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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Rangers in talks with Colorado about Chacon 

The S-T is reporting that the Rangers continue to have talks about Colorado righthander Shawn Chacon.

Chacon was a disaster as a closer last season for Colorado, posting a 7.11 ERA and a 71 ERA+ in 63 innings, walking as many as he struck out.

However, in his previous three seasons, he had been solid, if unspectacular, as a starter for the Rockies, posting ERA+s of 103, 85 and 103, and had done a pretty good job of keeping the ball in the park, as well.

Hart has been interested in Chacon for a few years now, and the Rangers seem to believe he'd be a good fit in TBIA. It is always hard to evalute Colorado pitchers, but Chacon's splits have been pretty level both at Coors and on the road; an optimist can interpret that to mean that he can pitch acceptably in a good hitting environment, while a pessimist would view his splits as proof that his numbers are simply not going to be good anywhere.

The S-T identifies a few prospects that Colorado has inquired about. Josh Rupe, Ian Kinsler, and Juan Dominguez are players who would not be worth giving up for Chacon -- all of them are close to major-league ready, and are too valuable to give up for a guy who would only be a #4 starter.

But Kelvin Jimenez, the other player mentioned as a possibility, wouldn't be such a loss. Jimenez, a 24 year old from the Dominican Republic, has intrigued the Rangers for a while with his live arm, but has yet to put together quality results in the minors. His walk totals have been consistently too high, and his ERA unimpressive at every level. He may be a candidate for a Frankie Francisco-like conversion to the pen, where he might be more successful.

But Jimenez is the type of fringe prospect whose best utility is likely to add someone like Chacon, and if the Rangers gave him up to get Chacon, I wouldn't have a problem with that.

The biggest issue with Chacon is his arbitration-eligible status. Dealing for Chacon, you run the risk of getting stuck paying him $4-4.5 million as a result of arbitration, which is more than he's worth.

But given the other options out there on the market, taking a one-year flyer on Chacon, even at $4 million, may not be a bad idea.


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