.365/.452, an OBP+ of 107 and an SLG+ of 104. Wilkerson hit only eleven homers in 2005 after popping a career-high 32 the year before. He didn’t miss many games in ’05 but did suffer from a variety of minor ailments that may have sapped his power. Wilkerson plays the corner outfield positions well and can hold down center field. He enters his second year of arbitration eligibility and made a hair over $3 million in 2005.

Sledge is two months older than Wilkerson but has played only one full, healthy season in the Majors. He batted .269/.336/.462 for Montreal in 2004, then missed most of last year with hamstring and shoulder injuries. Arguably, Sledge has the talent to start, but where he fits among Wilkerson, Mench, Dellucci, Matthews, Nix and Boots remains to be seen. Both he and David Dellucci bat lefthanded, so they don’t make a conventional platoon.

Baseball America rated the soon-to-be 24-year-old Galarraga Washington’s #5 prospect one month ago. Galarraga dominated the high-A Carolina League for half a season, then posted a 5.19 ERA with adequate peripherals for AA Harrisburg. Washington just placed him on their 40-man roster in October, so Texas has ample time to groom him.

So, what will Texas do with its suddenly crowded outfield? They now have seven outfielders with ML experience. Are they prepared to enter 2006 with Ian Kinsler at second? Will they need to clear room on a 40-man roster that now has 39 players? Daniels probably has more deals to make. The Soriano trade gives him about $5 million extra spending money.

The departed Soriano finds himself without a position for the moment, as Washington already employs Jose Vidro, though Vidro does have lingering knee problems. Frank Robinson might have to sweet-talk Fonzie into an outfield spot.

Posted by Lucas at December 7, 2005 11:59 PM