It took until seconds before the trade deadline for the first tweet to appear. Three minutes after MLB Radio’s Jim Bowden tweeted he was waiting on confirmation that Ryan Dempster had indeed been traded to the Yankees, the Rangers shut Bowden up by grabbing Dempster in exchange for two Class-A players: pitcher Kyle Hendricks and 3rd baseman Cristian Villanueva.
Dempster was supposed to start tonight for the Cubs. He will NOT be starting tonight for the Rangers. It’s Derek Holland‘s job to face Jered Weaver tonight. No word on whether Dempster will be thrown against the Angels Wednesday or Thursday or be held out until the Royals series starts on Friday.
It was the second trade with the Cubs in less than 24 hours. From what I understand, Geovany Soto had pretty much been a personal catcher for Dempster, so there will be a great sense of familiarity between the two of them when Dempster finally makes his first start. On the other hand, neither one of them are familiar enough with the American League batters, so maybe it would make more sense for Napoli to handle Dempster at first.
Villanueva was one of the Rangers’ better prospects, a third baseman with power potential. The problem is, the Rangers already have one of those with Adrian Beltre and another on the way with Mike Olt, as well as an 18-year-old rookie, Joey Gallo, playing in the Arizona League right now and threatening to break that league’s single season home run record. Villanueva, though good, was expendable.
I don’t know as much about Hendricks beyond the fact he isn’t rated as highly as Villanueva on the Prospects charts. I read that his stuff isn’t overpowering, but he has a good feel for the art of pitching, so there’s that.
Texas didn’t get the ace they were looking for, but they did get two established major leaguers at a cost of three minor leaguers who have talent but maybe not enough to bulldoze their way into the Rangers’ long-term plans. I wish them all well with the Cubs.
Now the real questions begin for Rangers fans. With the arrival of Dempster, who gets dropped from the starting rotation? Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland? Absolutely not,. So it comes down to a choice between Scott Feldman and Roy Oswalt. Oswalt has the career track record. Feldman has been the much better pitcher over the past three weeks. And if you drop Oswalt from the rotation, what does that say about the $5 million Texas invested into bringing him there. On the other hand, Feldman is making a pretty penny this year as well ($6.5 million).
I keep hearing Oswalt is steadfast in not wanting to be a bullpen piece. Feldman has been both a long reliever and a starter this season. In the end, I think Feldman deserves the starting position, but I think Oswalt is the one who keeps his spot, even though he’s been shelled hard, particularly last night against the Angels.
I’m sure that question will be answered within an hour of my posting this. Whoever loses their spot in the rotation, though, is going to be publicly upset.
Last minute addendum: Rangers just announced Neftali Feliz needs Tommy John surgery. No Feliz in 2012 or 2013. Good luck, Nefti!