Just days following the trade that sent Koji Uehara to Texas, the Rangers made yet another move to bolster their ‘pen sending a pair of young pitching prospects to San Diego in return for proven setup man Mike Adams.
This year, Robbie had a strong spring striking out 12 in 12.1 innings and surrendered only two runs. That showing led to a role as the Padres fifth starter on opening day. Ross hopes 2014 is a big year for him and that he can remain in the Padres rotation for a full year and beyond. To date, Erlin is just 1-4 with a 5.83 but those poor numbers are skewed by one very rough start (5.1 IP, 13H, 8ER) in Washington against the Nationals’ potent offense. Despite this, Erlin has walked just 7 batters in 29.1 innings opposed to recording 25 strikeouts and has only surrendered two homeruns. On the Rangers, Erlin would seem to fill a similar fifth starter role these days given the Rangers’ injuries and would doubtlessly be a valuable piece to have around.
Wieland: Joe Wieland was the other promising young arm the Rangers sent to San Diego in exchange for Mike Adams; originally drafted in the 4th round of 2008 the righty is now 24 years old ranked on MLB.com as the Padres 10th best prospect and hopes to join Erlin sooner than later in the Padres rotation. Wieland’s progress was halted when he needed Tommy John surgery in the middle of his 2012 campaign, which sidelined the right-hander for the rest of 2012 and all of 2013. Wieland struggled mightily in spring training this year (2.86 WHIP, 1:1 K:BB ratio) but showed enough potential pre-surgery to give the Padres good reason to believe he can be a valuable piece should he find his old form. Should he have better luck getting healthy in the near future, Wieland could find himself back in San Diego and with a contributing role.
Verdict: I, personally, am neutral on this trade. The Rangers got 78 good innings out of Mike Adams over one and a half years and he collected 2 wins with a 3.24 ERA in the 2011 postseason despite a 2.04 WHIP. But the Rangers did sacrifice two good prospects to fortify their bullpen further just days after sending two Major League players to Baltimore. Wieland’s stock has fallen following Tommy John surgery and a subsiquently complicated path back to good health. Erlin has ascended through the ranks and is now getting his first real chance to shine in the Majors. Had this trade not taken place, Ranger fans likely would have seen Erlin last year (maybe in Justin Grimm or Nick Tepesch‘s place); he even could have been a part of the Matt Garza trade but that is obviously just speculation. Regardless, had Jon Daniels opted to not pull the trigger these two players would have, in all likelihood, have been actively followed in Rangers minor league reports and could have been making contributions (barring injuries in Wielands case) right about now. On the other hand, the Rangers were one strike away (twice) from a World Series Title in 2011 and Mike Adams playoff performance, on paper, put them two wins closer to glory.