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October 31, 2008

Transactions A Go-Go

3B HANK BLALOCK, IF RAMON VAZQUEZ, OF MILTON BRADLEY, SP JASON JENNINGS, and RP JAMEY WRIGHT declared free agency.

Texas will surely exercise its $6.2 million options on Blalock, despite the question of where he’ll play (third, first, DH… another team).

I loved watching Bradley achieve his career year in Texas. Some team will pay too much hoping he’ll repeat it.

Jamey Wright, 2007: ERA 3.62, SO rate 12%, opposing line .259/.362/.381
Jamey Wright, 2008: ERA 5.12, SO rate 16%, opposing line .283/.362/.377

Wright’s ERA jumped 1.50 despite a nearly identical batting line and better strikeout rate. What happened? Additional strikeouts mitigated the increased hit rate on balls in play (from a rather lucky .281 to .328), but his “ability? to bear down in dangerous situations collapsed. Opponents batted a meager .188/.287/.325 against Wright with runners in scoring position in 2007, then a terrifying .330/.417/.470 this season.

The truth lies in the middle. I’m no fan of Wright and argued against his re-signing last winter, but, used judiciously, he’s an adequate reliever. Judicious means long relief, not setup. Even with rotation improvements, Texas likely will need another long man to assist Josh Rupe. If the Rangers offer Wright a contract with that role in mind, I won’t fume too much. If they don’t, I won’t fume at all.

Texas may offer Jennings a minor-league deal. Excellent idea, especially if it lacks a late-March out clause.

Vazquez (career: .257/.328/.358) wants a multi-year deal. I suppose he also fancies himself a starter after slugging a career-best-by-far .430. So, there’s two good reasons to let him walk. The mustache makes three.

And previously… Texas removed pitchers BRIAN GORDON, A.J. MURRAY, JOHN RHEINECKER, and BILL WHITE from the 40-man roster.

Texas could sign one or more of these guys to minor-league deals. Gordon’s more than a nice story. I’m not suggesting he’s more than a long reliever, but he can command three pitches with a wide range in velocity. If Gordon doesn’t pitch in the Majors in 2009, I will post an animated gif of a wagging finger next to a list 20 sub-replacement relievers earning more than the league minimum.

Murray missed the entirety of 2004 and 2006 with injuries, was recast as a starter in 2008, and… missed the latter half of the season with injuries. Murray’s BB/SO ratio nosedived during his limited exposure to MLB hitters.

Despite missing nearly all of 2008, Rheinecker remains the best player in the not-so-epic three-way swap involving him, John Koronka, Juan Dominguez, and Freddie Bynum. Oakland selected him 37th overall in the 2001 draft. 38th: David Wright.

Bill White regularly strikes out 10-11 batters per nine innings in the minors. Alas, to date he hasn’t exhibited even rudimentary control in the Majors (25% walk rate!), so off he goes.

Posted by Lucas at October 31, 2008 06:48 PM