The Rangers picked up Ryan Dempster today and acquired Geovany Soto last night. Both players come from the Cubs and the good thing is, the Rangers didn’t have to give up much of anything to get them. Soto came over for a stuffed Chicken Express Nolan Ryan snow monkey, and they were able to acquire Dempster for two single-A players.
Dempster is 5-5 with the Cubs, but his record doesn’t show just how effective he has been. The Cubs are a horrible team and 22nd in the majors in team batting average. So, Dempster didn’t get much run support for his efforts. He has a 2.25 ERA and will immediately move into the starting rotation. So, who gets the boot? That honor goes to Roy Oswalt. After giving up 11 hits and 8 runs against the Angels last night, the Rangers seem to think it’s pretty clear that he’s just not going to get the job done. He’s 3-2 in his 6 starts with the Rangers, but he has an astronomical ERA of 6.49. Clearly, Dempster is an improvement. He will make his first Ranger start on Thursday.
The Rangers designated Yorvit Torreabla for assignment after getting Soto. Soto will serve as Mike Napoli’s back-up catcher. He’s only hitting .195 this season, but he’s a former All-Star and younger than Torrealba, so it looks like the Rangers are betting that he has much more upside than Yorvit.
The Rangers also announced that Neftali Feliz will be gone for the rest of the season. He’s going to have Tommy John surgery to repair his ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm. I’m not sure how much this really affects the Rangers this season, given that Oswalt will replace Feliz in the bullpen, and while probably not acquiring a “#1” in Dempster, they did acquire a pretty good starting pitcher who should be able to step in and do a better job than what Oswalt has done. The funny thing in all of this is that Brother Feldman will remain in the starting rotation. He’s been the Rangers’ best starter in July and, in my mind, and clearly in Ron Washington’s mind, has earned that spot. If you had told me that by the trade deadline our starting rotation would consist of Scott Feldman and Ryan Dempster, I’d have laughed at you, and then predicted the Rangers were in 3rd place in the division. But, they aren’t. They still have a 3.5 game lead over Oakland and a 4 game lead over the Angels.
The one good thing to come out of last night’s awful loss to the Angels is that the offense finally showed some life. Hamilton looks like he’s more comfortable hitting 5th. He was 3 for 4 with only a triple shy of the cycle. He blasted a 2-run homer and had a nice double to left in his first at-bat. Nelson Cruz hit the farthest homerun I’ve seen hit at the Ballpark landing in the camera well behind Greene’s Hill. They had 12 hits total and finally were able to get some with runners in scoring position. They scored 8 runs which should ALWAYS be good enough to win, but the pitching was just plain horrible, allowing the Angels to score 15 backed by two homeruns from Kendry Morales in the 6th inning, one of which was a grand slam that I called, by the way. I have witnesses.
So, I reserve my right to not make any predictions about Dempster. I thought Oswalt was a good pick-up, and it appears that I was mistaken. I think Dempster will be a nice addition, but I’ve been wrong before. We will see.