My first thought when I saw that the Giants were unloading Bengie Molina on the Rangers last night: Wow, if the Mets had only gone multiple years and, like, ten million bucks, he could have been theirs! My next thought: this works for everyone involved.
The Giants needed to find a permanent home for Buster Posey. They also needed to find a more comfortable home for Aubrey Huff. Now the former can catch, where his bat is more valuable and the latter can play first base where his glove is less vulnerable. Molina wasn’t hitting to save his life, so this is addition by subtraction as well, and now the Giants can pursue first base and/or left field options if they want to add a much-needed bat.
For the Rangers this makes sense too, if only because they are one of the few teams for which Molina represents an offensive upgrade behind the plate. The Rangers once were so rich in catching talent that there were rumors of the Red Sox shopping Clay Buchholz to Texas to get in on some of that, but for the past year it’s been a nightmare behind the plate. At least now can pencil in Molina behind the plate in the 9th spot of the order and be done fretting about it.
The Chris Ray-to-the-Giants portion of this trade is gravy. With him leaving, and a bunch of cash coming back to Texas, the deal helps the strapped Rangers take on Molina’s salary. This morning Buster Olney tweeted that this could be a model for a more significant trade by the Rangers inasmuch as, if they send a big ugly contract like Rich Harden plus some added sweetener in the form of better prospects to, say, Seattle, they could still get someone like Cliff Lee.
Makes sense, though in the long term it kinda stinks for Rangers fans that the team has to overpay in terms of prospects simply because the guys in the suits couldn’t get their business and legal house in order fast enough. But such is the way of the world.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.