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Texas Rangers Continue Tinkering Their Bullpen, Trade For Mike Gonzalez

When Texas Ranger fans got back from their lunch break today and saw the Rangers made a trade, I am sure they were hoping it was for St. Louis Cardinals RF Lance Berkman. They didn't get Berkman, but they did get yet another bullpen arm.

Not satisfied with acquiring Mike Adams and Koji Uehara at the trade deadline, the Rangers added another reliever and another Baltimore Orioles reliever in Mike Gonzalez. The Rangers acquired Gonzalez today from the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Gonzalez, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Orioles in the winter of 2009, never lived up to expectations in Baltimore. He spent the majority of 2010 on the disabled list and in a year in a half, Gonzalez has a 4.18 ERA and a career-low 9.8 K/9.

Despite his overall disappointing numbers, Gonzalez has three things going for him, which I am assuming were attractive to the Rangers:

1. He has been red hot in the second half. Gonzalez has a 1.80 ERA and 16 K's in 15 second half innings. He has allowed only one extra-base hit during this time frame and has held hitters to a .154 average.

2. He can still get left-handed hitters out. If Gonzalez was brought in just to face lefties, then he will be just fine. Left-handed batters have just a .575 OPS against him in 95 plate appearances this season.

3. Gonzalez has a history of success against current Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee hitters. If the Rangers make the playoffs, they will face either of those two teams. Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Robinson Cano (hits Gonzalez the best of out of this group), and Curtis Granderson, the big lefties in each of the Boston and New York lineups have a combined six hits in 31 PA's against Gonzalez.

You never know with relievers, but this should be a good acquistion for the Rangers if they use him right.