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4 days until pitchers and catchers report

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4 days until pitchers and catchers report

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4 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training for the Texas Rangers.

Man, was I sad when the Rangers traded Fernando Tatis in 1998.  At the time, he was the team's starting third baseman, and wasn't hitting much, though he was only 23 years old and, along with Ruben Mateo, one of the two really good position player prospects the Rangers had in the system.

But the Rangers needed another starting pitcher and a better shortstop, and ended up deciding to keep Mateo over Tatis, shipping him, Darren Oliver (who was rocking a 6.53 ERA in the Ranger rotation that season), and minor league outfielder Mark Little to the St. Louis Cardinals for shortstop Royce Clayton and pitcher Todd Stottlemyer.

Tatis ended up having one great season with the bat, in 1999, when he put up a .298/.404/.553 line, and then hit .253/.379/.491 the following year.  The Cards had apparently seen enough of him, though, and they shipped him out to Montreal in a deal for Dustin Hermanson and Steve Kline that was widely seen as a steal for the Expos.

Tatis promptly hit .225/.305/.357 for Montreal over the next three seasons, was out of baseball for a couple of years, and then carved out a second career as a bench bat.