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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Rangers - Acquired Molina

Texas Rangers - Acquired C Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants P Chris “Gamma” Ray and a player to be named later.

A few years ago, the Texas Rangers possessed an impressive trio of young catchers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez and the team believed that at least one of the three would be the starter of the future.  Since then, Saltalamacchia has contracted a case of Mackey Sasser Syndrome and like the former Met backstop, found himself unable to throw the ball back to the pitcher. Teagarden has suffered a number of injuries and hasn’t hit at all in the last few years and Ramirez’s defense hasn’t progressed far enough for him to start behind the plate.  With CF Julio Borbon hitting better as of late (356/400/517 in June), a short-term upgrade of 34-year-old career backup Matt Treanor was the most logical lineup change to make.

Did the Rangers upgrade?  Not really.  Molina’s a serviceable hitter for a catcher, but he’s also hit 217/268/290 over the last two months and was only still starting in San Francisco because of Bruce Bochy’s stubborn insistence on not giving top prospect Buster Posey any time behind home plate.  Posey’s only started 2 games in 25 at catcher, though the injury to Mark DeRosa and the resulting lineup shakeup has contributed.  Posey should be the primary catcher now, though Eli Whiteside will get occasional starts, mostly likely when Jonathan Sanchez pitches.

In return for Molina, the Giants will receive reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named.  While Ray’s ERA (3.41 at the moment) is a big improvement over his 2009 performance in Baltimore, he’s also walking as many batters as he’s striking out and has an unsustainable .214 BABIP.  The peripherals tell the story pretty clearly:


          ERA     FIP
Ray, 2009   7.27     5.36
Ray, 2010   3.41     5.29

The Giant bullpen has been quite good this season (3.25 ERA and a K/9 of 9.0), so Ray should be towards the back of the bullpen and the team is unlikely to stick him with for long if he doesn’t pitch well.

ZiPS Rest-of-Season Projections

          W   L   ERA   IP   H   ER   HR   BB   SO          
Chris Ray   1   1 5.09   23.0   26   13   3   11   19

          AB   R   H   2B   3B   HR   RBI   BB   SO   BA   OBP   SLG
Bengie Molina 216 19   59   10   0   7   20   10   25 .271   .309   .413

Dan Szymborski Posted: July 01, 2010 at 04:43 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: July 01, 2010 at 06:45 PM (#3576223)
Of course, Chris Ray is just a depth bonus. Subtracting Molina is the real value to the Giants, and I have to say - begrudgingly - good job, Sabean.
   2. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: July 01, 2010 at 10:14 PM (#3576436)
PTBNL is Michael Main.

Hey, that's like an actual possible something there.
   3. Spivey Posted: July 01, 2010 at 10:54 PM (#3576460)
Pretty much an even move for the Rangers, though they probably lose a bit of upside from Max Ramirez if he was going to put it together. But the more I watch him play, the more I'm convinced the 2008 Max Ramirez is not walking through that door.

I don't like Molina though, just like everyone else.

Ray is completely fungible. He throws hard, but his stats thus far have been fluky and the Rangers have plenty of arms in the minors that can come up and stand to do better going forward.
   4. flournoy Posted: July 01, 2010 at 11:11 PM (#3576467)
The Braves once had a very similar trio of top catching prospects: Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Max Ramirez. I'm glad they chose McCann!
   5. Steve Treder Posted: July 01, 2010 at 11:15 PM (#3576468)
I have to say - begrudgingly - good job, Sabean.

Well, sure, but you know what would have been a better job? Not re-signing Molina's fat behind in the first place, and not allowing your field manager to indulge Molina's fat behind in 61 games and 221 plate appearances through the end of June.

