July 28, 2006


Brewers trade Lee to Rangers, get Cordero (Keith Law, 7/28/06, ESPN Insider)

The Milwaukee Brewers are trading slugger Carlos Lee to the Texas Rangers as part of a multiplayer deal, ESPN.com learned Friday.

The Brewers are sending Lee, minor league outfield prospect Nelson Cruz to the Rangers for relief pitcher Francisco Cordero and outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix.

Is Frank Fracisco really ready to set up Otsuka? On the other hand, Cruz could put up some nice numbers though you have to DH him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 28, 2006 11:40 AM

Mench has been rumored forever in trades. He's had more bad streaks than good, and the Rangers lost patience. Nix has never hit in the majors. The Rangers badly need more punch in their outfield, and May provides it.

Unloading Cordero is a little more surprising, but the blown save against the Yankees on Wednesday was probably the last straw. Somehow Cordero managed to blow nine of fifteen save chances this year.

The Rangers can use Bauer or Mahay to set up Otsuka, depending on the left-right matchups. Both have much better ERAs this year than Cordero. Getting Lee was worth this price, even if he's only a rental.

Posted by: Casey Abell at July 28, 2006 1:10 PM

Given what the Nats got for middle relievers wouldn't you think you could get a decent starting pitcher for Coco?

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2006 1:17 PM

For a guy with Cordero's record this year, and his deteriorating record since 2004, I'm surprised they got Lee for him. A decent starting pitcher? Come on, who's gonna give up that much for a fading reliever? Cordero's ERA went from 2.13 in 2004 to 3.39 in 2005 to 4.81 this year.

Milwaukee obviously wasn't going to sign Lee after this season, so they got Mench as a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, Kevin's got an OPS a hundred points lower than Carlos this year. In fact, Lee has the highest OPS on the Brewers. The team just gave away their best hitter for two guys who are struggling, at best.

I guess the Brewers will try Cordero if Turnbow keeps farting around, but they better get ready for lots of straight fastballs in the middle of the plate. Mench will blow hot and cold, but the cold streaks have been awful long this year. I think this trade demonstrates that Milwaukee is giving up on the wild card, while the Rangers are serious about the division. A team looking for the postseason doesn't trade away their best hitter for marginal value in return.

Makes sense. Texas is only two games out in the division, Milwaukee is six out of the wild card with a lot of teams in front of them.

Posted by: Casey Abell at July 28, 2006 1:53 PM

Actually, it's a trade that suggests they're playing for the wild card, no?

Cordero lowered his ERA from 10+ in early May to 4.15 before that bad Yankee appearance. Changing leagues alone gives him a better than even chance to dominate for a couple months.

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2006 1:57 PM

Cordero could dominate, if hitters miss the fastballs he puts in the fat part of the zone. But he's always a risk because he's so wild in the zone. He could just as easily stink the last two months because he gives hitters a lot to swing out. The batters won't always miss, as they were doing when he was in his good stretch.

At any rate the Rangers have good alternatives to set up Otsuka, and they just made a big upgrade in left field. It's a very good deal for Texas, and it might not even be just a rental because Hicks is willing to spend.

Posted by: Casey Abell at July 28, 2006 2:26 PM

Cordero's been great since a shaky start. Bauer has no track record of success, just one brief tolerable stretch. The deal is good for the Rangers because they get Cruz for six years, but it weakens an already bad pitching staff.

In the Sox-Angels series this weekend the Halos are starting Jered Weaver, John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar. All three would be #1s in TX.

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2006 2:32 PM

Okay, you can have Cordero with his steadily rising ERA since 2004. Actually, Texas ranks tenth in the AL in staff ERA, which means their pitching isn't all that bad in the AL's best hitter's park.

The Rangers just upgraded left field by a hundred OPS points and they have guys who are ready to take Cordero's place. A very good deal for them, and the loss of the Brewers' best hitter for Milwaukee.

Posted by: Casey Abell at July 28, 2006 2:51 PM

The Brewers ought to start Corey Hart, which makes Mench inexplicable.

It looks like that special sort of deal that's bad for both clubs, unless the Rangers have a second deal in place for pitching help.

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2006 3:02 PM

Yeah, Lee is terrible for the Rangers. He immediately becomes the team's leading hitter in OPS, SLG, homers and RBIs. A real awful thing for Texas.

Face it, the Rangers fleeced Milwaukee out of their best hitter for a fading over-30 reliever and a left fielder who couldn't crack a .800 OPS. Not to mention that they got the Brewers' minor league player of the year for 2005.

Of course, Lee wasn't going to sign with Milwaukee, anyway, so I can understand the salary dump.

Posted by: Casey Abell at July 28, 2006 3:46 PM

Lee is fine for the Rangers (a worse fielding Pat Burrell) and would be a suitable free agent signing in the off season. Cruz is a potential Geronimo Berroa and likely better than Mench, so a nice piece to add.

In a market where lunchmeat like Scott Proctor would get you Bob Abreu it seems you should be able to do better for Cordero.
Heck, even Austin Kearns is at least a good defender and controllable for a few years.

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2006 3:51 PM