In an effort to strengthen their somewhat dysfunctional bullpen, the Rangers have embarked on a trade just prior to the MLB Trade Deadline.
Various sources have reported that the Texas Rangers have acquired 36-year-old setup man Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles for first/third baseman Chris Davis and right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter. The Rangers have provided the O’s two very young players in their mid-twenties with tons of potential for a much older setup man.
While Uehara has had a fantastic season posting an incredible 1.72 ERA over 47 innings with 62 strikeouts. However, the Rangers weren’t in the need of a setup man – they needed a closer. Uehara does have experience as a closer, though, having recorded 13 saves last year even though he was on the disabled list for two months.
Chris Davis is a very impressive 25-year-old that can play at first and third and has been significantly improving both his offensive and defensive skills. Tommy Hunter, also 25, may have been out most of the season but hasn’t done terrible in the bullpen since his return – there’s been worse performances this season. Hunter has had eight appearances in which he has posted an earned run average of 2.93.
Hunter is a guy that the Rangers could potentially use next year in their starting rotation, as a spot starter this season or to replace a starter in the rotation if they were to get injured. Hunter went 13-4 last year with the Rangers posting a 3.73 ERA and had a spot in the starting rotation prior to injuring his hamstring taking him out and being replaced with RHP Alexi Ogando, who has proved his spot in the rotation not allowing Hunter his position back when he returned. Regardless of that fact, who is to say that Hunter couldn’t have continued being productive the rest of this season and the next and the next?
Hunter is likely to end up in the starting rotation of Baltimore whether it be this year or next. He’ll definitely have a spot in there somewhere I’m certain. Davis will have more of a chance to progress in the majors with the O’s than he would have with the Rangers. So, in a sense, for Davis and Hunter, moving to Baltimore is probably in their favor; however, I’m just not entirely certain that this was a trade that the Rangers should have completed despite the fact that Uehara could close – and close well in most cases – if needed.
I don’t know…I just have a bad feeling about this one. Hopefully, it will turn out to be a winning trade and it very well could as long as Uehara gets his pitching tactics in order and minimizes the allowance of fly balls, which could easily turn into home runs – especially in Arlington.
I suppose it’s not all bad. He’ll be a decent addition to the bullpen and the Rangers didn’t have to give up any real big names or top prospects in the club, which is a good thing. So, I guess I will be content with this deal for now, but he better put up some good numbers and keep those home runs to a very bare minimum or my comfort will subside….and quickly.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the Rangers will still try for Heath Bell; should they?