Bob Nightengale at USA Today offers this brilliant analysis...
The Rangers were willing to trade power-hitting second baseman Alfonso Soriano. He will cost about $11 million in 2006, he's in the final year of his contract and he plays lousy defense (he had 21 errors this past season). But he also hits close to 40 homers and drives in about 100 runs a season. And what did the Rangers get in return from the Nationals for Soriano? Less offense (outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge) and little pitching (minor league right-hander Armando Galarraga, who didn't pitch above Double-A in 2005). Anyone home?
Sigh. How hard is it really to understand that swapping Soriano for Wilkerson does not result in less offense?
Why is it so many in the mainstream baseball media are so eager to cast this as a bad trade for Texas?
Is the idea that there is something other than home runs to evaluating players, that a players home park can have a significant effect on his numbers, really that hard to grasp?
Nightengale's comment -- and particularly the snide little "Anyone home?" at the end -- is smug, self-satisfied idiocy.
We also have this tidbit in the notes/rumors part of the column:
The Rangers were offering outfielder Kevin Mench to the Blue Jays for starting pitcher/reliever Miguel Batista and second baseman Orlando Hudson.
Given Ian Kinsler's presence, I'm a little confused about why the Rangers are supposedly so hot and heavy for Orlando Hudson. Yes, he's about as good defensively as there is, but when you've got a cheap, major-league-ready second baseman in your system, why use one of your primary trade chips to get another major league second baseman to Texas?
Between the rumors involving Hudson, Mark Grudzelanik, and Todd Walker, I have to wonder if the Rangers have soured on Kinsler over the past season, if he isn't viewed more as trade bait than the future second baseman.