The Cleveland Indians, looking to upgrade their production in left field, have acquired outfielder Kenny Lofton from the Texas Rangers. This is Lofton’s third stint with the Indians. They sent catcher Max Ramirez to the Rangers.
The Indians Haul
The Indians brought in Lofton to replace Jason Michaels, who has not been hitting too well in left field. Lofton provides plenty of speed (21 for 25 in stolen base attempts) and was hitting a solid .303 with a .380 on base percentage with the Rangers. This is a very welcome addition to the number two slot in the Indians’ lineup, right behind Grady Sizemore. Lofton should help the Indians contend in two tough races: the American League Central divisional race and the AL Wild Card race.
The Rangers Haul
Ramirez came to the Indians from the Atlanta Braves in the Bob Wickman deal of last summer. He was hitting .303/.418/.505 with 12 homers in high Class A at the time of the trade. Ramirez is also adept at throwing out opposing hitters, having succeeded 29% of the time this season.
Lofton owners should expect an increase in his runs scored, but, since both The Ballpark in Arlington and Jacobs Field are hitter friendly, everything else should remain the same. As for Marlon Byrd (.343 batting average in 204 ABs) and Brad Wilkerson (15 home runs), they figure to receive more prominent roles in the Rangers lineup. For those in keeper leagues, Ramirez’s fantasy value should increase, since the Rangers do not really have a catcher of the future.
The Final Word
This trade really helps out both ballclubs. Lofton is a huge upgrade in left field and should provide plenty to the Indians’ stretch run. Ramirez, on the other hand, is looking like a nice catcher to have in a rebuilding team’s farm system.
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