The Aggressor Strikes
It's a straight up fact. Jon Daniels and Hank Blalock obviously read the Powerhouse. You may have noticed that since I my July 25 post exposing Blalock's expendability, he's gone 4 for 11 with 3 RBI. He's standing up taking notice that he must be a second half player to have a true Major League future.
You also have likely noticed Jon Daniels has become the aggressor, the Anti-Hart, leading up to the trading deadline and acquired Carlos Lee without giving up top prospects John Danks and Edinson Volquez, Volquez being a player Brewers GM Doug Melvin coveted.
True, he traded the lovable, studdable Kevin Mench, but maybe only because, as reports indicate, he has another deal in the works in which Blalock is the centerpiece. More about that later.
I liked the deal at first: Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix, Francisco "Oh No!" Cordero, and Class A pitcher Julian Cordero for Carlos Lee and Class AAA outfielder Nelson Cruz.
Carlos Lee brings respectability back to a stagnated offense. Nelson Cruz adds potential to a struggling crop of Texas outfield prospects. Kevin Mench is a guy I really like and think is still going to be a player. But he was the Marquis Daniels of the Texas Rangers. A guy with a ton of potential who wouldn't get a fair shot with the current coach or manager. Nix and Cordero needed a change of venue to try and get back on track.
I only liked the trade because the initial talk was Lee would DH leaving Wilkerson in LF, meaning the biggest offensive problem would go unremedied. However, Lee is an unquestionable upgrade over Mench so this is a good deal.
But then the reports changed. Lee asked to play LF and Showalter said anytime he wants to play LF he will. Cruz was immediately promoted and will play right field. Potentially, that leaves Mark DeRosa rotating all over the field to give guys off days and Wilkerson on the bench. It tinkered with the AL's fifth best bullpen to do the deal but I now love this trade.
Back to the Blalock talk. Jon Daniels has apparently been in talks with the Orioles to acquire another bat in Miguel Tejada, who would play third base, for the Hammer, Joaquin Arias, and John Danks or Thomas Diamond. (If Danks is a part of the deal, they better be getting SP Erik Bedard as well.) It seems an odd way to go after aquiring Lee.
Consider, though, the Rangers are a team in a pennant race in need of pitching in a year when all the good would-be available pitchers are in pennant races of their own. Facing the prospect of not being able to upgrade the pitching staff, Daniels is looking to go the only other possible route: adding more offense. It doesn't usually work, but he is giving this a shot and, so far, has not mortgaged the future.
So, Jon, I thank you for reading and keep up the hard work.