This is only a good move in that it reverses the previous bad move. And nothing can erase the half-season of poor performance that Molina's fat behind has delivered.
   6. BDC Posted: July 01, 2010 at 11:37 PM (#3576484)
Jeff Wilson says this about Molina in the Star-Telegram:

the veteran's power numbers have declined and his lack of speed is a liability. But he has nurtured one of the best pitching staffs in baseball


That nurturing intangible will mean that Daniels doesn't get much second-guessing, I imagine, even if the Ranger pitching heads south after the break. But what I love is "his lack of speed is a liability." That's like saying that the Titanic doesn't handle well in ice.
   7. this space for rent Posted: July 02, 2010 at 12:23 AM (#3576505)
But what I love is "his lack of speed is a liability."
Fortunately, Molina mitigates his lack of speed on the bases by not getting on that much in the first place...
   8. Steve Treder Posted: July 02, 2010 at 12:24 AM (#3576506)
But what I love is "his lack of speed is a liability." That's like saying that the Titanic doesn't handle well in ice.

Yeah. Molina's lack of speed is, oh, so much more than a liability. It's a natural wonder.

The other night, Molina was up with a runner on third and two outs. Molina hits a slow, high chopper between third and short, that the shortstop is able to glove back-handed, way deep in the hole.

Now, a fast runner has an extremely good chance of beating out such a ball, and delivering an RBI single. Evan an average-speed runner will force the shortstop to really have to gun his throw; often such a play results in an errant throw.

But this is Molina. The shortstop gloved the ball, then stopped. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, and checked his email, then called his girlfriend, and then made show reservations. Then he put the cell phone back, and softly lobbed the ball to first, and got Molina by about 30 feet.
   9. Bhaakon Posted: July 02, 2010 at 12:40 AM (#3576513)
Fortunately, Molina mitigates his lack of speed on the bases by not getting on that much in the first place...


You'd think so, but while you were busy pondering, he ground into a double play.
   10. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 02, 2010 at 12:41 AM (#3576514)
But this is Molina. The shortstop gloved the ball, then stopped. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, and checked his email, then called his girlfriend, and then made show reservations. Then he put the cell phone back, and softly lobbed the ball to first, and got Molina by about 30 feet.

Please. No need for hyperbole. Yeah he called his girlfriend but only to remind her to make the reservations.
   11. Spivey Posted: July 02, 2010 at 08:09 PM (#3577227)
This deal does look worse now that it looks like Michael Main was given up. He's got a pretty good fastball, and has shown some promise.
   12. DCW3 Posted: July 02, 2010 at 08:21 PM (#3577233)
But this is Molina. The shortstop gloved the ball, then stopped. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, and checked his email, then called his girlfriend, and then made show reservations. Then he put the cell phone back, and softly lobbed the ball to first, and got Molina by about 30 feet.

If the shortstop only got him by 30 feet, that means that Bengie at least bothered to leave the batter's box, which is more than you can say for his little brother Yadi.
   13. BDC Posted: July 02, 2010 at 08:23 PM (#3577236)
looks like Michael Main was given up

It's an interesting test of the theory that you must evaluate a trade when it was made, not by its long-term results. The quantum distribution of possible careers for Michael Main (plus some innings from Ray) seem to be worth a good deal more than three certainly mediocre months of Bengie Molina. But Main is very young and we are a long way from knowing whether he'll even make the major leagues.

Today's Star-Telegram features Mike Scioscia praising Molina's savvy, which makes Ranger fans feel better because the Angels are in hot pursuit and we have a player their genius manager says he covets :) I am off to the Ballpark tonight to see Molina's first start, unless it rains ...
   14. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:21 PM (#3577398)
It's an interesting test of the theory that you must evaluate a trade when it was made, not by its long-term results. The quantum distribution of possible careers for Michael Main (plus some innings from Ray) seem to be worth a good deal more than three certainly mediocre months of Bengie Molina. But Main is very young and we are a long way from knowing whether he'll even make the major leagues.

It really doesn't matter what happens to Main or Ray; there's already the primary benefit to the Giants of losing Molina and starting Posey at C. Ray and Main are the bonus, and if they never play again, it's still good for the Giants. There's no scenario whereby Bengie Molina makes the Giants regret this trade. Even if he goes off in the second half, I'm going to attribute it to the Rangers' ballpark - Molina wouldn't have done that for the Giants.

Edit: #5 - Steve, no argument here.
   15. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: July 17, 2010 at 04:34 AM (#3591869)
Bengie just hit for the cycle (whose lack of speed is a liability now?).

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