A couple of weeks ago we commented on the recent trade rumors involving Carl Crawford. At the time we talked at length about why it might be a very beneficial to trade a player that is young (24), signed through 2010 at a reasonable rate, and a future All-Star. In short, the Devil Rays do not have a more valuable piece (other than Scott Kazmir) at a position that could potentially be filled from within. A player like C. C. would command a hefty price on the trading market. The main team said to have inquired about C. C. is the Anaheim Los Angeles Angels (with Detroit and Colorado also rumored). The proposal involved Ervin Santana, one of the best young pitchers in the American League and possibly one or two minor league prospects.
What we did not say at the time and we should have made clear, is that while we understand the reasoning behind trading Crawford, we think the chance of Crawford being moved before the trading deadline is highly unlikely. In fact there is a better chance of the Devil Rays rehiring Chuck LaMar . We would be shocked if Crawford is not playing for Tampa Bay for the next four or five years. There are several reasons for this…
1. The Devil Rays have a plan. That plan is the same for most small-market teams. Develop young talent and then lock them up to long-term deals that span their arbitration years and their first few years of free agency. It benefits the player who may only be making the major league minimum their first few years, and benefits the team with below market salaries later in the contract if the player turns into a stud. In this case, Crawford fits that mold perfectly and it would not make sense for the Devil Rays to trade him.
2. The recent troubles of minor league prospects Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes as well as the recent trade sending Joey Gathright to the Royals, shows that the teams depth at outfield may not be what many thought it was.
3. This is the most important point…What exactly would C. C. command in a trade? Presumably Ervin Santana and a couple of minor leaguers was not enough and it probably should not be. So if the team was to trade Crawford, what would it take to pry him off the hands of Tampa? A couple of names come to mind…Dontrelle Willis and C. C. Sabathia (C. C. for C. C.?). This is not to say that the Marlins or Indians have any interest in Crawford, but this is the type of player that it would take, and we just can’t see a trade like that happening. It would take a young pitcher that has already proved it at the major league level with the potential to be an All-Star year-in and year-out. Those type of trades don’t happen very often. The Mets have been trying to trade for Barry Zito for two years.
While trade rumors and proposals are floating around in the Blogosphere, we hope and expect them to experience the same fate of most rumors…a quick and painless death, while #13 continues to roam the left field of the Trop and cause havoc on the basepaths.