Rays Tales: Current Rays' trade stories

A call to Erasmo Ramirez made him worry that he’d overslept.
A call to Erasmo Ramirez made him worry that he’d overslept.
Published July 24, 2016

Trades are hot topics right now, with Rays at the center of myriad rumors. When the deals are made, the focus is usually on how it impacts the teams — how much better off one is for whom it added or how much worse off the other is for whom it gave up. Lost in the stats and the projections and the analysis is the impact on the individual players, starting from the moment they get the call — or sometimes before. Of the 25 Rays on the active roster, 15 have been traded at some point. Here are the stories of how some found out they were on the move:

OF Steven Souza Jr.

From: Nationals to Rays, Dec. 19, 2014

For: RHP Joe Ross, INF Trea Turner as part of 3-team, 11-player deal

Souza got word of his trade in a rather interesting place — while in an MRI tube. Essentially, anyway. Having just attended the Nats' FanFest, he stayed over in Washington for the team doctor to check out his left knee, with plans for an MRI exam then a PRP injection. "They pulled me out and the doctor said your knee looks great and this (shot) will help, but we're not going to do it," Souza recalled. "And I said, 'Wait, if it's going to help, why aren't we going to do it?' He said, 'I don't pull the strings, I don't know what's going on, but we're going to send you back to the hotel and we'll see what happens.' " Souza got in a cab then got a text from Fox Sports know-it-all Ken Rosenthal, asking if he was part of a rumored big deal, which just increased the mystery — and his anxiety. "So I called my agent and asked if he knew what the heck was going on," Souza said. "I ended up sitting in my hotel room, alone, for like six hours waiting to hear something — someone to text me, something on MLB Network, my agent to find out. It was insane. A nuts day." Eventually, he got word — and the next day, with the Rays' approval, the shot.

C Curt Casali

From: Tigers to Rays, March 25, 2013

For: LHP Kyle Lobstein

Casali was a third-year minor-leaguer in spring training camp with the Tigers in Lakeland, minutes away from playing in a late March Class A game. "I had just warmed up the pitcher and was about to go through the dugout to take the field when the player development guy came up to me and said you're not playing today," Casali said. "I said, 'Why?' and he said, 'We just traded you to Tampa Bay,' and I go, 'What?' " Casali was told the deal wasn't official yet, so to take off his gear and watch the game. "So a half-hour later I was sitting on the bench and they're like, Okay, we traded you. So I went inside, started packing my stuff, got a call from (Rays farm director) Mitch Lukevics and the next morning at 9 a.m. I was in a Rays jersey in Port Charlotte."

OF Brandon Guyer

From: Cubs to Rays, Jan. 8, 2011

For: RHP Matt Garza as part of an eight-player deal, with RHP Chris Archer

Guyer was driving to a morning workout near his home in Rockville, Md., with a few important things on his mind, like his wedding the next weekend to TV sports reporter/anchor Lindsay Murphy. Then his phone rang with the news of the deal — and the added instruction that he had to fly to Tampa the next day for a physical. "I got to the facility and I still wanted to get my work in, but it was so crazy to me I didn't even do anything, I just went back home," he said. "It was just nuts."

RHP Erasmo Ramirez

From: Mariners to Rays, March 31, 2015

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For: LHP Mike Montgomery

Ramirez was taking his usual spring training late afternoon nap in a Phoenix-area hotel when his ringing phone startled him. Seeing from the number that it was a Mariners person calling and that the clock read 7-something, he initially panicked that he had slept through 'til the next morning. "I thought I was late to practice — I went, 'Oh, my God,' " he said. "Then I realized that didn't make any sense." He answered the call, found out he'd been dealt and had to be on a flight the next morning. "I said, 'Okay, thank you,' " Ramirez said. "They just gave me time to go in the morning and pick up my stuff and show up in Tampa. It was quick, less than 24 hours."

LHP Drew Smyly

From: Tigers to Rays, July 31, 2014

For: LHP David Price, as part of a three-team, five-player deal

Smyly had just come out of a game against the White Sox at Comerica Park, allowing four runs on 11 hits over five innings, and was still in uniform in the clubhouse when then-Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski came to the clubhouse to tell him. "I'd been in there for like an inning," Smyly said. "It was a shock. I went into that game with no idea I was even a potential target, and I came out of it on a different team. It was weird. I had to clear my locker out before the day ended."

SS Brad Miller

From: Mariners to Rays, Nov. 5, 2015

For: RHP Nathan Karns, as part of a six-player deal

Miller was on a plane about to fly from Orlando to Greenville, S.C., to cheer on his Clemson football team against FSU when he saw that he had a voice mail and a text from a Mariners official asking him to call. With the flight attendant standing in the aisle, Miller was a good passenger and turned off his phone, not thinking much of it again until they landed. "The second the wheels hit I turned on my phone like I always do, and there was a long voice mail from my agent," Miller said. "That was strange. And then he called me again, and he's like, 'You're on the Tampa Bay Rays, baby.' " Miller then called the Mariners back, talked to the Rays officials then called his college buddy, and now new teammate, Richie Shaffer. He then got to enjoy the game even more.

RHP Chris Archer

From: Cubs to Rays, Jan. 8, 2011

For: RHP Matt Garza as part of an eight-player deal, with OF Brandon Guyer

Having been dealt as a young Class A pitcher from the Indians to the Cubs in a Dec. 31, 2008, Happy New Year deal, Archer knew how unpredictable the business can be. But he still was caught off guard the next time, as he was invited to the MLB rookie symposium near Washington as one of the Cubs' top prospects. "We were doing stuff as a team and in groups and I looked at my phone and I had like nine missed calls from (then-Cubs farm director) Oneri Fleita, and I'm like, this isn't normal," Archer said. "Now if Matt (Silverman, the Rays baseball operations president) called me I wouldn't think I was getting traded because we talk on a regular basis, but back then you didn't talk to the farm director or the GM, so if you got a call you knew it was serious." Archer actually switched teams there and spent the rest of the days with the Rays group, then had to fly to Tampa the next day for an MRI exam and a physical to make the deal official. "It was crazy," Archer said.

Rays rumblings

Given the ongoing rumors, it should be quite an interesting scene — assuming no deals are made before then — with RHP Chris Archer and LHP Matt Moore pitching Tuesday and Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. … Good to see former Rays OF Sam Fuld, who is with the A's rehabbing from shoulder surgery, hoping to be ready to play somewhere by next opening day. … First-pitch temperature was 91 on Wednesday in Denver, 66 on Thursday in Oakland. … One Rays connection to today's Hall of Fame inductees is that Mike Piazza's dad, Vince, was a member of Vince Naimoli's ownership group but was forced out before the team was awarded. Another was rumored talks of Ken Griffey Jr. joining the Rays at the tail end of his career since it would be close to his Orlando-area home and he could helicopter over.