The MLB trade deadline has come and gone though teams can actually still make moves by passing players through waivers. I actually found myself watching TV at 4p Saturday to see what last minute deals would take place. It was one of the perks of actually having the deadline take place on a Saturday this season! After scanning the market, and looking at the deals that took place, I’m convinced that the Texas Rangers come out as the biggest winners.
Before the trade deadline even approached the Rangers acquired ace Cliff Lee. But, since that trade occurred over three weeks ago, I won’t even address that move. The same goes for the Bengie Molina acquisition from the Giants at the end of June. But even without those moves, I still think the Rangers tremendously improved their club at the deadline.
Jorge Cantu is a solid acquisition for a club that needed a first baseman. Despite some recent struggles, he still had a .262 average with 10 home runs and 54 RBI at the time of the trade. He is a proven run producer with 100 RBI last season and 29 home runs in 2008. He very well could flourish in the boom box known as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He can also play third base, so that gives manager Ron Washington some options.
Another move that perhaps went under the radar a bit was the acquisition of another N.L. East player, Cristian Guzman. Guzman fell out of favor in Washington, a team that is obviously going through a youth movement, as he lost his starting shortstop position in the Spring. But he showed his true value by spending time at second base, shortstop, and right field. He’s a two-time All-Star and another guy who provides some options for Washington.
What makes these moves all the more remarkable to me is that the Rangers essentially did them using MLB’s credit card. The Rangers are currently going through bankruptcy proceeding that very well could put Texas sports icons Nolan Ryan and Mark Cuban in a bidding war. Yet, somehow, the Rangers were able to improve the club considerably over the past month.
I commend the Rangers for not standing pat. The Rangers currently hold the majors’ biggest division lead at eight games, and probably could have cruised into the playoffs with the A.L. West title. But there’s still two months to go and it’s a well known fact that the August heat often wears down the Rangers. The team needs all the fresh bodies it can get and acquiring versatile players like Cantu and Guzman provide a big lift. Plus, there’s a general consensus that the American League championship goes through the A.L. East, and Texas is out to disprove that theory.
The Yankees, as Babe Ruthless argues today, may have made the higher profile moves, but the Rangers made the better “team” moves. It could prove beneficial when October rolls around.