According to MLB.com, the Rangers are sending a minor leaguer plus a player to be named later to Houston in exchange for Ivan Rodriguez. A website called MLB Fanhouse (http://mlb.fanhouse.com/) reports on its Twitter page that the identified minor leaguer is hard-throwing 22-year-old Hickory reliever Matt Nevarez.
A couple things.
Nevarez has a huge arm and is extremely raw. He's the kind of player a system as deep as the Rangers' can absolutely afford to trade. Drafted in the 10th round in 2005, he'll be Rule 5-eligible this winter and would never have been protected by Texas, and thus potentially lost. (For that reason, I'd expect Houston to add him to its roster in November.)
After struggling with injuries and command for several years, the 6'5", 220-pound righthander has broken out in 2009, posting a 2.83 ERA out of the Crawdads bullpen and striking out 50 in 35 innings. He's scattered just 22 hits (one home run) and 15 walks, with a positive G/F rate. Risk-reward type. Could be a power set-up arm in the big leagues one day . . . could top out at AA.
I've had Nevarez on the "Pitchers to Watch" list at the footer of my Top 20 Rangers Prospects column for MLB.com most of the season. He was probably somewhere in the 30s if you were to rank this system's prospects that deep. Maybe the 40s. He'll probably be in the teens for the Astros.
On the player to be named, this could be one of two things: (1) Houston has a period of time to decide on a minor leaguer from an agreed list of prospects; or (2) the player is a minor leaguer on the 40-man roster and thus needs to clear waivers before being traded. If it's the latter, candidates for the second player would conceivably include Thomas Diamond, Luis Mendoza, Joaquin Arias, Jose Vallejo, or Greg Golson. I leave players like Guillermo Moscoso, Warner Madrigal, Omar Poveda, Max Ramirez, and Brandon Boggs off because I don't think Texas would include them in a deal like this.
Since 34 of you have now emailed me to ask the question: No, I don't know if David Murphy will give up uniform number 7.
The Ticket is now reporting that the second player in the trade is fleet infielder Jose Vallejo.
As explained above, the reason he's a player to be named later is that, as a 40-man roster member, he needs to clear waivers first since we're past the July 31 trade deadline.