Rays Are Quiet but Talking Trade with Clubs

July 22, 2008 at 9:33 am 3 comments


The Tampa Bay Rays are sitting pretty in 1st place right now, 1.5 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox and 4.5 games ahead of the New York Yankees. The Rays have been very quiet on the front but VP of baseball operations/GM Andrew Friedman is saying the Rays are talking with many clubs about many different players.

Just like most people would expect Friedman isn’t giving any names or names of teams. The Rays like to keep quiet.

Bill Chastain over at MLB.com had this to say about the Rays current position:

As is Friedman’s norm, he did not talk specifics, which means information about the Rays’ intentions must be gathered from outside the organization. In talking to several insiders outside the organization about players the Rays are interested in acquiring before the trade deadline, there aren’t many suprises. Outfielder Xavier Nady remains a solid possibility as the Pirates are looking for prospects. A’s reliever Huston Street and outfielder Matt Murton — who hits from the right side, also have been mentioned and the A’s would be happy with prospects. I’m beginning to think the demand for Colorado left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes is too great to make a reasonable deal. Perhaps more interesting would be Jon Rauch, the 6-foot-11, 291 pound right-handed reliever of the Nationals. In addition to shoring up the Rays’ pen, Rauch fits the Rays’ profile in that he’s signed through 2009 with a club option for 2010 — that must be exercised prior to the start of the 2008 World Series.

The only words surrounding the Rays trade front are the words of the people who surround the Rays, not those actually involved with the Rays.

Every rumor we hear surrounding the Rays is just that, a rumor made up by a writer or insider. There have been no leaks by the Rays or by the teams they have talked to. So, with that said, I will give my two cents on the Rays trade front.

First, the Rays don’t have to make a move. They are at the point right now where the team chemistry is possibly the best of any team in the game. Their defense is possibly the best in the game and the pitching staff could be a top 5. The only obvious upgrade would be in the lineup but would it be worth it if it means downgrading the defense? Which brings me to the next suggestion.

The Rays could add a right-handed bat in rightfield. They sorely need to add offense to this lineup. The asking price for guys like Nady, Jason Bay, and Matt Holliday are way too high in my opinion for a team like the Rays. The Rays could gamble with the platoon they have now of Erik Hinske/Jonny Gomes/Gabe Gross and wait to see if Rocco Baldelli makes it back. I honestly believe Baldelli can make a successful comeback and crush lefties. But, I do think the one area the Rays need to improve the most is in rightfield by adding a right-handed bat and I’ve said it before that the current asking price of the above mentioned players should be packaged and sent as an offer to the Dodger for Matt Kemp. This is pure speculation on my part but the Dodgers are calling around for shortstops and arms. If the Rays beleive Brignac is ready they could offer a package of veterans Jason Bartlett, Scott Dohmann, and prospects Jeff Niemann, Chris Mason, and Nick Barnese. Or offer a package around top shortstop prospect Reid Brignac and land Kemp. I’m honestly not sure what it will take to get Kemp but when the Rockies are asking for him in return for Brian Fuentes or when I hear that the Dodgers almost pulled the trigger on a Kemp for Jack Wilson trade then the above packages should be plenty to get Kemp. I would also call the Rangers on Milton Bradley just to kick the tires.

Lastly, the Rays could add an arm. Fuentes is too expensive in my opinion especially when the Rox are asking for Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson (I wouldn’t add those two in any trade). The Rays could reasonably get a guy like Jon Rauch or maybe even Ron Mahay but I still think the Rays pen is great how it is and can be addressed internally if there is an injury.

If I ran the team I would keep all my top 6-8prospects and try to address the needs by offering lower prospects. The Rays lower prospects like Nick Barnese, Alex Cobb, Fernando Perez, Eduardo Morlan, and others are better than a lot of teams top 10 prospects. The only way I would give up a Davis or Hellickson is if I get a superstar who is under team control like Kemp, Hunter Pence, or a player of their caliber. The Rays are in great shape and do not need to mortgage the future for a rental that may not be able to add more than 1 win to the team the rest of 2008.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. supremesportsjustice  |  July 22, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Great job Jonathan! I know you’ve been sold on Pence for a while, but I think they’d benefit by having more of a veteran presence, like Nady or Bay. And I think Jeff Niemann is as good as gone with any major deal they swing.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 22, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t think they can get Pence anyways but I think if they are going to send top prospects they should get a guy like him. I’m definielty sold on Matt Kemp though. Houston is trying to get Randy Wolf while still 10 games out. They need to wake up like you wrote earlier.

  • 3. supremesportsjustice  |  July 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    I saw that they acquired Wolf and laughed. Talk about a no-sense deal for Houston.


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