Rays make a deal ...
MIAMI - The Devil Rays completed a trade Tuesday they feel will make them younger and better at two positions – acquiring catcher Dioner Navarro and pitcher Jae Seo from the Dodgers for Toby Hall and lefthanded starter Mark Hendrickson.
The Rays also will send $1-million to the Dodgers and will get back a minor-league player to be named later. The deal is expected to be announced at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Navarro, 22, was the Dodgers' opening-day starter and was hitting .280 through 25 games. But he went on the disabled list in May after being struck on the wrist by a foul ball. When he was healthy again, Navarro was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. The switch hitter is batting .175 in 11 games.
Navarro, who is 5-foot-9 and 215 pounds and nicknamed Little Pudge in reference to Tigers star Ivan “Pudge’ Rodriguez, was considered the top prospect in the Yankees organization in 2004 before being traded to Los Angeles by way of Arizona. He is expected to join the Rays Wednesday in Miami and is considered to have the offensive and defensive skills to be a top-notch starter.
Seo, 29, has been working out of the Dodgers bullpen after being bumped from their rotation and is 2-4 with a 5.78 ERA. The Korean born-righthander, who was signed by the Mets and traded to the Dodgers in January, is expected to replace Hendrickson in the Rays rotation. Seo was 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA for the Mets last season with 16 walks and 59 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings. (His name is pronounced Jay Sew.)
The trade continues the Rays’ strategy of stockpiling promising young players whom they can control for several years. The Rays have Navarro for five more seasons and Seo, who will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season, for another three.
Hall, 30, has been the Rays primary starter since 2002. He had a hot start this season but is now hitting .231 with eight homers and 22 RBIs. He is making $2.25-million this season and would be eligible for free agency after the 2007 season. He is likely to share backup duties in Los Angeles with veteran Sandy Alomar Jr.
Hendrickson, 32, has been one of the Rays' most consistent starters, though a lack of run support has left him with a 4-8 record despite a 3.81 ERA. He is making $1.95-million this season and would be in line for a raise to about $4-million next season.