Why Did the Texas Rangers Deal Alex Claudio to the Brewers?
By Kenneth Nash
The Texas Rangers made a surprising move to close out the Winter Meetings last week by dealing reliever Alex Claudio to the Brewers. Why’d they do it?
Previously rumored to be a trade piece during last summer, the market around Alex Claudio this winter wasn’t one that was heavily discussed. For that reason, it came as a bit of a surprise when the Texas Rangers agreed to send the unique left-handed reliever to the Milwaukee Brewers for a compensation draft pick.
What Did They Give Up In Claudio?
Last season Claudio had a bit of a down year that was synonymous with the rest of the Rangers organization. In 66 appearances Claudio threw 68.1 innings and posted a 4.48 ERA. His WHIP climbed to 1.522 which was the highest of his career as was his ERA.
Despite the poor 2018, Claudio has been one of the more consistent relievers in the Texas bullpen over the past few years. His most impressive season came in 2017 which is likely what Milwaukee is banking on in this trade. In 2017, Claudio threw a career-high 82.2 innings, posted a career-low 2.50 ERA and his 1.040 was impressive enough to get him a 2.7 WAR.
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The funky lefty reliever was a fan favorite in Arlington and was poised to be one of the regulars in the Rangers bullpen this upcoming season. Additionally, he still has 3 years of team control and at only 26, offers a long-term option for whatever team he’s on.
What Did They Get Back And Why Did They Do It?
In return for the young left-hander, the Texas Rangers got back a compensation draft pick from the Brewers. The pick they received will likely be the 40th overall in the upcoming draft which essentially gives the Rangers two first rounders in 2019. Additionally, the Rangers receive additional bonus slot money which frees them up extra cash to assure they can sign all their draft picks even if they want money above slot value.
Considering the Rangers are on a quest for pitching prospects that aren’t far away from the big leagues, it seems a bit curious that they would make a move for a draft pick. However, it’s likely that this compensation round pick likely is the best offer they could garner for Claudio. While Claudio is effective, his low strikeout rate and down year mean his value wasn’t at its peak. It’s safe to assume that the Rangers felt that any prospects they might’ve gotten in return for Claudio didn’t match the perceived talent they can get from a 40th overall pick.