Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’
Ever since the offseason began, there has been a big discussion surrounding the Rays on whether they would trade their surplus of pitching for a bat. The Rays have been looking to trade a starter for a while now, but apparently haven’t found a deal.
During the winter, the Rays really had three roster holes they needed to fill; catcher, first base and DH. Somewhat surprisingly, they turned to the free agent market for their needs. The Rays snagged veteran backstop Jose Molina, signed left-handed slugger Luke Scott to be their DH and brought back first baseman Carlos Pena.
The front office got the job done, but were there better options on the trade market?
The fact is that the Rays have eight legitimate starters for 2012, and probably more in 2013. James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Alex Torres and Alex Cobb could all make an Opening Day MLB rotation on most other teams, while prospect Chris Archer will definitely be in that mix soon. The Rays offense is weaker than their outstanding starting pitching, so it would make a lot of sense to trade at least one starter for a hitter when you have three ‘extra’ starters.
The Rays clearly possess the necessary pieces in order to construct a deal, but who could they have traded for during the offseason. Three names immediately come to mind: first baseman/outfielder Yonder Alonso, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and catcher Yasmani Grandal. The two best prospect first basemen in all of baseball and a top prospect catcher were all traded this winter on deals the Rays could of very easily made.
In the deal that sent Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal to the Padres, San Diego only gave up their No.1 starter (Mat Latos) in exchange for both of them and two more arms (Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger) from Cincinnati. With the starting pitching the Rays have, there were plenty of ways the Rays could have traded for both Alonso and Grandal if the Reds were looking for just one good arm to add to their rotation.
As for Anthony Rizzo, he was traded to the Cubs in exchange for minor league pitcher Andrew Cashner. Looking at who Chicago gave away for Rizzo, there’s absolutely no way that Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, or Alex Torres could not bring this future star first-baseman to Tampa Bay.
This trio’s big bats seem like they would have been a perfect addition to the Rays’ roster, but how would they actually fit on the team? If Luke Scott and Carlos Pena were never signed, we can assume that Alonso and Rizzo would be able to play DH and first base for the 2012 season. With Rizzo being the better defensive first baseman, he would likely man first while Alonso would be the DH.
As for Yasmani Grandal, he would be the backup catcher behind Molina and would get a significant amount of playing time. Looking at the Rays’ catching situation behind Molina, they probably wish they had him now.
The Rays would obviously have to choose either the Rizzo/Alonso combination or the Pena/Scott combination (or possibly a mixture), so which would be the better decision? There are plus sides and negative sides to both decisions. With the Scott/Pena combo (which is having a great start to the season by the way) the Rays have now, there is a bit of a long-term concern. Pena will be a free agent after the 2012 season, and Scott will be a free agent in 2013.
If the Rays signed both Alonso and Rizzo to long-term deals, they would have better security at the DH and first base positions. We know how Andrew Friedman loves to lock up young talented players long-term, which is the main reason why I think this would have been a good deal for the Rays. However, I believe that the Rays’ offense may be a bit better short-term with Scott and Pena in the roster.
It’s too early in the season to say anything for sure, but Scott and Pena have much more experience and have proven what they can do at the big league level. The short-term aspect is why I think the Rays chose Scott and Pena. They’ve made it very clear they’re going for it all this season.
What I find the most surprising in the Rays’ search to trade a starter is that they still haven’t made a deal to bring in a catcher to backup Molina. Not surprisingly, the Rays are still searching for a backup catcher. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Tampa has been pushing to acquire Oakland’s Kurt Suzuki, but Billy Beane isn’t very interested in Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis.
The Rays will most likely sign somebody eventually, but it may not be via trade. Ivan Rodriguez is one free agent catcher that the Rays pursue. If the Rays don’t decide to turn to free agency for their catching needs, who could they trade for?
Ryan Hanigan and Travis D’Arnaud could be two future possibilities. Hanigan—who the Rays have already discussed acquiring—has a questionable future in Cincinnati because of the emergence of top prospect catcher Devin Mesoraco. D’Arnaud—who’s also a top prospect catcher—may not have a future in Toronto because J.P Arencibia, who has established himself as the team’s starting catcher there. The Blue Jays have already discussed trading him, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rays go after him.
