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December 02, 2008

Transaction Rundown

Texas offered salary arbitration to OF MILTON BRADLEY and declined to offer to SP JASON JENNINGS, RP JAMEY WRIGHT, and IF RAMON VAZQUEZ.

Market conditions led to a surprising number of marquee free agents relinquished without arbitration offers. Texas decided to extend an offer to Bradley and will receive a supplemental 1st-round pick if he declines, which is probable. If the economic situation degrades further by the weekend, exacerbating the budget constraints suddenly affecting numerous franchises (or giving teams cover to constrain their budgets, if you’re cynically inclined), Bradley might change his mind.

That’s a mixed blessing. A one-year deal would suit Texas just fine. Bradley unquestionably improves the team, even if he doesn’t repeat his 2008. On the other hand, his presence in the outfield would relegate a potentially start-worthy outfielder (other than Josh Hamilton) to a bench role. If he’s mostly a DH, Texas might be compelled to say “oh Hank Blalock won’t you try third base again pretty please? or to play Blalock at first and Davis at third, neither of which serves the goal of improving Texas’s dreadful ’08 defense.

Not to mention further marginalizing Frank Catalanotto. Anyway…

Texas might pursue Jennings on a minor-league deal. Super, as long as he doesn’t get an out clause that precedes mid-May or so. If he insists on an Opening Day Or Split contract, there’s no point.

Vazquez will attempt to persuade some team that he’s swiped a jar of Rudy Jaramillo’s magic pixie dust; that is, he’s the next Mark Derosa, not the next Gary Matthews. Vazquez had a career line of .251/.319/.343 prior to 2008, so good luck with that.

Wright deserves mention in regard to the other transaction:

Texas traded reliever WES LITTLETON to Boston for future considerations (cash or up to two players to be named later).

Opponents hit .339/.411/.464 against Wright after July 1st. He was permitted to face 379 batters in 2008 while Wes Littleton burned his last option. Not that Littleton is The Answer, but still…

Posted by Lucas at December 2, 2008 12:51 AM