I was so irritated with the Galloway column this morning, I completely missed Gil LeBreton's column on the trade.
LeBreton gets it:
The deal that eventually ensued, therefore -- Soriano to Washington for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge and minor league pitcher Armando Galarraga -- qualifies as a Rangers' steal.
Even if Sledge amounts to nothing more than a fifth outfielder and if Galarraga never makes the Rangers' bullpen, the club acquired, in Wilkerson, a much-needed starting center fielder and leadoff man.
The reshaping of the Rangers' lineup has begun.
Yes, home runs are nice. Soriano certainly used to like to stand at the plate and admire his. But the Rangers hit a club-record 260 of them last season, and where did it get them?
On nights when their homers weren't lighting up the summer sky, the Rangers struggled. They struck out more than any team in the American League (1,112). They gave away far too many at-bats. In how many innings did you see opposing pitchers retire the Rangers in fewer than 10 pitches?
The best lineups are a blend of power and patience. They work the enemy pitcher. They draw walks. They don't try to pull everything. They don't give away outs.
This is not Moneyball thinking. It's smart, basic baseball, and it's worked for the Yankees and Red Sox, to name two.
Wilkerson has a career on-base percentage of .365. He strikes out a lot, but he usually walks more than 90 times per season. Batting first in the Rangers' order, he'll probably score 125 runs.
Soriano's career on-base percentage, on the other hand, is .320. Yes, he drove in 104 runs last season, but lots of guys, batting fifth in the Rangers order, would have driven in a lot of runs.
My faith in the DFW media has been restored, at least for one day.