Rangers Come Up Aces
by Norm Hitzges    Sat, Nov 19, 2005, 06:37 PM

For well over a decade now the Texas Rangers have searched for a true ace to put in their starting rotation. Well, if you believe the rumors, the Rangers may have found their ace.

Here’s the latest Ranger trade rumor as reported by TR Sullivan in the Fort Worth Star Telegram: Hank Blalock and a top pitching prospect to Florida in exchange for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.

Beckett is the type of pitcher Rangers fans have been demanding. He’s a proven ace that is among the top 5 pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. He’s the type of pitcher that wants the ball in pressure situations. He was the MVP of the 2003 World Series. He’s young and he is not eligible to become a free agent for another 2 years. He is eligible for arbitration and will probably make in excess of $12 million over the next two seasons.

Beckett is obviously the key player in this trade. But let’s take a look at Mike Lowell. The Marlins have been trying to dump Lowell for the better part of a year. Lowell is a highly paid player who’s numbers fell horrendously last season.

And, nowadays when a players numbers fall significantly the whispers start. And much like Sammy Sosa and Jason Giambi the whispers about Lowell began last season. As bad as his numbers fell, Lowell still has “doubles power”. And I just can’t imagine that, at his age (32-33), Lowell productive years are behind him.

Blalock on the other hand has faded down stretch in each of the two last seasons. He’s faded so badly down the stretch that I believe the he is now a below average offensive player. And if he’s below average in Arlington, a park that is tailor made for left-handed power hitters, I can only wonder what kind of numbers he’ll produce in a pitcher’s park.

Danks and Diamond are still perceived as prospects with big time futures…But they are just prospects. And neither figures to arrive as truly contributing Major League ballplayers until 2007.

Here’s a chance for the Rangers to control the rights to a brilliant young pitcher. And all they would have to give up is a declining 3rd baseman and only one of their pitching prospects. They would still be left with 2 outstanding pitching prospects.

For me, this trade would be a no brainer. If this is truly the Marlins offer, TAKE IT and don’t look back.
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