Still loving all the rumoring that’s flying around. Some idiot on ESPN said today he doesn’t think a Teixeira trade will happen before the deadline. Let’s hope my impression of his idiocy and the diminishing ineptitude of Jon Daniels are proven true in the next few days.
Today’s rumors that place the Angels in the lead baffle me. Apparently the deal would be Tex for Kotchman, Santana and another major leaguer (maybe Joe Saunders?). If the deal includes Saunders, I think the Rangers should do it in a hearbeat. He’s a young left-handed arm who’s had success in the majors – in the AL no less. Santana’s decline this season is disturbing; if the Angels haven’t been able to get him right, the odds are lower that the Rangers could. Kotchman is no Tex (yet), but especially as a lefty, his numbers would improve in The Ballpark and his hot May (.435/.575/.363) including a 6-for-14 performance with 1 HR over 4 games against the Rangers in The Ballpark that month provided flashes of what could be.
But why would the Angels make this move? The one reason that keeps leaping to mind is that they see a short two-year window for contending. If so, grabbing Tex makes sense for them. But with Colon on the DL (and clearly struggling with nagging injuries when he’s been on the field) and the Mariners chasing hard, can Lackey and Escobar and something from Weaver plus a big offensive spark from Tex paired with Vlad carry them to the post-season? I think so, but it’s going to be a tight a race unless the inconsistent Mariners have their wheels fall off.
Once in the playoffs, the Angels should be feared, especially if they can nurse Colon along through the season and let him cut loose in the 3 spot in the post-season. With Lackey and Escobar pitching about as well as anyone in the league, the Angels could threaten Boston or Detroit, especially in a 5-game series. In a 7-game series, their offense may have to win at least one game for them, but with Vlad getting protection from Tex, I’d like those odds if I were an Angels fan.
But for the long-term, this deal would probably favor the Rangers. Don’t see Tex (with Boras) signing long-term with the Angels. But the problem with long-term is that there are so many variables. At his current rate of decline, Santana could be stuck in the minors for the rest of his career, or he could rebound and become a key cog in the Rangers rotation. Kotchman and Saunders are pretty solid bets to be very productive major-leaguers by 2009 (again, the first season the Rangers should be seriously eyeing for contention) and beyond, but you never know. Injury, decline after a change of scenery, teams, ballparks, weather, time zones – you name it could dampen things. Same if these guys stay with the Angels. I guess what I’m getting at is the more I think about it, the more it makes sense for the Angels. They KNOW what they’ll get from Tex, and they KNOW what they need to do this season. And although Detroit and Boston look hard to stop, the Angels could become that one team that seems to pop up every year that nobody wants to play.