The go-nowhere San Diego Padres have been busy, trying to bring in long-term talent for their dynamite late relievers. The Texas Rangers have been busy, trying to shore up what's been a mediocre bullpen. The fit was most definitely there. A wrench was thrown into the works when the Rangers traded for Koji Uehara on Saturday, but that didn't mean they were done adding, and on Sunday, the Rangers and Padres have swung a trade long predicted:
Indeed, the Rangers have traded for Mike Adams, giving up prospects Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin in return. It was reported that those were the two prospects the Padres wanted for Heath Bell; in the end, they got those two prospects, and surrendered the more valuable reliever.
It's another huge, immediate boost for the Rangers. Adams has been a regular Padres reliever since 2008. Over those three and a half years, he's posted a 1.66 ERA, with 241 strikeouts and 59 walks. Adams is a reliever with zero weaknesses, and along with Uehara, he'll help stabilize what's suddenly become a team strength. And it'll be a strength even if Neftali Feliz doesn't get things straightened out. Adams and Uehara are that good.
What makes Adams more valuable than Bell - aside from the fact that he's the better pitcher - is that he's under team control in 2012, while Bell is headed for free agency. There's an excellent chance that Adams is a setup man down the stretch, then shifts to the closer role next season.
As for the Padres, they add to the top of their farm system. Wieland is a 21-year-old righty starter who's recently made it up to double-A. He just threw a no-hitter, but more importantly than that, he has 132 strikeouts and 15 walks on the season. He works off of a low-90s fastball, a solid curve and a developing changeup, and his stock is rising fast. By the end of the year he could be considered one of the better pitching prospects in the game.
And Erlin is a 20-year-old lefty starter who's also worked in double-A. He's racked up 123 strikeouts and 12 walks, just in case you thought Wieland's numbers were too good to be true. He's considered more of a command guy than a stuff guy, and he succeeds by location, but it's not like he goes out there throwing 85mph slop. He does have a fastball that gets into the 90s, and he does have a curve that makes older hitters look silly. Erlin is a legitimately good prospect of his own right.
It's the second deal in two days where the Rangers gave up talent, but it's the second deal in two days where the Rangers boosted their major league roster without having to subtract from it. There aren't a lot of weaknesses left on that team.