Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Trade St. Louis? Revis? Price? What are we thinking?

I swear this has to be the most screwed-up sports market in the country.

Just think about what we are talking about these days.

The Lightning is in line for a playoff spot, but all anyone can talk about is whether it will trade captain and best player ever Marty St. Louis.

The Bucs have a new coach, but the only story that matters is whether they should trade one of their best players, Darrelle Revis.

The Rays have a World Series contender, but the narrative for the past several months has been when — not if, but when — they will trade ace pitcher David Price.

What a joke.

What other city has these soap operas? What other market is so dysfunctional that all it talks about is getting rid of great players instead of bringing them in?

Think they're waking up in Boston this morning and talking about trading Dustin Pedroia and Tom Brady and Zdeno Chara?

I seriously doubt anyone is calling a radio show in New York today and wondering if the Yankees are going to trade Derek Jeter or the Giants are about to cut Eli Manning.

You know what New Yorkers are talking about? How they can get St. Louis. New Englanders are trying to figure out how to snooker the Bucs out of Revis.

And here we are in Tampa Bay, setting up card tables in the driveway to start a giant yard sale of superstars.

If it's not a trade rumor, it's someone asking for a trade. If it's not someone asking for a trade, it's a story about why a trade makes sense.

The whole thing is insane. Aren't you sick of it?

How come we are such small potatoes?

We either don't have enough money or talent or loyalty.

Whatever the case, it's just so darn depressing.

This week Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman announced he will no longer be the executive director of Team Canada. That decision came about two years too late.

Because Yzerman decided to put the interests of Canada ahead of the Lightning's, he left St. Louis off his original Olympic roster and managed to alienate the heart and soul of the Lightning. Nice going. Hope that gold medal was worth it. Now it appears Yzerman's relationship with St. Louis is permanently damaged.

And you know what? I don't blame St. Louis one iota. He has every right to be ticked. And telling him to simply get over it is insulting. Only St. Louis has the right to determine if and when he should get over it. He was the one who got a raw deal.

This is Yzerman's mess, and now he needs to clean it up by either kissing Marty's behind or trading him. Either way, those are not the headlines you want when you're trying to make the playoffs.

As far as the Bucs trading Revis, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard.

This is a team that went 4-12 last year. It needs all the good players it can find, and it's talking about getting rid of perhaps its best player?

On what planet does that make sense?

Yes, Revis makes a lot of money, but that's how sports works. If you want talent, you have to pay for it.

The Bucs have lots of holes, and they could use Revis' salary to fill some of them. The idea is to get rid of one great player and replace him with three good players. But no player the Bucs pick up is going to be as good at his position as Revis is at cornerback. And you know as soon as the Bucs let go of Revis, they would immediately begin looking to replace … Revis. It just feels like filling a hole by digging a hole.

And there's this: Letting Revis go doesn't automatically mean the Bucs would acquire the help they need. There's no guarantee the Bucs could attract attractive free agents. Why not simply keep a player they absolutely know is a superstar?

But trading Revis is a story and a possibility because why? Because the entire pitiful Bucs roster is void of talent.

Finally, it's hard to beat up the Rays for the Price situation. They are limited with their payroll, and unless 800,000 diehard baseball fans with loads of disposable income move to within 10 minutes of Tropicana Field in the next week, payroll will continue to be an issue.

We've been through this before — with Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton and James Shields. Someday we probably will go through it with Wil Myers and Alex Cobb and Desmond Jennings. But even when you think you're numb to it, you can't help but throw up your hands when you realize Price's future salary can never fit into the Rays' payroll and he eventually will wear another team's uniform.

Let me ask you something. Would you go out right now and spend 150 bucks buying an authentic St. Louis sweater or Revis jersey or Price shirt? Of course not.

That's a shame. We should enjoy our stars, not constantly worry about where to forward their mail.

But that's what it means to be a Tampa Bay sports fan.

Most cities define success by winning. Here? Just getting through the day without a trade rumor is a reason for celebration.

   
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