Rangers: 2 Losses + 2 Trades = Better Team

Your Rangers lost two of three in Toronto over the weekend, and came out of it a distinctly better team.

How's that?

Texas was handcuffed by (again) Brett Cecil Friday night and by Brandon Morrow Sunday afternoon. But more importantly, GM Jon Daniels pulled off two trades that instantly have transformed the Rangers' bullpen from one of the worst in baseball to one of the best.

You may think the Rangers gave up too much in parting with 25-year-olds Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis for Orioles reliever Koji Uehara, and too much in parting with AA pitching prospects Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin for Padres' set-up man Mike Adams. But with two of baseball's toughest relievers serving as the appetizer to closer Neftali Feliz, the Rangers may have just won the AL West (and more) by turning their games into 6-inning contests.

Hunter and Davis, as they say in baseball, were "blocked." Hunter by the development of Matt Harrison and Derek Holland; Davis by Mitch Moreland and his own inability to hit Major-League pitching. Wieland and Erlin are good prospects, but neither is considered to have ace potential.

Said Daniels in a conference call: "We didn't necessarily move any pieces we felt were going to be long-term fits."

The Rangers didn't touch prospects such as Martin Perez, Jurickson Profar or Leonys Martin for the future. And for the present they fortified their bullpen.

Simply put, Uehara and Adams don't let batters on base. They are Nos. 2 and 3 in the bigs this year in on-base percentage. Not sure whether Adams will pitch the 8th and Uehara the 7th or vice-versa, but I am certain Texas got two of the best back-end bullpen guys in baseball.

Uehara, 36, has pitched 16 scoreless innings over his last 14 appearances, including one yesterday for Texas in Toronto. And Adams, 33, has an ERA of 1.66 the last four years. The Rangers are in "Go for it!" mode. Today. Not tomorrow.

Even better, both are -- or soon will be -- signed through 2012 so they're not 8-week rentals like Cliff Lee in 2010. In the final analysis, Adams might be a more shrewd move than even Heath Bell.

And the Rangers are a better team this morning.


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