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Happy birthday, Ryan Drese

Happy birthday to Ryan Drese, who turns 35 today.

Drese came over to Texas as part of the infamous Travis Hafner trade, when John Hart sent Hafner and Aaron Myette to the Indians in exchange for Drese and Einar Diaz.  Hart had already decided that the Rangers weren't going to re-sign Pudge Rodriguez, or even offer him arbitration (meaning the Rangers didn't get a draft pick when Pudge left), and so he decided Texas had to go get an experienced catcher to take his place. 

The choice was Diaz, who flopped with Texas, while Hafner blossomed in Cleveland. 

In 2004, though, the trade looked like it might work out.  The teams had swapped talented but enigmatic righthanded pitchers with the Myette/Drese flip, and Drese broke out big time in 2004, putting up a 4.20 ERA (good for a 120 ERA+) in 207 2/3 innings.  Hart, of course, then portrayed the Hafner trade as not being about getting Diaz, but about landing Drese, because the Rangers needed pitching so bad.

Drese and Kenny Rogers, along with a stellar bullpen, carried the 2004 Texas team to a surprising 89 win season, and Drese was rewarded after the season was over with a two year contract extension. 

Things fell apart for Drese after that, however.  Drese was awful to start off the 2005 season, walking more than he struck out while posting an ERA north of 6.  The Rangers finally decided to try to run him through waivers and send him to AAA to work on his problems, but he was claimed by the Washington Nationals, thus ending Drese's stint in Texas.  Drese ended up having shoulder problems, which pretty much cost him his career.

Two of the four pitchers most similar to Drese through age 30 (his last year in the majors) are Colby Lewis and Rob Bell.