The buzz has been around the Texas Rangers all day. After all, today is the last day for a waiver-cleared player to be traded.
According to various news outlets, the Texas Rangers were itching to pull the trigger today—Lance Berkman of the St. Louis Cardinals was the name that most frequently sprouted forth from the lips of eager rumor makers.
It did seem that the Rangers’ most pressing need, with Nelson Cruz recently placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Sunday’s left hamstring pull, was a right-handed bat.
Berkman certainly fits that description, and even better—he’s a switch hitter and definite favorite for “Comeback Player of the Year.” After spending his first 11 seasons in Houston, the native Texan and graduate of Rice University, Berkman was traded to the NY Yankees after what was easily the worst first-half of his career.
The slugging switch-hitter who had slugged as many 42 homers in 2002, managed only 14 total home runs last year, and just one while serving as a bench player for the NY Yankees down the stretch.
As it turns out, though, the name that has just been confirmed by Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas as having been acquired by the Rangers is a friendly one, but doesn’t answer to the nicknames of “Fat Elvis” or “Big Puma.”
The Texas Rangers have reacquired former backup catcher Matt Treanor from the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.
Treanor, a 35-year-old veteran from Garden Grove, California, was a fan favorite last year and provided many clutch at-bats throughout the season.
The Kansas City Royals purchased Treanor’s contract just before the commencement of the 2011 season, but almost immediately afterwards, the word amongst the Rangers brass was that they would gladly pick up Treanor again if the need arose.
And well, when it comes to the post-Pudge Rodriguez Texas Rangers, you can never have too many catchers. With Taylor Teagarden still struggling at the plate against major league pitching, this move provides more rest time for Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli—both of which can now slide into the lineup to provide some at-bats from the designated hitter slot.
Matt Treanor was hitting .226 with three home runs in Kansas City as of yesterday.
The Texas Rangers have also completed a trade with the Baltimore Orioles for lefty-reliever Mike Gonzalez in return for Pedro Strop, a right-hander whose dazzling pure stuff was matched only by his baffling inconsistencies in his brief stints with the Texas Rangers, over the last several years.
With the addition of Mike Gonzalez, coupled with July's pickups of Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, do the Rangers now have the best bullpen in the American League?
Another left-hander in the Rangers' pen to complement Darren Oliver is something that the Rangers felt addressed one of the few remaining areas of concern on the club. Gonzalez, a native Texan, from Corpus Christi, had a 4.27 ERA with with 46 strikeouts and 18 walks over 46 1/3 innings pitched with the Orioles this season.
Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 30th Round of the 1997 Major League Draft, the 6' 2" Gonzalez, has closed games—he had 24 saves in 2006 with the Pirates—providing yet another option to close games should Neftali Feliz falter in that role.
The Texas Rangers are Gonzalez's third team, after he spent time with the Pirates, and the Atlanta Braves.
Gonzalez, with Koji Uehara, is the second reliever the Texas Rangers have acquired from the Baltimore Orioles this year.