For this multiple part blog I would like to give my opinion on the some of the winners and losers in the just concluded trades. Part 1 will focus on the last trade made just before the 4 p.m. deadline on Thursday, July 31. This trade saw LHP David Price dealt from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Detroit Tigers as part of a three-team trade with the Seattle Mariners. The other players in the trade included outfielder Austin Jackson going From the Tigers to the Mariners, while the Rays will receive the Tigers’ LHP Drew Smyly, as well as the Mariners’ infielder Nick Franklin and shortstop prospect Willy Adames.
I believe the Rays did not get what I expected for Price. Smyly is 25 and a lefty starter for the Tigers who pitched in the majors for 2012-2014. In those three years he started 36 games, pitched a total of 105 innings with 89 SO to a record of 16-12 with an ERA of 3.53. The 23 year-old Franklin is a SS with the Mariners. His career BA is .214 with an OBP of .291. Adames is still in the low minors. His BA this year in the minors is .269 with an OBP of .346. This trade is far inferior to their trade last year. In that trade for James Shields the Rays got Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi and two high minor league prospects.
The following two quotes by their VP of Operations and President make no sense to me.
“Compared to the other possibilities, it was by far the most prudent thing that we could do,” said Andrew Friedman, Tampa’s VP. “If you look ahead to next year, it would have been really challenging to be as good as we want to be within our situation, with David taking up that meaningful of a percentage of our payroll. So everything we do is in the vein of how to be competitive in the near term and also the long term.”
“It’s not waving a white flag at all,” Rays president Matt Silverman said. “If your team plays to the level that it can, especially considering all the head-to-head games we have within our division, we have a chance to make up the deficit and get into the playoffs. It’s more difficult without David, but if the rest of the team plays up to their potential, we’re going to be playing meaningful games in September.”
I disagree with the Rays management from a baseball point of view. Remember Price is not eligible for free agency until 2016 and has one more year left on his existing contract. The Rays as of August 1 are currently 6 games behind for the second wild-card. Add to that their record since July 1 of 16-6 makes them the hottest team in baseball. From a fan’s point of view this is also a bad decision. Fans that paid for a season’s ticket will not get to see possibly the second best lefty in baseball. Can you imagine buying a season’s pass to see Lebron James and then find out with one-third the season left that he has been traded? My grade for Tampa Bay for this trade is a C-.
We now turn to both Seattle and Detroit. Seattle was in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder, and they got a good one from the Tigers in Austin Jackson. Better yet, it basically only cost them infielder Nick Franklin, who has spent a majority of the season at Triple-A Tacoma. As for Detroit they will now boast a starting rotation with three former Cy Young Award winners in Price, Verlander and Scherzer. They are the first team with three pitchers on the staff who all have won CY Young Awards over the three previous seasons. Add to these three Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello and you have a starting five to rival that of the Oakland Athletics, who just picked up Jon Lester in a trade with Boston. I give both these teams an A for the trade.
Please continue reading the next parts of this trading blog to get my thoughts on some of the other trades. As usual I am always interested in your comments.