Last year, the Rangers made a key deal just before the Aug. 31 deadline, obtaining Jeff Francoeur from the New York Mets. Francoeur hit well down the stretch and provided a nice clubhouse boost, too. He was a right-handed hitting outfielder brought in to face lefties.
This year, Rangers GM Jon Daniels and his staff have added two players at the Aug. 31 deadline, both designed to help the club down the stretch and possibly into the postseason. Matt Treanor gives the club a third catcher and an insurance piece should something happen to Yorvit Torrealba or Mike Napoli down the stretch. He also allows manager Ron Washington the peace of mind of playing Torrealba or Napoli at DH while the other is catching and not worry about losing the DH spot during a game. And don't count out Treanor's importance in the clubhouse. He fit in very well there last year and won't have any issues doing so again now.
Treanor also was basically C.J. Wilson's personal catcher in 2010 and it won't take him long to get up to speed on the club's current rotation, a key with so little time left in the season.
LHP Mike Gonzalez could be big for this bullpen. Darren Oliver was the club's only lefty in the pen, limiting Washington's situational lefty options. Yes, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara have held lefties down this season -- they are batting .189 against Adams and just .125 against Uehara. But both of those recent acquisitions are right-handed pitchers designed to go one inning each. Oliver is actually faring better against righties than lefties.
Gonzalez, a 33-year-old born in Corpus Christi who lives in Robstown, Texas, is holding lefties to .211 average this season with two homers and five RBIs. Lefties have 19 hits in 90 at-bats off Gonzalez, who has struck them out 26 times. In August, Gonzalez hasn't allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings with three hits, no walks and 15 strikeouts. So the Rangers are getting a guy that's really pitching well right now.
He's a true situational lefty as righties are batting .300 off him. One scout said Gonzalez's angle and velocity make him so tough against lefties. He throws in the low 90s and he has good movement.
That gives Washington more options late in games. And with teams such as Boston (Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury), New York (Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner) and Detroit (Brennan Boesch, Alex Avila) primed for the playoffs with some tough left-handed hitters, that's an important addition.