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Transaction Roundup: Rangers, Brewers, White Sox

The weekend was full of trades and contract extensions, and I'm excited to be back to the grind of writing about daily news. Aaaaaah...Opening Day. If only I wasn't scheduled to work during the both the Brewers and the Red Sox games today. Maybe I can watch it afterward on mlb.tv, but then I have to worry about no one telling me the scores, and the chances of me not attempting to follow the game via Sidekick are basically slim to none.

I'll cover the two Rangers trades today, as well as the Contreras extension and the Turnbow signing. On to the transactions...

David Dellucci to the Phillies; Robinson Tejeda and Jake Blalock to the Rangers

I'm surprised that the Rangers would deal Dellucci. I understand that they have a need for pitching, and that he is more desirable in a trade than say, Phil Nevin, but Dellucci would have been very useful. Take a look at his statistics the past few seasons:

David Dellucci 2003-2005
Year Team PA H BB DPT HR SB BA OBP SLG SecA ISO XBH% BB/PA pNRAA pNRAA/GP mOPS+
2003 ARI 190 40 19 14 2 9 0.242 0.328 0.382 0.309 0.139 40% 0.101 - - 97
2003 NYY 58 9 4 1 1 3 0.176 0.263 0.255 0.216 0.078 22% 0.07 - - 74
2004 TEX 387 80 47 14 17 9 0.242 0.342 0.441 0.372 0.199 39% 0.121 - - 107
2005 TEX 518 109 76 22 29 5 0.251 0.367 0.513 0.441 0.262 47% 0.147 11.58 14.83 122

A few things: The pNRAA figures for 2003-2004 are missing because I don't have them yet. When I get the league average EqA's by position for those years, I'll be able to calculate those numbers.

Secondly, David Dellucci was very, very good in 2005. He hit well on the road in both years in Texas, putting up a line of .243/.365/.496 against his home line of .249/.349/.471. He is capable of playing league average defense in left, and could've platooned with Phil Nevin as the designated hitter. His pNRAA is adjusted for the second toughest position in the league (DH, .278 EqA adjustment), so to be above +10 is very good. Having a modified OPS 22% above the league average isn't too bad either.

The Rangers needed to make a move to improve their rotation, so I don't begrudge the Dellucci trade. What I want to focus on is whether or not Tejeda is worth it to a Texas team that seems to struggle to hit on the road. Let's take a look at Tejeda's numbers to find out:

Robinson Tejeda 2003-2005
Year Team G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K/BB RA ERA
2003 Lakewood A- 5 4 18.7 8.20 1.930 7.71 9.64 1.25 5.30 5.30
2003 Clearwater A+ 11 11 64.7 7.38 0.560 3.20 5.85 1.93 3.48 3.20
2004 Reading AA 27 26 150.3 8.86 1.740 3.53 7.96 2.25 5.57 5.15
2005 Scranton AAA 5 5 28.3 6.67 0.000 4.13 8.89 2.15 2.54 2.22
2005 Philadelphia 26 13 85.7 7.04 0.530 5.36 7.56 1.41 3.78 3.57

What we have here is a young pitcher who seems to have problems with both the longball and his control on occasion. He was just pitching in Philadelphia, so I don't necessarily expect him to explode because of The Ballpark in Arlington, due to the offensive nature of both, but I'd keep an eye out for struggles with homeruns. He appears to have a nice bit of potential to be a power pitcher, which is what I'm assuming Jon Daniels wants him for. He was only in his age 23 season, so there is obviously time for development left, and the Rangers do need some older pitching prospects. A lot can change in a year, but let's take a look at John Sickels' comment for him from his 2005 edition of The Baseball Prospect Book:

Robinson Tejeda has one of the better arms in the Phillies system. His fastball can hit 94 MPH. His control is better than it used to be, but he still has work to do improving his slider and changeup...Tejeda is vulnerable to the home run, which is part of his problem, and he still needs to tighten hsi command within the strike zone. But he has more potential than his surface stats indicate.

My thinking is that General Manager Jon Daniels feels like Tejeda can overcome his propensity for giving up the longball, and with growth and experience can lessen his control problems further. I'm not happy with the decision to move Dellucci, but Tejeda is a risk-worthy arm it seems, especially for a Texas team that seems to have trouble convincing pitchers to sign with them. I'm not sure Millwood counts, because by all accounts he seemed to be lacking a viable option outside of Texas. If you can't sign em', you're going to have to trade for em'.

As for the Brewers, they signed Derrick Turnbow to a 3-year extension. The value looks like it could be very good, as Turnbow is set to make $1 mill. in 2006, with raises of roughly $1 mill. in the next two years.

His minor league numbers do not look impressive at all (his peripheral ERA's look ugly for the most part), but his first full major league season went very well, and PECOTA likes his future outlook.

Relievers are very hard to gauge, mostly due to inconsistency, but considering Turnbow is just being locked up through some arbitration years, it isn't as big a deal. As Jeff Sackmann put it, "buying out his first two years of arbitration isn't exactly like signing Billy Wagner as a free agent." By the way, you can thank Jeff for these nifty tables, as he sent me a program that makes them. No more ugly Excel images for me, but I get to continue being lazy. Winners all around.

As for the Contreras extension, I'm not really a big fan of this one. He was the starter I thought they would move to make room for Brandon McCarthy, and I guess that is still potentially an option now that he is locked up, since teams would not have to worry about re-signing him. But $9 million seems like a bit much for someone who has this sort of resume:

Jose Contreras 2003-2005
Year Team G GS IP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9 K/BB RA ERA
2003 NYY 18 9 71.0 6.59 0.51 3.80 9.13 2.40 3.42 3.30
2004 Columbus 2 2 13.7 7.24 1.32 3.29 12.51 3.80 3.29 3.29
2004 NYY 18 18 95.7 8.75 2.07 3.95 7.71 1.95 6.21 5.64
2004 CHA 13 13 74.7 8.80 1.08 5.06 8.20 1.62 5.78 5.30
2005 CHA 32 32 204.7 7.78 1.01 3.30 6.77 2.05 4.00 3.61

Contreras has always flashed talent, but was very inconsistent. 2005 put him back on the national radar, and also was his best season to date. One thing to watch out for are his season splits. Take a look at his first half versus his second half.

The second half statistics give me a little more assurance that he will perform better in the future, but I am still unsure. Contreras has never seemed very comfortable playing in the United States, and now that El Duque has been shipped to Arizona, I wonder if that will start up again. It is tough to form an opinion on Contreras, because he never seems to do what one expects. PECOTA sees him as basically league average in 2006, and his ZiPS projections look like they have basically the same results. I think the White Sox should sell high and try out Brandon McCarthy on this one (he pitched 3 scoreless innings last night with 2 strikeouts and no walks...I'm just reporting ok?)...why not see if Texas will take a flyer on Contreras?