Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Tales: Matt Silverman's record with trades

The most important Ray over the next two weeks might not be Evan Longoria or Chris Archer or Kevin Kiermaier but Matt Silverman.

Trade talks are going to be the primary topic around the Rays given the combination of their bad record and good talent. What Silverman, as president of baseball operations, decides to do — or not do — by Aug. 1 likely will have more impact on the franchise than anything any of the players do on the field.

The Rays figure to be involved in as many trade rumors as any team — and will say the least about them — just based on supply and demand, as they have starting pitchers to deal and there's a long list of contenders in need. Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly and, though it would take a huge deal, have all been asked about, as has Erasmo Ramirez.

Add in some position players (led by Steve Pearce), bullpen arms, extra outfielders and stalled prospects, and they have a lot to talk about. Two keys typically are getting back controllable young players (not veterans) and young pitching when they deal starters.

How good should Rays fans feel about Silverman shaping their future? He has made 16 deals involving big-leaguers — some for talent, some to clear roster space and money — since taking over for Andrew Friedman in October 2014. While some can be judged now, others require waiting until prospects mature.

Here is a breakdown:

Top of the list

The Myers-Souza Swap

December 2014, with Padres and Nats

Traded to Padres: OF Wil Myers, C Ryan Hanigan and minor-leaguers LHP Jose Castillo, RHP Gerardo Reyes

Got: 1B Jake Bauers, RHP Joe Ross, C Rene Rivera, RHP Burch Smith, INF Trea Turner (technically a player to be named at the time)

Traded to Nats: Ross, Turner

Got: LHP Travis Ott, OF Steven Souza Jr.

Analysis: Whether it turns out to be a bust as it looks now remains to be seen, but Silverman's brassiest trade so far was the three-team, 11-player deal that undid some previous big deals, specifically in giving up — and giving up on — 2013 AL rookie of the year Myers, then flipping two valuable parts of the return to Washington for Souza. When Myers struggled last year and Souza showed flashes of impact, it looked like it might be a good debate over who was better. But with Myers playing like an All-Star this year and Souza remaining inconsistent, it doesn't look too good. Plus, Ross has been good for the Nationals and Turner looks like he might be a future star. Rivera was let got after one season, and Smith got hurt, which makes Bauers — who has been impressive at Double A and pushing for another promotion — the key to the Rays salvation.

Other big deals

Dumping Helly

November 2014, with Diamondbacks

Traded: RHP Jeremy Hellickson

Got: INF Andrew Velasquez, OF Justin Williams

Analysis: The Rays weren't going to pay Hellickson $4 million plus, so Silverman struck an early offseason deal for a pair of young prospects. Both still are at Class A, with Williams showing more promise.

The Jepsen deals

December 2014, with Angels

Traded: OF Matt Joyce

Got: RHP Kevin Jepsen

July 2015, with Twins

Traded: Jepsen

Got: RHP Chih-Wei Hu and RHP Alexis Tapia

Analysis: Getting Jepsen seemed like a decent return for Joyce, who was coming off a poor season and due to make nearly $5 million, and was even worse for the Angels (though is really good this year in Pittsburgh). Trading Jepsen for two low-level prospects when the Rays were still in the wild-card race didn't go over well in the clubhouse at the time. But Hu has turned into a potential quality starter, excelling at Double-A Montgomery and wowing scouts in the All-Star Futures Game, and he could prove to be worth much more over the years than the other two months of Jepsen. (Plus, the Rays now have Jepsen back as he was released by the Twins.)

Yo, Zo ...

January 2015, with A's

Traded: INF Yunel Escobar, INF/OF Ben Zobrist

Got: DH John Jaso, OF Boog Powell, SS Daniel Robertson

Analysis: Figuring they wouldn't re-sign Zobrist after the season (he got $56 million over four years) and not wanting to gamble on his value by waiting until the trade deadline, Silverman made a preemptive strike and got to dump Escobar in the process. But Jaso missed much of the year with injury and was let go after one year as a free agent, and Powell was traded, ahead of his second PEDs suspension. So the scale depends on Robertson, who is having an okay first season at Triple A but is behind Willy Adames on the shortstop prospect tier.

