The Rangers have finally made a trade for pitching, picking up Jon Leicester from the Cubs for a player to be named later or cash.
Okay pickup, I guess, although Leicester doesn't appear to be anything special. Hard-throwing righthander, strikes out a lot of guys, walks a lot of guys, and has been vulnerable to the longball.
Leicester was BA's #8 prospect for the Cubs organization heading into the 2005 season, and BA had this to say about him:
Strengths: When Leicester pitches in short stints, his fastball sits at 95-96 mph and reaches 98. He can overmatch righthanders with his slider, and lefties with a splitter that serves as his changeup. He finally has gained the confidence he needs to win. Strong and durable, he can handle any role.
Weaknesses: Leicester's control wavers and he's hittable when he leaves his pitches up in the zone. His secondary pitches aren't always reliable, sometimes leaving him with nothing but his fastball. Surprisingly, those problems occurred less in the majors.
Leicester had what appeared to be a breakout year in 2004, pitching very well in both AAA and the majors, but then regressed in 2005. I'm not sure if he has an option left or not, but my guess is that he doesn't.
Anyway, the cost to get Leicester appears to be minimal, so no harm in taking a flyer on him and seeing what you've got. He's another guy who'll get a look for a bullpen spot in 2006.