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Trades Bolster Bullpen in Big Way

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Trades Bolster Bullpen in Big Way

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Koji Uehara and Mike Adams.

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The one area of the Texas Rangers that had plagued the team all season was its questionable, at best, performance in the bullpen.

The bullpen ERA is terrible, the games lost by the bullpen is high, basically, something had to change.

And over the weekend, it did.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels made a couple of huge moves for the bullpen, dealing Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter to Baltimore on Saturday for righty Koji Uehara, who was actually a high school classmate of current Rangers reliever Yoshi Tateyama.

Then, on Sunday, it seemed like a done deal that the Rangers had a deal with the San Diego Padres to acquire closer Heath Bell, a rent-a-player, for minor league pitching prospects Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, who tossed a no-hitter against San Antonio (San Diego's Double-A club) in his final start for Frisco.

Now, as one NL executive put it in an interview, the Rangers can play "little league" because the starters only have to go six innings as the seventh, eighth and ninth are locked up with Uehara, Adams and up-and-down closer Neftali Feliz.

As good as Feliz was last year, he's been the exact opposite of Uehara and Adams as far as letting runners on base. Feliz has nearly as many walks as strikeouts this year, which isn't a good thing for a closer.

But a quick glance at Adams' and Uehara's numbers will shatter your jaw as it hits the floor.

Adams: 3-1, 1.13 ERA in 48 innings. He has 49 strikeouts and 9 walks. Righties have hit .107 against him this year.

Uehara: 1-1, 1.72 ERA in 47 innings. He had an astronmical 62 Ks to just 8 walks and added two more strikeouts in an inning of work for the Rangers on Sunday.

Best of all, both of these guys will most likely be back in Arlington in 2012 with Adams under contract and Uehara likely to get an option he's due based on number of appearances. Bell would've been gone in two months.

If Feliz can get right, the Rangers instantly have one of the best bullpens in baseball to go with their top 5 starting rotation this season.

Count it as another grand slam for Jon Daniels.

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