What are the Rangers getting in Molina?
July, 1, 2010
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Rangers are expected to finalize a deal already agreed to with the Giants that makes catcher Bengie Molina a Ranger and sends reliever Chris Ray to San Francisco. So what does the deal mean for the Rangers? What can the club expect? A few things:
* Molina, who turns 36 in July, is a career .275 hitter. He isn't batting at that level this season, but his .257 batting aveage in 2010 is still 20 points higher than Matt Treanor. That's no shot at Treanor, who has gotten some key hits and given this team an anchor behind the plate. But Molina throughout his career has been a better hitter. The catching spot has yielded a .212 batting average so far this season for Texas, lowest in the majors. But Molina's slugging percentage is also more than 100 points lower.
* I talked to someone who has been around the Giants clubhouse the last few years to give me a scouting report. Let's start with defense. He said Molina's arm is decent and that the Giants pitching staff is difficult to catch and not very good at holding runners, which hurt Molina's numbers. But teams aren't afraid to run on him. He has had a sore left arm at times, but is healthy (he did get a cortisone shot for the arm a month ago).
* As for Molina's personality, the source tells me he's a good leader. His teammates liked him enough in San Francisco that he won the team award for most inspirational player in 2007 and 2008. That sounds like someone who should fit right in to the Rangers' clubhouse.
* The Rangers would likely option Max Ramirez and allow Treanor to back up Molina. I can tell you that in the Texas heat, especially come August, this club will need two catchers who can get the job done. So I think Treanor will certainly get his time.
* Bottom line: Molina still has something in the tank and should add to an already good clubhouse.
* It's a budget neutral deal, with cash coming back to Texas. So essentially they swap salaries. The Rangers will owe the rest of Molina's $4.5 million contract (some of that paid by the Giants in the form of sending cash). On a personal note, I'm sad to see Chris Ray go. He wasn't here long, but he was a good guy and a good teammate. This bullpen is particularly tight and I know it will be tough on them.
* Also, I think the emergence of Alexi Ogando made it easier for the Rangers to consider trading Ray. Ogando is showing he can pitch late and get outs, not to mention he's got good velocity.
What do you think of the trade? Does it make the Rangers better at catcher?