At the trade deadline last season, the Rays came precariously close to striking a deal with the Pirates for Jason Bay. In fact, the deal was so close, that one writer reported that the deal was done. We won’t mention which writer, *cough* Bill Chastain *cough*.
In the end, the Rays did not make a deal, and Bay ended up in Boston as part of a three-team deal that also included Manny Ramirez going to the Dodgers.
Today at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dejan Kovacevic looks back at exactly how the trade came to be. He focuses on the chaotic final seven minutes before the trade deadline, at which point the Rays were no longer involved. But Kovecevic does shed some light on how close the Rays came to striking a deal.
- By July 27, the Rays were one of 5 teams involved in talks.
- On the day of the trade deadline (July 31), the Rays appeared to be the front-runner. Kovacevic notes that “the Pirates’ feeling at times was that they were closer to a single-team trade, notably with the prospect-rich Rays.”
- At 3:40 pm (20 minutes before the deadline), the Pirates had narrowed the field to the Rays and Braves.
- 5 minutes later, the Pirates called the Rays and Braves and asked for specific prospects. In both instances, the Pirates were “summarily rejected.” [Ed. note: At the time, it was believed that the Pirates asked for Reid Brignac and Jeff Niemann, and either one was untouchable or the Rays were unwilling to part with both]
- At that point, the Pirates felt that Bay would not be traded, even discussing the possibility of offering Bay an extension.
- Finally, several calls in the final 7 minutes resurrected the deal with the Dodgers and the Red Sox and the deal was finalized with less than a minute to go before the deadline.
Baseball 2009: Seven minutes that changed the franchise [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]