Blog Entry

Should the Rays trade pitching for hitting?

Posted on: September 21, 2011 1:08 pm
NEW YORK -- The Rays have a chance in the wild-card race because their rotation is better and deeper than those of the big-money Yankees and Red Sox.

The Rays are at a serious disadvantage in the wild-card race because they aren't nearly as good at scoring runs as they are at preventing them.

The Rays have more pitching coming, including Matt Moore, perhaps the best pitching prospect in baseball. The Rays have some emerging position players (including Desmond Jennings), but not enough.

The answer, to some rival scouts and executives, is clear: This winter, the Rays need to trade pitching for hitting.

Andrew Friedman understands, but the Rays general manager isn't sure he agrees.

"Starting pitching depth is very fleeting," Friedman said. "While we have it right now, we can't wake up one day with [only] three or four starters, where we have to go looking on the market.

"We're absolutely doomed if that happens. We're certainly not going into the winter saying we have too much starting pitching."

Friedman insists he was never close to trading a pitcher at the July 31 deadline, even though opposing teams believed that both Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann were available then. Teams were more interested in James Shields -- the Reds and Tigers had serious interest -- but all agree that the Rays weren't willing to move their ace. It goes almost without saying that the Rays wouldn't trade David Price or Jeremy Hellickson.

The question is whether they would move Shields -- or anyone -- this winter.

While it might be more comfortable to move Davis or Niemann, and put either Moore or Alex Cobb in that spot, it's obvious that Shields would bring a far higher return. Also, Shields' salary goes up to $7 million next year, which is cheap for what he gives but potentially expensive for a team that has real payroll issues.

But trading Shields could hurt the Rays beyond his 15 wins and big-league high 11 complete games. There's no doubt that Shields is the leader of a rotation that is as tight as it is talented.

"Shields is very much a part of the fabric of this team," Friedman admitted. "When we talk in spring training with our prospect pitchers, we often say, 'Go watch James Shields. Go emulate what he does.'"

Would Friedman trade Shields, or one of his other starters? Will Friedman even be the one making the decision, or will he leave the Rays for the Cubs or Astros?

He's not saying, and like his team, he's made a habit of surprising people.

But there is truth to what Friedman said. For the Rays, trading pitching for hitting isn't as simple and clear-cut as it sounds.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Should the Rays trade pitching for hitting?

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Should the Rays trade pitching for hitting?

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Should the Rays trade pitching for hitting?

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Should the Rays trade pitching for hitting?

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:19 pm
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:40 pm

Should the Rays trade pitching for hitting?

Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: September 22, 2011 6:31 pm

Should the Rays trade pitching for hitting?

Listen to offers but a trade isn't really necessary. 

I wish BJ Upton would put it all together.

Even in a down year, again. He shows glimpses and plays the best CF in the game. Then, of course, he'd be a Type-A free agent and bring 2 draft picks.
I wish Sam Fuld got to play more. Sure he's not going to win you many fantasy games but his defense alone won at least 5 games.

Trade Shields ? Does he bring me a Thumper at 1B and pitching prospects ?

Because the Rays OF is young with Upton, Joyce, and Jennings and Guyer and Fuld as back-ups and little used defensive replacements.

Longoria will be at 3B. Brignac will should bounce back. Rodriguez will hit better. Zobrist is a consistent pain when he isn't dinged up. Kotchman may not hit .300 but he plays a damn fine 1B. And Jaso, Shoppach should both hit more than Jaso's weight. We won't go crazy and ask them to push what shoppach weighs.

It's a pretty good line-up without trading pitching.

So it comes down to salary and readiness. Tonight we see if Moore's ready. Cobb sure looked like he could handle it.

Jim Hickey can make a quality bull-pen out of a bubble gum wrapper, 3 baseball cards, a ball of twine and an amoeba. Asking him to do it with McGee, DelaRosa, Gomes, and whatever is left of Ramos, Cruz, Peralta,Howell,Sonnenstine and Farnsworth may not even be a challenge.

Now if Maddon and hitting coach Derek Shelton can get the same response out of hitters. The line-up will be fine.

 Maybe Shelton is the one they should trade. 

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: September 21, 2011 4:55 pm

Should the Rays trade pitching for hitting?

Why do they have to make a trade when there are so many free agents  out there. Dumping Upton is something that must be done. He has under achieved his whole career. Build their offense around their stud 3rd baseman and the young guns, sign a coupe of offensive weapons and a real closer and try their hand. Their pitching is probably the best in the AL and breaking it up would be a bad decision. To compete with the Sox and Yankees, stud pitching is a must. Just be sensible.

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