The Rays have waited to find the right deal to trade some of their young pitching talent, but I think they’ll find some better opportunities as the trade deadline nears. It’s still too early in the season to conclude that the Rays have been over-hesitant to trade away their pitching surplus. What matters is what the front office decides to do in the future, and I think we’ll see the trade many have been anticipating once the deadline arrives.
For small-market teams in Major League Baseball, most offseason wishes are not a reality. Though there are some players out there that the Rays may be able to afford. With pitchers such as Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann possible trade pieces, the trade market could be the key for the Rays to pick up some hitting. Names that maybe were on the Rays’ radar before are slipping away as the offseason progresses. Carlos Beltran just recently signed with the Cardinals, and others like Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer have also found a team. However, what the Rays need is just one or two good hitters to really bolster their struggling offense. The Rays haven’t found that bat yet, but there are still a few intriguing options out there for them. Take a look at some players the Rays would love to reel in this winter.
Colorado Rockies’ Seth Smith is the newest member of Rays trade rumors. A report from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi says that the Rays are one of five teams interested in the 29 year-old outfielder. Smith is a solid hitter, who batted .284 and knocked in a career high 59 runs last year. Smith wouldn’t be the guy to fill in the empty DH spot, but he would help out the outfield depth chart. What makes the Seth Smith rumors most interesting, is that there is pretty good odds the Rays will land a deal with him. According to the Denver Post, the Rockies are interested in Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann. Colorado is seeking a No.3-type starter to fill in the rotation, making Davis and Niemann raise eyebrows in Denver. So to recap it all, it’s not a bad chance that Smith plays for the Rays in 2012.
The Rays could get pretty serious about getting prospect first-baseman Anthony Rizzo. After the five-player swap earlier this week, including Yonder Alonso being traded to San Diego, Rizzo immediately hit trade rumors. Sources say that the Cubs and Rays are two teams interested in Rizzo. With the Rays in need of a first baseman, it’s no surprised that they have already asked about Rizzo. I believe that he’s a player that the Rays really need to pick up this offseason. Rizzo played his first season in AAA last year, and put up ridiculous numbers. He exploded in Tucson, batting .331 and hitting 101 RBI’s in just 93 games. He also blasted 26 homers, displaying his terrific power. Rizzo is a guy with a great future in the big leagues, and somebody that would be great to have in the middle of the lineup complementing Longoria and Zobrist. The Padres would be looking for starting pitching in return for Rizzo, so Wade Davis could be used as trade bait. Unfortunately for the Rays, it appears that the Padres and Cubs are checking out a possible trade scenario including sending Matt Garza to San Diego. The Cubs are currently the only competition to get Rizzo, but they are a big obstacle.
Carlos Pena could be a free agent that interests the Rays in the upcoming month. Pena had success in his seasons with the Rays, and there is a possibility they bring him back. Pena batted .225 last year with the Cubs, hitting 28 homers and 80 RBI’s. With his big-time power and terrific defense, Pena could be a perfect fit to replace Casey Kotchman in 2012. The main problem though, is that he’ll probably be looking for a rather expensive multi-year deal. Pena’s agent Scott Boras said that Pena is likely not going to come a bargain price. That means that the odds signing Pena are pretty low. Anyways, acquiring Anthony Rizzo should be the Rays’ main priority. However, if the Rays can’t get a grip on Rizzo, Pena could definitely be a possibility.
Luke Scott is non-tender option that really opens up the eyes of Rays Republic. According to sources, the Rays are interested in the 33 year-old veteran. It’s not a shocker that Scott attracts the Rays, considering how good of a fit he would be. Scott is a slugging outfielder with power, and he can also fill in at DH and first. Not only would Scott look great on the depth chart, he also provides a big left-handed bat in the middle of the lineup. On top of all this, he’s pretty cheap. Last year Scott battled with injuries throughout the season (which is why he comes at a low price), so he didn’t produce his usual offensive numbers. His injuries are a concern, but he should be able to fix some of the Rays’ offensive issues. The chances of the Rays signing Scott are not exactly great, though. According to a tweet from the Baltimore Sun, a total of ten teams are expressing some interest in his services.
