Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Silverman expects to continue to be active in trade market

BOCA RATON — Matt Silverman insisted he didn't set out to make trades at such a frenetic pace, 13 in the 13 months since taking over as president of baseball operations, involving 45 major-league players.

It just happened that way.

"Last year at this time," he said Wednesday, "I didn't know if I'd make one."

But as Silverman slid over to replace Andrew Friedman, he found myriad reasons to constantly be working to making a deal.

And not just because he could.

But because he had to.

"The trade market is one of the few places where we can address needs and improve our organization," Silverman said at the GM meetings.

"We happen to have a very full and talented roster of players, and that lends itself to a greater volume of transactions. We're very engaged in dialogue with clubs, and we're focused on maximizing the talent of our roster and its flexibility."

There are other ways, of course.

But the Rays, ever mindful of the bottom line, don't usually dabble in the free agent market unless there is a bargain to be had late in the pre-spring shopping season, such as shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera last January.

And they rarely sign international players beyond teenaged prospects or draft players who can make a quick ascension to the majors.

Thus, trades are the most feasible option.

"It's hard for us to impact the club on an immediate level in a big way through free agency and internationally," Silverman said. "Free agency — we simply can't afford those players. Internationally or in the draft, it takes years for those results to bear fruit.

"So if we're looking for more immediate results, we can focus on the trade market. We might line up based on the difference of value, we might line up on a difference of timing where one club is looking to push more this year and we are comfortable taking back some combination of current and future value. There are a couple of different ways we can line up with a club and make a trade that is win-win."

Some of his deals were to create 40-man roster space, such as his first, sending lefty reliever Cesar Ramos to the Angels for a minor-leaguer, then later last offseason in shipping Sean Rodriguez to the Pirates.

Some were to dump players who were going to make more than the Rays wanted to pay — Jeremy Hellickson to the Diamondbacks, Joel Peralta to Friedman's Dodgers.

Some are to trade present contributions for future promise, such as Kevin Jepsen to the Twins in July for two prospects.

And some were actually designed to help the team on the field.

Silverman's biggest deal, a three-team, 11-player transaction last December, saw Wil Myers swapped out for Steven Souza Jr.

His first trade this offseason filled two holes, trading Nathan Karns from their depth of starting pitching to Seattle to get Brad Miller to play shortstop and Logan Morrison to add power.

As of today, the Rays don't have to do anything else, which is a position they like to be in. There are always spots they can upgrade, but they feel comfortable with the roster they have.

While they never deem any player untouchable, they're not looking to make a major shakeup by dealing or even soliciting interest in Evan Longoria.

The biggest key seems to be trading first baseman James Loney and his $8 million salary, which would free up at-bats and money and increase flexibility. If offered enough — obviously applicable in any conversation — they could be tempted to move one of their late-inning relievers, Brad Boxberger or Jake McGee, and plug from elsewhere in an always churning bullpen.

As Rays officials head home from the meetings today, nothing seemed imminent.

But just wait. The Nov. 20 cutoff is approaching to clear four-five spots for prospects on the 40-man roster. There is a Dec. 2 deadline looming to tender contracts, and having 12 arbitration-eligibles seems like too many. Teams overall are more willing to trade, in part because so many are under new management and without emotional attachments to existing inventory.

In other words, it is just a matter of time until Trader Matt strikes again.

Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected].

Comments
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Published: 06/20/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18