Trade aftermath: Gagne to Red Sox

I’ve been talking about the Rangers trading Eric Gagne for a month now. Now it is official. Hopefully you’ve stashed Akinori Otsuka and Joaquin Benoit.

Red Sox get: RP Eric Gagne
Rangers get: SP Kason Gabbard, OF David Murphy (AAA), and OF Engel Beltre (R)
Quick outlook: Gagne loses value. Gabbard loses value. Murphy gains value. Beltre is unaffected.
Indirectly affected: Joaquin Benoit gains value. C.J. Wilson gains value. Akinori Otsuka gains value. Hideki Okajima loses value. Jon Lester gains value. John Rheinecker loses value.

Analysis:
Gagne goes from closing to second-in-line. If Papelbon were to get hurt, Gagne would be more valuable then he was with Texas, but that’s not something to bank on. Gagne can be dropped in shallow mixed leagues, but he still has a little value in medium-sized leagues. The Red Sox will continue to be careful with Papelbon, so Gagne will pick up the save opportunities that Okajima was getting. Because of this, Okajima will lose those opportunties and some of his value.

In Texas, Joaquin Benoit will probably get the majority of the saves until — if, really — Akinori Otsuka returns. He should be picked up in all leagues. C.J. Wilson might grab a save here or there if there are a couple of lefty batters due up in the ninth. He can be owned in deep mixed and 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues. Otsuka can also be picked up in the hopes that he won’t need Tommy John surgery. If he does return he should take the job over both Benoit and Wilson.

With Gabbard out of Boston, Jon Lester should be assured a rotation spot. That doesn’t mean he will do very well, but he will make some starts. Gabbard is quite likely to stick in Texas’s rotation, at least for a few times through, pushing John Rheinecker to the bullpen. While he might overtake Jamey Wright at some point, Rheinecker can be dropped in all leagues.

Even if Gabbard struggles, which he should, Texas will likely stick with him because they aren’t playing for this year. The move to Arlington should hurt Gabbard a bit. His HR/FB will likely go above league average (10%), but because he gets so many ground balls, it won’t hurt him as much as it would a fly ball pitcher. It will still increase his already poor LIPS ERA, though, and having the Ranger offense instead of the Sox offense will strip him of a win or two. He should be strongly considered in 12 and owned in 14-team AL-only leagues. He can be ignored in mixed leagues.

Lastly, David Murphy might see an upswing in value. With the trade of Kenny Lofton, the Rangers outfield is looking pretty barren. Frank Catalanotto, Marlon Byrd, and Nelson Cruz is far from formidable. Murphy could be called up soon to play center and see considerable time against right-handed pitchers. He’s put up low-to-mid-80% Contact rates in AAA this year and last. His Walk rate was 12% last year and 9% this year. He could hit .260-.265 in the majors. His power hasn’t been great in the minors, but he might be able to hit a handful of homers. Could also pick up a few steals. Can be owned in very deep AL-only leagues.

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