Andrew Bailey reportedly is another reliever in the interest of the Rays. The report also says the that the Red Sox and Rangers are checking out the Athletics’ closer. Bailey, who is a former Rookie of the Year (2009), pitched great seasons out of the bullpen for the A’s in both ’09 and ’10. Last year was a rather disappointing season for Bailey, going 0-4 with a career-worst 3.24 ERA. His mediocre 2011 season is probably what triggered Oakland’s idea to use Bailey as trade bait. Even though the Rays are looking for another reliever to add to the ‘pen, it looks like the possibility of Bailey going to Tampa is very slim. While the A’s were dealing Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals last night, Jim Bowden of ESPN reported that the Red Sox could be making a deal for Bailey. At the end of the day, Andrew Bailey is truly more of a wish than a reality.
Here we are in late December and the Rays still have some work to do for the offseason. With Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon testing free agency, the Rays are in need of a first baseman and a DH. New names have emerged among Hot Stove rumors that the Rays may be interested in to bolster their offense. Of course, the Rays are also in pursuit of help in the bullpen. They have already picked up Burke Badenhop and Josh Lueke via trade, and sources say they are looking for more relief pitching. With the plentiful young talent that the Rays have, the trade market will probably be the way to go this winter. Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, Alex Cobb, and even David Price have spotlighted Rays trade rumors lately. Although the Rays have been quiet in the midst of all the Hot Stove action, it shouldn’t be too long before they strike. When it comes to the offseason, the Rays are silent but deadly.
Star outfielder Carlos Beltran brings some new excitement to Rays rumors. The 34 year-old veteran had another great offensive season last year, and was elected to his sixth All Star Game. Despite battling a nagging knee injury throughout the season, Beltran still managed to hit .300 and knock in over 84 runs. According to the most recent update on Beltran’s status, many teams are interested in getting the free agent. Unfortunately for the Rays, the St. Louis Cardinals continue to show strong interest in Beltran. The Cardinals obviously have more money to spend if they want him, but the Rays are right behind them if they lose interest for some reason.
Anthony Rizzo of the San Diego Padres is another name that has recently headlined Rays rumors. With the recent Reds-Padres blockbuster trade, the Rays have a golden opportunity to snag the minor league first baseman. Yonder Alonso, who was part of past Rays trade rumors himself, was sent to San Diego in a five-player deal. Now that the Padres have Alonso as their first baseman, Rizzo becomes an immediate trade possibility. A recent Tweet from CBS’s John Heyman reported the predictable news; that the Rays and Cubs are both expressing interest in Rizzo. Being a larger-market team and having first base questions themselves, the Cubs could really get in the Rays’ way here. Hopefully, Chicago will find someone else to fill in at first base (maybe Prince Fielder), and the Rays will have their shot at Rizzo. I believe that Rizzo is the guy to get for the Rays this offseason. Although he’s only played one season in triple-A, his terrific stats show he could be ready for big league success. With the Cubs seeking a star first baseman, I think it’s very possible that this deal might work out.
Luke Scott was one of the biggest bats amongst the notable non-tenders. Scott is not really a star-type player, but he can hit. He has power, and has established himself as a consistent 20-homer guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rays aggressively go after Scott this winter. After an underachieving 2011 (mostly because of constant injury problems), Scott will probably not be a hit with the big market teams and won’t be asking for a large salary. A combination of this and his impressive power is what makes him very attractive for the Rays. I definitely would not be shocked if the Rays reel in Scott sometime in the following months.
Joel Zumaya is another player that can’t be scratched off the list just yet. The Rays are looking to get at least one more arm to add to the bullpen, and Zumaya is looking for a job. There’s a chance Zumaya might work out in Tampa Bay. The 27 year-old fireballer has been busy this offseason, throwing in front of hundreds of scouts. The Rays were one team to participate in the Zumaya showcases, a source reported about two weeks ago. The chances of getting Zumaya have gradually decreased as the offseason has progressed, though. The recent injury to Detroit Tigers’ reliever Al Alburquerque, makes Zumaya’s former team a very possible candidate to re-sign him.
Jose Mijares is one non-tendered reliever that may attract the Rays. The 27 year-old left-hander pitched four seasons for the Minnesota Twins, and served as their ‘lefty specialist’ out of the bullpen. The Rays were in need of a lefty for their ‘pen coming into the offseason, but they took some stress off the issue after acquiring Josh Lueke. Still the Rays would like to maybe add another experienced lefty in there for a bargain deal.