Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Davis: Ranger fans are probably all too aware of what Chris Davis has done since he became a member of the Orioles. In his first half season with the Orioles Davis appeared to have been exactly what he was on the Rangers: his OPS was merely .708 while his K:BB ratio remained more than concerning at 39:6. Still, that was only a small sample size and clearly Chris was able to turn the corner for his next season in black and orange. In 2012 and 2013 combined Chris his hit 86 homeruns, produced a more respectable 3.37:1 K:BB ratio (which improved in his monster 2013 year), won a silver slugger award, made an all-star appearance, and helped lead the Orioles to a playoff berth. Despite his big year though, most people expect there to be some regression on Davis’ part (after all, back to back 50+ HR season are remarkable these days). Considering that he is no longer in his “magic” age-27 season, is now under the scouting microscope, and his ever-present his swing-and-miss proclivity I would imagine Davis to be a player with numbers closer to his 2012 production than that of his 2013 season going forward.
Tommy Hunter: Hunter, now in his age 27/28 (He was born July 3rd) season, had a turbulent first full year in Baltimore where he served up 32 homeruns in the not-so-spacious Camden Yards. The Orioles chose, last year, to give him a shot as a reliever where he could ratchet up his velocity in shorter bursts; he averaged 91.6 MPH on his fastball as a starter in 2012 and 96.0 last year as a reliever according to FanGraphs. Given this role swaps success (2.81 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 86.1 IP in 2013), the Orioles have promoted Hunter to be their closer. This year Hunter is off to a decent start (3.12 ERA, 6/7 on save opportunities) and is under contract for only 3 milion dollars making him an affordable cog in the back end of Baltimore’s bullpen.
Verdict: I think this was a trade the Rangers could have been better off not making. Still, the magnitude of how bad a trade it was can never really be determined: Chris Davis simply did not look ready to take off as a member of the Texas Rangers (whom had given him chances) and who could say if he ever was going to without a beneficial change of scenery. Yet considering the tumultuous state of the bullpen these days I think its safe to say having Tommy Hunter around might have been a good thing looking back. Another sour part of this trade, in my opinion, was the return. Koji Uehara gave up 8 runs in 18 regular season innings after being traded in 2011 and, when the stakes were highest, gave up three homeruns in three appearances in the 2011 playoffs (good for a 33.75 ERA). His 2012 was a far stronger campaign that featured far fewer homeruns allowed and he very well may have been a valuable enough piece to give Texas that boost that put the Rangers in the wildcard game (he was, after all, worth 1.5 WAR and the Rangers needed each and every win to just play a 163rd game). But was extending the 2012 season one game worth Davis and Hunter’s best years: unlikely.