As promised, we're going to take a look at some players the Rangers could add before Saturday's trade deadline. We know they've shown interest and had conversations with teams about a handful of right-handed hitting corner infielders. That includes Florida's Jorge Cantu and Baltimore's Ty Wigginton, two players at the top of the club's list. So let's briefly look at Cantu, a 28-year-old from McAllen, Texas, playing for the Marlins.
A source told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes on Monday that the Rangers are closing on a deal for Cantu, as long as the commissioner's office signs off on the financials of the deal.
Cantu has played mostly at third base for the Marlins this season, but has also played some first base. He's got 283 at-bats at third and 42 at first and is hitting .260 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs heading into Monday's games.
Cantu is making $6 million this season, meaning he'd be owed about $2 million when the trade deadline hits. As we've discussed on this blog, just because the Rangers don't have much (if at all) left in the internal budget doesn't mean they can't make a deal. They could ask for a line of credit from MLB. But if we work under the assumption that they can't get any more money, it would mena they'd have to give up a higher-level prospect or a larger package of lower-tier ones, in order to get the Marlins to pay the remainder of Cantu's salary. It's the same philosophy they used in the Bengie Molina trade, sending Michael Main to the Giants to get San Francisco to pay the remainder of Molina's salary.
In Cantu, the Rangers would get a player that can play a variety of infield postions. He's played first and third this season, but has considerable time at second base. The Rangers want someone who can play against tough lefties for Chris Davis at first base. Cantu is hitting .247 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 81 at-bats against lefties this season. His average is actually higher against righties -- .263. But he has a higher OPS against lefties at .724. It's worth noting that from 2007-2009, Cantu had a solid .292 average with an .832 OPS in 359 at-bats against lefties. So he has a track record of hitting them, even though he hasn't had quite as much success in 2010.
Davis, for those wondering, is 4-for-24 (.167) against left-handers this season.
Cantu has 14 errors, the most for any National League third baseman, and his fielding percentage of .919 is also last among 3B. But Cantu isn't likely to be playing any third base for the Rangers. In 40 games played (seven starts) at 1B, Cantu doesn't have any errors and has a competitive zone rating. And I can bet you that manager Ron Washington and infield coach Dave Anderson would love to get their hands on Cantu and share a few pointers with him at first base like they've done for Davis and Justin Smoak.
I like Cantu because of his flexibility and track record against left-handed pitching. The question is what it might cost in prospects. As much as this team would love to have a right-handed hitting corner infielder -- club president Nolan Ryan said it tops his wish list right now, -- I don't think they want to get rid of a top prospect to do it. If they can find one for a mid-tier prospect, than it makes sense. Unlike the Cliff Lee trade (or even Molina), this is more of a luxury than a necessity for this team in terms of making a push toward the postseason.
What do you think of Cantu? What would you be willing to give up for him?