Some fans of our newest division rival, the Texas Rangers, are starting to panic. Over the weekend the Rangers dealt away Michael Young, their all-time leader in several offensive categories. Before the ink was dry on that deal the Rangers saw two of their top offseason targets, pitchers Zack Greinke and James Shields, scooped up by other teams. The Dodgers signed Greinke to a lucrative Free Agent contract and the Kansas City Royals traded away their top prospect to acquire Shields.
Young, who had played his entire 13-year career with Texas, was the closest thing to a Jeff Bagwell or Craig Biggio Rangers fans have ever seen. A disappointing 2012 season by the 7-time All-Star prompted the Rangers to view him as expendable, even though he led the league in hits in 2011. Sure, Young is 36-years old, but the Rangers may have given up on him a bit too soon.
The Young deal was reminiscent of some of those made by the Astros over the past two or three years. The Rangers get a pair of prospects from the Phillies and will pay a large portion of Young’s $16 million salary for the 2012 season. Coming to Texas in the trade are RHPs Josh Lindbloom and Lisalverto Bonilla.
Lindbloom, 25, has now bounced around the bullpens of three different organizations in the past 12 months. Bonilla, 22, is a promising youngster who saw his 2012 season end early due to a thumb injury. Bonilla is currently pitching in the Dominican Winter League.
Greinke, the prize moundsman of this year’s Free Agent class, was courted by several teams, including the Rangers, before signing a six-year $147 million contract with the Dodgers. Greinke must pass the Dodgers physical examination today for the deal to become official. That would seem to merely be a formality.
James Shields is moving from Tampa Bay to the top of Kansas City’s starting rotation. “Big Game James” is coming off a 2012 season in which he won 15 games and posted an ERA of 3.52 in 227 & 2/3 innings. The Royals also get another starter, Wade Davis, as well as a player to be named later or cash. In exchange the Rays get three of Kansas City’s top ten prospects as well as a fourth minor league player.
Outfielder Wil Myers is one of the top prospects in all of baseball and could make an immediate impact for the Rays. Myers, who turned 22 today, excelled after being promoted to AAA last season and should be given a lengthy look in Spring Training.
RHP Jake Odorizzi, also only 22, has outstanding minor league numbers and made two starts for the Royals last season. LHP Mike Montgomery, 23, is a former first round pick who has struggled at the AA and AAA levels over the past two seasons.
The final player headed to Tampa in the deal is 3B Patrick Leonard. A product of the Craig Biggio coached team at St. Thomas High School, Leonard blasted 14 homers and drove in 46 runs in 62 games at Burlington.