Seeking offense

November 2015, with Mariners

Traded: RHP Nathan Karns, OF Boog Powell, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser

Got: RHP Danny Farquhar, SS Brad Miller, 1B Logan Morrison

Analysis: Kind of a classic Rays move, selling a bit high on Karns, who wasn't going to fit in their plans anyway, and taking a flyer on two players with flaws — Miller and Morrison — in hopes they hit it big and boost the offense. With Karns being demoted to the Seattle bullpen, the Rays probably "won" the trade. But if Miller doesn't stay at shortstop, his impact is diminished, and if Morrison is one-and-done as a pending free agent, did they really? Farquhar hasn't done much to impact the conversation.

Seeking offense, part II

January 2016, with Rockies

Traded: RHP German Marquez, LHP Jake McGee

Got: OF Corey Dickerson, INF Kevin Padlo

Analysis: Taking McGee out of the bullpen hurt, even more so with Brad Boxberger injured, but in Dickerson they saw the chance to add an impact power bat at low cost. Basically it was a matter of dollars and sense, swapping two years of McGee at high expense ($4.8M this year) and injury risk (one DL stint this year) for four years of Dickerson, starting cheap (arbitration eligible for the first time in 2017). Both minor-leaguers have done okay, Marquez is more advanced.

Other deals

November 2014: Traded LHP Cesar Ramos to Angels for minor-league RHP Mark Sappington

November 2014: Traded LHP Adam Liberatore and RHP Joel Peralta to Dodgers for RHP Jose Dominguez and minor-league RHP Greg Harris

December 2014: Traded INF Sean Rodriguez to Pirates for minor-league RHP Buddy Borden

March 2015: Traded LHP Mike Montgomery to Mariners for RHP Erasmo Ramirez

April 2015: Got LHP Xavier Cedeno from Dodgers for cash

June 2015: Traded minor-league RHP Kyle Winkler to Angels for 1B Marc Krauss

July 2015: Traded OF David DeJesus to Angels for minor-league RHP Eduar Lopez

December 2015: Got C Hank Conger from Astros for cash

June 2016: Got OF Oswaldo Arcia from Twins for cash

Analysis: Liberatore, somewhat surprisingly, looks to be the one that got away, as he has turned out to be pretty good. Ramirez and Cedeno have been strong low-cost additions, Arcia has a chance to be.

Short stops

• The Rays don't seem to have any real interest in trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria. But if they eventually do, one thing to keep in mind is that in April 2018 he gets 10-and-5 rights (10 years in the majors, 5 with same team), which means he essentially gets a no-trade clause.

• Of all the teams heavily scouting the Rays starters, including RHP Chris Archer, the most intriguing could be the Pirates, who have the depth — and possibly the desperation — to make a huge deal. Also, the Astros.

Rays rumblings

So how does a hyperactive Kevin Kiermaier try to pass the time during seven weeks on the DL? Netflix and saltwater fishing. … Given he has only five at-bats in the past 12 games (through Friday), why exactly is INF Tim Beckham on the roster? … The Rays ended up signing 30 of their 41 draft picks, with 11th-round LHP Zach Thompson the highest to get away. … Promoting 2014 first-round pick 1B Casey Gillaspie to Triple A last week is another sign of a more aggressive posture under Matt Silverman's regime, and it cuts into playing time for Richie Shaffer, already having a down year. … SS Willy Adames was 28th on ESPN's Keith Law's midseason revise of the game's top 50 prospects.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow @ TBTimes_Rays.

For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

UPDATE, 2:38: Clarifying what was a communication error with the team PR staff, Rays manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell was slated for an extra day's rest all along and will face the Nationals on Monday not the Yankees on Sunday. The Rays will u...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Besides the continual evolution of their intriguing pitching plan, the primary topics of conversation for the Rays over the next several weeks will be trades and prospects. And not mutually exclusively.Some sooner than others, the Rays are going to c...
Updated: 4 hours ago
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 ...
Published: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/22/18
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...
Published: 06/22/18
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