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Ty Wigginton for Dan Wheeler

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays finally put an end to all the Ty Wigginton trade rumor speculation by dealing him to the Houston Astros for middle reliever/closer Dan Wheeler.  With an embarassing bullpen situation, this cannot do anything but improve the Devil Rays.

The Devil Rays now boast a bullpen back end of closer Al Reyes and Dan Wheeler.  Both players are also under Devil Rays control through next season - Reyes in the second year of a two-year deal and Wheeler through arbitration.  Do not be surprised to see Wheeler filling the exact role he had in Houston - the alternative to a struggling closer.

Regardless, barring an offer the Rays cannot refuse for Al Reyes i.e Reyes to the Mariners for rookie Brandon Morrow, the Rays will have done a good job of addressing this weakness for the 2008 season.

The Astros acquistion of Ty Wigginton is somewhat surprising given the presence of similarly skilled players Morgan Ensberg, Mike Lamb and Mark Loretta on the roster.  Given Lamb and Loretta are free agents after this season and Ensberg will enter his final season of arbitration-eligibility, adding Wigginton's 2009 control is more explainable.  

However, this morning's Houston Astros offers some additional explaination.

By acquiring Wigginton and taking him off the trade market, Purpura also may have raised the value of his two most coveted players who aren't untouchables, Mark Loretta and Mike Lamb.

I have my doubts that the Astros could corner the market in utility infielders and expect other teams to pony-up more than Dan Wheeler value for pending free agents/unwanteds, but, if they do get better than Dan Wheeler value, then this deal turns into a win/win for both teams. Update [2007-7-29 14:31:56 by Eric Hz]: The Astros designated Morgan Ensberg for assignment.