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Milwaukee Brewers trade OF-Carlos Lee, OF-Nelson Cruz and a PTBNL to the Texas Rangers for P-Francisco Cordero, OF-Kevin Mench and OF-Laynce Nix.
Word had it that yesterday Milwaukee Brewers GM Doug Melvin would decide whether to
a) trade away Carlos Lee or
b) make a run at the Wild Card.
It appears today that he chose
c) all of the above.
This isn’t your usual “free agents for prospects” deal. Melvin gained some pieces for next year, since the Brewers will either hasvea contract or own the rights of all three players in 2007. But none of the players are likely to be particularly valuable after 2007.
Instead, he gained some help for THIS year. My guess is that Mench will replace most of Lee in the outfield, and ex-closer Cordero will be given an opportunity to fix the closer spot for the Brewers, which has been a real problem spot for them. Furthermore, the trade of minor leaguers seems to favor the Rangers, strangely enough, with Cruz outplaying Nix in AAA.
It's bad news for Twins fans, anyway you slice it. It appears the trade market had one less seller than we thought, and the Rangers were never thought of as buyers. I suppose it's some consolation that the four teams the Twins are really competing with (White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers) ended up with him.
The question in Twins fans minds is probably “Could Terry Ryan have made this deal?” The answer is probably “Yes”, but Juan Rincon would likely have had to be included, and it’s not clear the Twins had a comparable player for Mench (perhaps Rondell White, depending on whether Melvin believed in him).
This is another key example that the market for solid bullpen help has gone through the roof since the end of last season. Contracts to mediocre acquisitions like Kyle Farnsworth and Flash Gordon last winter demonstrated that teams were valuing relievers far more than they had before. A majority of the trades as we’ve approached the deadline have involved relievers as well, with last week’s Reds/Nationals trade being the prime example of what one can get for decent relief.
Which raises a question that Twins fans haven’t asked much in the past. Would the Twins move Rincon or Joe Nathan in a trade? Don’t cop out and throw out the name of Jesse Crain – the opposing GM won’t. It’s a question that will be asked this weekend as teams look for a third or fourth team for a complicated swap. And it’s a questions that has likely been answered already by Terry Ryan, and maybe asked by Doug Melvin.