Trade deadline season officially kicked off today with a head-scratcher of a blockbuster between Texas and Milwaukee.
The Rangers get: Carlos Lee; Nelson Cruz; PTBNL
The Brewers get: Kevin Mench; Laynce Nix; Francisco Cordero
On the surface, the deal makes no sense for either club. Texas adds offense they didn't particularly need, and weakens an already shallow bullpen to do it. Milwaukee trades their most marketable commodity for a not particularly cheap replacement bat and two reclamation projects, and gives up their most major-league-ready Triple-A hitter in the bargain. Neither team seemed to address their needs, unless "getting something for Lee before he becomes a free agent while paying lip service to the idea of staying in the Wild Card hunt" counts as a need.
On a pure talent level though, this looks like Doug Melvin got robbed blind. Cruz is two years younger than Mench and could probably do a fair job of replicating his numbers in the big leagues right now, which makes the trade approximately Lee for Nix and Cordero, plus who knows who that PTBNL will end up being. I have a really hard time believing Melvin couldn't have done better for Lee, even if he had to wait until after Alfonso Soriano got dealt to do it.
If Jon Daniels can follow this up with a trade to get some pitching (maybe by flipping Cruz?) the Rangers suddenly look very dangerous in the AL West. But then that would have been the case without this trade.
About the only people who should be smiling about this one are Kenny Williams and Brian Cashman, as it kept Lee out of the Twins' hands.