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Happy birthday, Corey Knebel

Happy birthday to former Longhorn and Ranger Corey Knebel

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Happy birthday to former Longhorn and Rangers pitcher Corey Knebel, who turns 24 today.

Did you forget Knebel was a Ranger -- or at least, in the Rangers minor league system?  Yeah, so did I.  The University of Texas product was selected by the Tigers in the supplemental first round of the 2013 draft, and then sent to the Rangers on July 23, 2014, along with Jake Thompson in the deal that sent Joakim Soria to Detroit.

It was quite a haul for a year and a half of a closer, and I think the expectation in 2014 was that we would see Knebel in the major league pen at some point.  However, Knebel was shut down in mid-August after just 9 post-trade outings for AAA Round Rock, and ended up going to Milwaukee in the offseason as part of the package that brought Yovani Gallardo to Texas.

The Gallardo trade ended up being huge for the Rangers -- Gallardo had a 4 win (bWAR) season for Texas, and while we can argue about whether FIP or ERA is more indicative of talent, in terms of actually allowing runs, Gallardo was terrific for the Rangers in 2015.  He and Colby Lewis were instrumental in keeping the team around .500 until the late season reinforcements arrived, and I think its not an exaggeration to say, if the Rangers hadn't made the Gallardo trade, they probably wouldn't have won the A.L. West last year.

So we owe a "thank you" to Knebel for helping the Rangers win the West, even though he never threw a pitch for the major league team during the time he was a member of the organization.  He may end up being a quality reliever, but that's something you part with for a division title all day every day.  Luis Sardinas got shipped by the Brewers to Seattle, and appears to be destined for a future as a utility guy, meaning that Marcos Diplan is likely the only guy who could really come back to bite the Rangers from that trade.