Now that baseball’s trade deadline has passed, we can all look back and guess on who made the right or wrong moves and what kind of impact they’ll have. While that would just be speculation at this point, we can tell you one thing unequivocally: the Texas Rangers won the 2011 trade deadline.
While other teams picked up big names like Carlos Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez and Hunter Pence, the Rangers saw their clearest weakness and addressed it aggressively. Texas went out and got Koji Uehara and Mike Adams in separate deals that strengthened a very weak bullpen.
Texas got Uehara and $2 million from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for corner infielder Chris Davis and right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter. Uehara is 36, and has had a great year with the Orioles, with a sparkling 1.76 ERA in 43 games. In 47 innings he’s allowed just 25 hits, while striking out 62 with a WHIP of 0.70. That’s as a good a line as anyone in baseball…except for maybe Adams. The Rangers didn’t give up much in the way of value in exchange for Uehara, as Davis and Hunter aren’t considered top prospects.
In perhaps an even bigger move, the Rangers got Adams from the San Diego Padres in exchange for two well-regarded starting pitching prospects. The 33-year-old Adams has had another phenomenal year for the Padres. In 48 games, the righty has a 1.13 ERA, and in 48 innings he’s given up 26 hits and nine walks, while striking out 49, and posting a 0.73 WHIP. The Rangers had to part with 20-year-old lefty Robbie Erlin and 21-year-old righty Joe Wieland to get Adams on board, which surely wasn’t easy. Both project anywhere from No. 2 to No. 4 starters at the big league level depending on who you ask.
The Rangers also now have control of both Adams and Uehara through 2012, so neither player is a short-term rental. Texas currently has the 26th ranked bullpen in baseball with a 4.35 ERA. Clearly if they wanted to win this year, the Rangers needed to address their bullpen. They lead the American League West by two games over the Los Angeles Angels.
With Adams and Uehara in the fold Texas has positioned itself as one of the favorites in the AL.