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Just The Sports: Rangers-Brewers Trade Thoughts

Just The Sports

Friday, July 28, 2006

Rangers-Brewers Trade Thoughts

With the trading of Carlos Lee from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench, and Laynce Nix, both teams have fulfilled needs.

For the Texas Rangers, the need they had to fulfill was a short-term need and Lee does seem to be the answer to that since he is an improvement over the play they were getting from outfielder Kevin Mench. The two players have similar batting averages (.286 for Lee and .284 for Mench), but Lee has shown himself to be more proficient at getting on base and has hit for more power this season, giving him a .295 GPA to Mench's .247 GPA (remember to read GPA as you would a batting average). What should also be considered is that Lee has put up his power numbers in Milwaukee in a home park that is largely neutral. Since Arlington ballpark is a severe hitter's park, his slugging percentage has a chance to increase over his Milwaukee numbers, but will 60 games be enough for Lee to contribute the significant value the Rangers need in order to win the AL West division title?

Also, the Rangers foisted a struggling reliever in Francisco Cordero (-.888 WXRL) onto the Brewers and removed any temptation to call on him for a relief appearance.

On the other hand, the Milwaukee Brewers finally came to the realization that they had no chance at making the playoffs and made this trade for the long-term. Carlos Lee was going to be a free agent after this season and the Brewers knew the chances of re-signing him were non-existent so they pulled the trigger. Because they did this, it is evident that the organization is much more comfortable with major league players who they have already seen play against other major league talent than they would have been with the two compensatory draft picks they would have received had Lee left as a free agent in the offseason. Their recent track record in the draft proves their decision to be an astute one.

Now, they have players they can hold onto for a while and will probably get more value out of over the last part of this season and next season. Kevin Mench is a serviceable outfielder who will provide a defensive upgrade over Carlos Lee even though he is an offensive downgrade.

In Laynce Nix, the Brewers have themselves a good, young, and cheap player who was given up for dead by the Rangers after hitting 3-for-32 in nine games in April. If every team treated their players the same way after 32 at-bats, there would be a lot of star-caliber players in the minor leagues. Right now, Nix is twenty-five and would no doubt benefit from consistent play in the major leagues. Let's hope he gets it from the Brewers.

Francisco Cordero should be used this season in low-leverage situations and in nothing else.


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