And before that …
Former GM Chuck LaMar made 11 July trades, usually dumping veterans and payroll, with the 2004 acquisition of Scott Kazmir clearly the best on his ledger. Here are some of note:
1999: OF Jose Guillen and RHP Jeff Sparks from Pirates for C Humberto Cota and C Joe Oliver.
2000: RHP Paul Wilson and OF Jason Tyner from Mets for RHP Rick White and OF Bubba Trammell; RHP Jesus Colome from A's for LHP Todd Belitz and RHP Jim Mecir; 2B Brent Abernathy from Jays for LHP Mark Guthrie and RHP Steve Trachsel.
2001: LHP Nick Bierbrodt, OF Jason Conti and cash from D'backs for C Mike DiFelice and RHP Albie Lopez; RHP Manny Aybar and INF Jason Smith from Cubs for 1B Fred McGriff.
2004: LHP Scott Kazmir and RHP Jose Diaz from Mets for RHP Bartolome Fortunato and RHP Victor Zambrano.
Will the Rays make a trade before the July 31 nonwaiver deadline? History says they will. And that it will work out. Since Andrew Friedman took over as executive vice president in October 2005, the Rays have made more than 20 trades. Six were made in the months of July and August, and a seventh just before, so we'll include that, and rank the best to worst stretch-drive deals.
|The players||the deal|
|1.C Dioner Navarro, RHP Jae Seo and minor-league OF Justin Ruggiano from the Dodgers for C Toby Hall and LHP Mark Hendrickson (and cash); June 27, 2006||For a catcher and pitcher they didn't want and weren't going to bring back, plus $1-million, the Rays got the young catcher they needed in Navarro, left, who was an All-Star this season at age 24, and a promising prospect in Ruggiano, who has starred at Triple A and been in the big leagues. Plus, they got four wins out of Seo; the Dodgers got six from Hendrickson.|
|2.RHP Dan Wheeler from the Astros for INF Ty Wigginton; July 28, 2007||As much as the Rays liked what Wigginton did and how he did it, they weren't going to pay him $4-million this season. Wheeler was having a down year in Houston, but with proper handling and the comforts of home, he has turned into a consistent reliever. Good enough that the Rays gave him a three-year, $10.5-million deal with a 2011 option.|
|3.RHP Mitch Talbot and INF Ben Zobrist from the Astros for INF/OF Aubrey Huff (and cash); July 12, 2006||The Rays weren't going to re-sign Huff, and it didn't seem they would get much for him. So when they got a chance to fill a hole for an advanced shortstop prospect (Zobrist, left) and add a young pitcher they still expect to be a major-leaguer, they took it. And they threw in $1.6-million to do it.|
|4.RHP Grant Balfour from the Brewers for RHP Seth McClung; July 27, 2007||A lot of McClung's issues were self-inflicted, but it wasn't going to work for him, for several reasons, with the Rays. Balfour, left, was essentially a spare part in Milwaukee. It took a while, but both have prospered this season.|
|5.RHP Evan Meek and RHP Dale Thayer from the Padres for INF/OF Russell Branyan; Aug. 24, 2006||Branyan didn't have much of a role with the Rays, and the Padres were willing to give up two decent arms for him. Thayer keeps putting up intriguing minor-league numbers; Meek was subsequently traded in a Rule 5 deal.|
|6.Minor-league RHP Calvin Medlock and LHP Brian Shackelford from the Reds for INF Jorge Cantu and Shaun Cumberland (and cash); July 28, 2007||The Rays decided they had no more use for Cantu, right, and he was unhappy about it, so they didn't have much to lose and didn't get much for him. Cantu's rebound with the Marlins this season makes it look worse now.|
|7.Minor-league INF Joel Guzman and OF Sergio Pedroza from the Dodgers for SS Julio Lugo; July 31, 2006||Once the Rays knew they weren't going to re-sign Lugo, the question was whether to get prospects in a trade or draft picks as compensation when he left as a free agent. With neither Guzman (at Triple A) nor Pedroza (at Double A) particularly impressive, the picks might have been the better option.|
Makes sense for the Rays to figure out before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline if/how much OF Rocco Baldelli, above, might be able to help. … ESPN bagged last week's Sunday Conversation with Joe Maddon because of the losing streak. … One of the Hollywood insider TV shows wanted (and didn't get) time with Evan Longoria at the All-Star Game — to talk about Eva. … A group touring all 30 parks and making short, human-interest videos hits the Trop on Tuesday; see BaseCrawl.com for their work. … ESPN's Buster Olney picks the Rays to win the AL wild card; Tim Kurkjian says the Yankees beat them out. … Asked about the possibility of LHP David Price pitching in the majors this season, executive vice president Andrew Friedman said, "I wouldn't say yes, and I wouldn't say no; it's not fair to get into that." … SmackApparel.com and the Authentic Team Merchandise store in Tampa are selling "The New Beast of the East" shirts in Rays colors. … The HBO Costas Now show featuring Longoria replays at 11:30 a.m. today and at 10:30 p.m. Monday.