Mark Teixeira. Eric Gagne. Akinora Otsuka. Kenny Lofton. Jamey Wright. Brad Wilkerson. Sammy Sosa. Joaquin Benoit. Jon Daniels. Tom Hicks.
Speculation has been made about each of the above going elsewhere be the July 31 trade deadline (OK, the last two are wishful speculation on my part – but I know you’re with me there). But with only 11 days to go, much is left to be done. Will Hicks and Daniels flop again this trade season, or with more players on the block than any other team in baseball, will we see a flurry of trades could define the Rangers’ future?
Jamey Wright’s performance on Saturday may make or break some teams’ interest in him after an impressive streak (2-0 with a 1.38 era in July). With few arms on the market, he could actually command some decent value – maybe a decent outfield prospect to join Marlon Byrd in the Rangers’ 2008 lawn guard?
Offers for Tex should be solidifying as I write. But can Little Jon DanielsHart get the arm(s) the Rangers MUST get in return for Teixeira?
With Otsuka on the DL, teams are asking about Benoit. The Rangers have to decide if Joaquin can be this good as a middle reliever for at least 2-4 years since the Rangers should still be rebuilding next season but ready to compete in 2009. Or has he FINALLY peaked and thus should be dealt now?
Gagne should be gone in a week or so. There’s no reason to keep for the rest of the season when he’ll be a free agent in the winter (one of MANY closers who’ll be available) and several contenders are hurting for a closer. Factor in the injury risks, and trading Gagne ASAP is the smart decision. But can JD get anything in return?
Lofton is an oft-overlooked commodity. He’s a seasoned veteran who, at 40, is still putting up numbers that any contender would love to have (.309/.391/.447 with 20 SBs). He’d be a rent-a-player, which will decrease his value, but he should still command a mid-tier prospect or two.
Wilkerson is a mystery to me. Why is this guy still in the Major Leagues, and why are there rumors that some teams might want to acquire his services? He’s making $4.35 MILLION DOLLARS this year. Why? He’s a career .249 hitter (with a career best avg of .268 in ’03) who is on pace to achieve twice as many strikeouts as hits by next season. If someone will offer the Rangers a bag of peanuts for Wilkerson, I think JD has to pull the trigger. $4.35 MILLION for that? There’s conclusive proof that sports economics have gone crazy.
And, with a big “in your face” to all the nay-sayers, Sammy Sosa has played well enough to attract interest from some contenders – especially as a lefty-killer. But his miserable July could mute interest.
So, who goes first?
My money is on Lofton. He’s the surest bet for the least sacrifice the Rangers have to offer. Gagne and Tex should command MUCH more, but getting a deal done for Kenny is a cleaner matter.