Rays getting Forsythe and pitching, giving up Torres in 7-player deal with Padres
UPDATE, 3:03: More from Friedman on trading Torres, and Hahn:
"Torres was obviously phenomenal for us last season and as the calendar turned into January we started really focusing on areas of weakness, places we wanted to be aggressive to augment.
Logan Forsythe is a guy that we had tried to get previously and a guy that was very high on our target list. From our standpoint, we dealt from an area of depth to address an area of weakness.
Left-handed bullpen is an area of strength for us, at least as we sit here today. Obviously we have (Jake) McGee and (Cesar) Ramos in the big leagues and (C.J.) Riefenhauser and (Jeff) Beliveau that will be in Triple-A and a host of other guys we feel like have a chance to be good major-league lefthanded bullpen options. To us, you've got to give up something to get something. We gave up two arms that we liked a lot to get a number of players we feel like fit us really well.''
UPDATE, 2:48: On a conference call, Rays exec VP Andrew Friedman provided some conbtext for the deal, saying they really like Forsythe, have had interest for a couple years and think he has a big upside, and felt comfortable giving up Torres because they have depth with lefty relievers, McGee and Ramos at big-league level, then Believeau and Riefenhauser at Triple-A.
"From our standpoint, we dealt from an area of depth to address an area of weakness,'' he said.
The Rays see Boxberger as a potential high-leverage reliever and Andriese as a starter who has moved quickly through the minors and could pitch for them this season. Lollis sounds more like a project, and Tissenbaum a young scrappy player with a good eye.
UPDATE, 1:41: The trade is now official, as the Rays get five players: Forsythe, Boxberger, Andriese, Lollis and INF Maxx Tissenbaum for Torres and Hahn.
Tissenbaum is a 22-year-old 2B from Toronto who played at Class A for Padres last year, hitting .277 with .724 OPS
UPDATE, 1:05: Safe to say Boxberger is in the deal since he changed his Twitter profile to say "Pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.'' Once all players are notified, I would assume a formal announcement will come shortly.
UPDATE, 12:00: The Rays may be getting a fifth player back from the Padres. This seems somewhat similar to the Dec. 2010 deal when the Rays traded SS Jason Bartlett to the Padres and got back four players, all of whom have had some value: Brandon Gomes, Cesar Ramos, Cole Figueroa and Adam Russell. ...
UPDATE, 11:28: There's been nothing official from the teams yet, but some considerable speculation on who else is in the deal. ESPN's Keith Law has the most interesting names, reporting that the Rays are also giving up pitching prospect Jesse Hahn and are getting up to three pitching prospects back: Matt Andriese, Matt Lollis and/or Brad Boxberger.
Boxberger, 25, has split the last two seasons between the Padres bullpen, where he was 0-1 with one save and a 2.72 ERA in 49 2/3 innings over 42 games, and Triple-A Tucson, where he was 4-6 with 10 saves and a 3.22 ERA. The 6-2, 220-pound righthander was a 2009 supplemental first-round pick of the Reds and traded to San Diego in the Dec. 2011 Mat Latos deal.
Andriese, 24, is a 6-3, 210-pound right-handed starter who split his 2013 season between Double-A San Antonio, where he was 8-2, 2.37 in 15 starts, and Triple-A Tucson, where he was 3-5, 4.45 in 12 games (10 starts). He was a third-round pick in the 2011 draft from UC-Riverside.
Lollis, 23, is a 6-9, 250-pound right-hander who moved from starting to relieving in 2013 and pitched at the A, AA and AAA levels for the Padres. His five-year minor-league totals are 15-33, 4.79 with 427 hits allowed in 391 innings, striking out 345 and walking 154.
Hahn is an interesting prospect, as the Rays just added him to the 40-man roster after bringing him slowly back from Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the 2011 season. Hahn was 2-1 but with an impressive 2.15 ERA in 19 starts for Class A Port Charlotte this past season.
UPDATE, 9:50: Just talked to Alex Torres in Venezuela. He has been following the Twitter reports of the deal, but has not yet heard from the Rays or the Padres.
His reaction: "Surprised. I'm surprised. No one has called me yet. The first who's called me from the states is you. It's unbelievable. But it's a business, and that's how it is. We know where we are today, we don't know where we will be tomorrow.''
Torres said he has been feeling good, pitching about 30 innings in winter ball. His last talk with the Rays was when head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield called in early January to check in and go over his throwing program.
Torres said he "couldn't have enjoyed his time with the Rays more.''
Torres sad he didn't know much about the Padres situation, but said he'd like the chance to move back into a starting role. "Hopefully I'll have a chance to make the five-man rotation. Everything happens for a reason, so maybe this trade to San Diego gives me a chance to start.''
DEVELOPING: We don't have all the details yet, but the Rays have made a trade with the Padres, which will bring INF/OF Logan Forsythe to Tampa Bay and send LHP Alex Torres to San Diego. Other players are involved.
Forsythe, 27, has played parts of three seasons in he majors. He gives the Rays the right-handed bench bat they seemed to lack with the ability to play the middle infield and the corner outfield. He is coming off a poor 2013 season in which in hit .214 with a .281 on-base percentage and .332 slugging percentage. But he has shown the ability to hit well against left-handers, with a career .363 on-base percentage and .793 OPS, compared to .284 and .594. He was a supplemental first-round pick in the 2008 draft.
After several years of inconsistency as a starter in the minors, Torres, 26, emerged as a key middle reliever for the Rays last season. He went 4-2 with a 1.71 ERA in 58 innings over 39 games, allowing only 32 hits while striking out 62.
The trade is somewhat surprising given the uncertainly over roles in the bullpen and the absence of a set closer, as Torres would have seemed to have the chance to pitch in some high-leverage situations.
Heath Bell and Juan Carlos Oviedo both have previous closing experience, and there has also been talk that Joel Peralta and Jake McGee could get opportunities, or at least consideration.
Without Torres, the Rays have two lefties returning to the bullpen, in McGee and Cesar Ramos, and they acquired Pedro Figueroa, who is out of options, which means the Rays can't send him to the minors without risking losing him on waivers.
Other candidates on the 40-man roster include Jeff Beliveau, Enny Romero and C.J. Riefenhauser, along with Mike Montgomery.
Torres was acquired from the Angels in the 2009 trade of Scott Kazmir.