So...I'm sitting here looking at what Billy Beane did yesterday. He gave up a decent collection of young talent to get a guy who fills a gaping hole for the A's in 2009, and who Beane can move at the trade deadline for a similar package (if the A's aren't in contention next year) or who will deliver a couple of draft picks after the season (if the A's are in contention or just choose not to deal him).
The Angels had a Pythagorean win/loss record of 88-74 in 2008. The A's had a Pythagorean win/loss record of 76-85 in 2008. The Angels are likely losing K-Rod and Mark Teixeira. The A's may not be as far back as they appear. Adding Holliday fixes a major weakness for the A's, and they'll likely recoup a lot of the value they gave up either through the draft picks or through dealing him in July.
Now...the Rangers are in much the same situation as the A's. They had a Pythagorean win/loss record of 76-86 in 2008. They, like the A's, aren't as far back of the Angels as the raw records would suggest. They, like the A's, have a nice collection of young talent at the major league level, and a terrific farm system.
And they, like the A's, have a gaping hole in their lineup that could be filled by trading for a high-priced Scott Boras client who is a year away from free agency.
Would the Rangers benefit by pulling off a Holliday-esque trade for Adrian Beltre?
Beltre would give the Rangers a righthanded bat that they want for the middle of the lineup. Beltre would solve the one-year third base problem the Rangers are facing. Beltre would represent a major defensive upgrade at third base -- Pinto's PMR suggests that the difference between Beltre and the Rangers' third basemen in 2008 was about 30 outs. So you are talking about saving 20-25 runs right there, in terms of defense, before you even take Beltre's bat into account.
Now, the $13 million (Beltre's salary in 2009) question is...what would it cost to land Adrian Beltre?
You aren't going to give up your blue chip talent for a one year guy, even a one year guy you expect to fetch a couple of draft picks after the season.
On the other hand, Seattle isn't likely to just give Beltre away, either.
The M's could use a left fielder to replace Raul Ibanez, and the Rangers have outfielders to spare. So maybe David Murphy as part of the deal.
Along with Murphy...Jose Vallejo, maybe? Give them Travis Metcalf to replace Beltre for now, and one of the out-of-options arms, like Kam Loe or Wes Littleton?
Murphy/Vallejo/Metcalf/Loe? That doesn't seem like near enough, I don't think.
I don't know. I'm having a hard time figuring out what sort of match would work, and what the new Seattle g.m. would want. He was with the Brewers, so maybe there'd be some interest in Nelson Cruz, instead of Murphy?
It is worth thinking about, though.