The Rangers have been on fire here as of late and it seems like the roster is starting to work as a machine. In tonight’s win over the Astro’s the Rangers have now won 19 games in June with only four losses. Overall though the Rangers have had somewhat of an easy stretch through interleague play, facing the Brewers, Marlins, Pirates and Astros twice.
Interleague play winds up tomorrow and on Tuesday its back to normal with the Rangers heading to Los Angeles to face off against the Angels in a three game set. The Rangers currently hold a 4.5 game lead in the West over the Angels. After the three game series, the Rangers lead could be anywhere from 1.5 games if they are swept to 7.5 game if they sweep the Angels. This figures are contingent on either both the Rangers and Angels losing or winning tomorrow. If one wins and the other doesn’t then it could be even closer or farther apart tomorrow.
The Rangers will make the three game trip to Los Angeles before returning home to face the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians and then finally a four game set with Baltimore Orioles before the All-Star break. So out of that stretch the Angels should be the toughest opponent although the White Sox have improved considerably as of late.
The Rangers are looking forward to the All-Star break, but the main thing that could have a profound effect on the season is whether the Rangers sale is finalized and the new group headed by Nolan Ryan and Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg will be able to foot the bill for a player such as Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt. Until then the Ranger’s money is basically controlled by Major League Baseball, so there will be no huge expenditures for the time being.
The appealing part about Lee is he is coming from a team that had high hopes before the season began and it seems they are consistently getting there hearts broken. The team has started off poorly and then Ken Griffey Jr who attempted to stretch it out one more season in Seattle, but then suddenly retired after some controversy.
Griffey had found himself underachieving and in a role that he was not familiar with or did he really like. The same can be said for Boston’s Mike Lowell. If you remember he almost became a Ranger, but medical issues nixed the trade. Which is a pretty good thing because the player who was to be sent to Boston is Max Ramirez who is serving as the back up to Matt Treanor.
Lowell has not really had a roster spot all season, has played in very few games and has not had the opportunity to find his grove. He has asked to be traded or released so he can play daily elsewhere, but the Red Sox have not granted him either since the season began and now he is injured on the disabled list. It will be interesting to see how long he stays on the list and if he will play another game in a Boston uniform.
Well, I did not mean to go off on that but back to Lee. So far this season he has a record of 6-3 with a 2.39ERA in 11 starts. The Mariners expected to win the division this year and they are currently in the cellar so chances are pretty good since this is Lee’s last year in the current contract he will be shipped off for some prospects to replenish the ones taken by Phillies when they sent him over.
So basically Lee could be more cost effective in the short term and could help push towards that American League West title in 2010. The flip side of him being more cost effective because he could only be there short term is the fact that he also could be less cost effective in terms of prospects. I am sure the Mariners will expect a lot from any team lucky enough to acquire his services, so you have to decide if the cost is worth the time he would be in a Ranger’s uniform.
That’s why Roy Oswalt is more appealing because he is owed more money, somewhere around $29 million to estimate, but he is also signed through next year. So you will get a solid season plus the remainder of this season if he were to come to the Rangers, which I personally feel is better because you are getting more value for you prospects. He does have a full no-trade clause so flipping him next season for prospects if the season is not looking so good is highly unlikely.
The Astros have been pretty close to the worst team in baseball this season so Oswalt’s 5-9 record is not truly reflective of his performance. He does although have a 3.08 ERA which is impressive. Again it will be the same for Oswalt as it would be for Lee in that the Astros are going to require a lot in return and it may be more than the Rangers can stomach on either player. Right now I feel the roster is strong with few glitches. I would evaluate the team over the All-Star break and then see if I needed to fix anything if I were the G.M. of the Rangers.