"There is nothing from Major League Baseball that restricts us," said Tom Hicks. "There are no restrictions, as long as we stay within our budget. It's business as usual." Right.
I thought that I had properly conveyed where I fell on yesterday's Bengie Molina-to-Texas trade already this morning, but in that analysis, I made the erroneous assumption that the player to be named later joining Chris Ray would be "a very marginal C- prospect" or somebody of that ilk. In retrospect, that was a dangerous assumption to make of a team with scant financial resources, and one of the risks you run in rendering final opinions with incomplete information in hand, because said player to be named later, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis, is Double-A Frisco right-hander Michael Main.
Said Baseball Time in Arlington's resident prospect analyst, Jason Parks, of Main back on May 5th: "Potential for electric arsenal. Present fastball sits in the 90-91 mph range with a sustainable velocity projection at the plus level (91-93 mph; max 95 mph). Pitch features above-average late life when thrown low in the zone, with sneaky velocity stemming from quick arm action.An eventual move to the bullpen would make sense, especially if the change-up doesn’t reach its developmental peak; in short bursts, Main could run his fastball into the mid-90s and use his curveball to miss bats. Tool-based grade: 56; solid-average No. 3 starter/front-line set-up man at the major league level."
That Texas elected to pull the trigger on such a deal -- a deal which prompted Callis to invoke a comparison to 2008's Carlos Santana-for-Casey Blake heist by the Indians -- tells us several things, the most significant of which is the Rangers' seeming certainty that neither Jarrod Saltalamacchia nor Taylor Teagarden are remotely on the cusp of returning to the majors; it wouldn't be far-fetched in the slightest to assert that both have fallen off the organizational road map. Despite the negligible difference between what Molina was projected to supply offensively for Texas and what the Max Ramirez/Matt Treanor tandem was projected to do (all three were projected to perform at a .295-.305 wOBA level the remainder of the season), there's clearly something that led the Rangers to believe that the status quo wouldn't have been tenable for much longer.
But with Molina not amounting to any sort of upgrade offensively, you're paying a significant premium for his veterancy and purportedly strong game-calling ability -- the true value of which I believe is very nebulous and virtually impossible to ascertain -- and leaning on that as your justification for giving up young talent. I despise that line of thought. Molina is not worth Michael Main alone. Looking at it another way, though, Main is the cost of accepting a $2 million subsidy to cover Molina's rest-of-2010 salary, which I think tells you several things: (a) you should not swing a trade if you cannot cover the remaining balance without requiring salary relief, and (b) the Rangers want to maintain whatever pittance of available money they have to pursue further trades.
Part (b) perhaps suggests that we cannot view this trade in isolation without seeing what other pre-July 31st trades get accomplished, but in the here and now, looking at this trade as it stands and this organization as presently constructed, this trade is very disappointing, and something which likely serves as ammunition for the camp which remains highly skeptical as far as whether Jon Daniels is really the general manager to put the finishing touches on a contending ballclub in the June-to-July trade window.