Tonight at 7:05 the Texas Rangers professional baseball club conclude their four-game series against The California Angels. C.J. Wilson vs. Yet Another Attempt at An Upgrade - Ryan Dempster, who was acquired from the Cubs by the Rangers just before the trade deadline.
(FYI: In two postseason games with the Cubs in 2007 and '08, Dempster was 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA.
In 10 postseason games for the Rangers in 2010 and '11, Wilson was 1-6 with a 4.82 ERA.)
In Wilson's first season with the Angels since he signed a five-year, $77.5 million deal he is 9-7 with a 2.88 ERA. He has started 22 games, and pitched 137.2 innings. He projects to finish with a 14-11 record in 211.2 innings.
That's about who C.J. was in his last two seasons as a starter with the Rangers. He doesn't get hurt. He he is reliable. He eats a lot of innings. He is only 31. He may come across as glib and above it, but he is a solid major league starter. He just isn't an ace, hammer.
When the Rangers agreed not to give in to Cliff Lee's demands it was thought they kissed away their best chance at a hammer.
Yu Darvish has that type of ability, but as evidenced by his second starts against familiar opponents experience is lacking.
In the end the Angels' decision to sign Wilson may be a better one than the Phillies' decision to give Cliff Lee a five-year, $120 million deal in the winter of 2010.
Wilson is the type of pitcher who is going to get your team to the postseason. The same for Ryan Dempster. Lee is the type of pitcher who is going to win the 2-1 postseason game.
Lee is just one year into that very backloaded deal, but the Phillies shopped the 33-year-old lefty to anyone who was willing to take him off their hands.
In 18 starts this season, Lee is 2-6 with a 3.73 ERA in 125.1 innings for a very, very, very disappointing Phillies team. Last season, Lee was 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA in 232.2 innings for a team that should have won the World Series had it not been for Chris Carpenter.
The Phillies were trying to land prospects and were willing to take on some of Lee's deal to get rid of him. It would not be a total surprise if they were still able to trade him.
A million variables affect a pitcher's win/loss record - it's not as if Lee's ERA this season merits a losing record - but finding and then deciding to pay that type of hammer ability is a massive risk because you never know when that special ability will vanish.
The Phillies took it and appear to be regretting it.
The Rangers didn't, and are still trying to find it.
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