hangoverFor all we know, this blogger’s source is the neighbor’s dog named Harvey (don’t worry, we are too young to get that reference either). But supposedly the Rays and Giants are having serious discussions that would send Carl Crawford to the Giants for a minor league pitcher.

But not just any prospect. This would be Madison Bumgarner, a 6’4″ lefty, that is only 19 years old and is a combined 9-2 with a 1.66 ERA between high-A and double-A this season. The same pitcher that was ranked by Baseball America as the 9th best prospect in all of baseball before the season.

The Pros: The Rays are $15-20 million over the 2010 payroll and moving CC and his $10.125 million ’10 option would go a long ways towards keeping the rest of the team intact. Also consider that the Rays have Matt Joyce toiling in triple-A and the Gabe-O’-the-Day platoon in right field has proven to be more than adequate. On top of that, Aki Iwamura is due back in a couple of weeks and Ben Zobrist may need a new home. Could that new home be left field?

The Cons: More than likely, the deal has to be made now. The Giants are not making this deal after the season. On the other hand, the Rays are still a contender this season and no matter how you slice it, the Rays are a better team with Crawford than without.

The Verdict: We see these “rumors” a lot and we ignore most of them, and this one probably falls in the BS pile also. But this rumor brings up an interesting question: Would the Rays being willing to sacrifice a couple of wins this season (see comments) for the possibility of improving the ballclub over the next few years?

And if the Rays are willing to move CC now, this particular trade scenario has Andrew Friedman written all over it. Trading an expensive contract a year too soon, as opposed to a year too late, for a top pitching prospect? If the Rays have a philosophy, it is that you can never have too much cheap, young talent and you can never have too much pitching.

If this deal is indeed on the table (probably not), the Rays need to seriously consider it, even if it risks weakening the Rays for the next two months.

Giants In Trade Talks With the…D-Rays? [The Bay Area Sports Machine]

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34 Comments

  1. Sky says:

    Bumgarner moved up to fifth in BA's recent mid-season rankings.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=5456

    This deal is pretty even in terms of expected future value. But what makes it a smart move for the Rays is how much of CC's production they could make up with Joyce or Aki replacing him in the lineup. CC's maybe 5 WAR over a full season while Aki or Joyce would be 3 WAR. That's 2 wins over a full season or 1 the rest of the way. Small sacrifice for one of the top pitching prospects in the game. I mean, he's rated closer to David Price than Wade Davis.

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    • theraysparty says:

      That what makes a trade like this so hard. Future value is important for the Rays but when the trade sends away great present value when a you are out 3 games behind the Wild Card.

      Then maybe the Rays could decide whether they want guys like Bumgarner or roll the dice with a couple of picks in 2010 or 2011.

      This rumor sounds weak without a decent impact position player in it.

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  2. Joel says:

    It pains me to even think about it, but trading Crawford at some point between now and next year's trade deadline makes sense for all the reasons you listed (mostly the $$$). The point is that if the Rays decide to keep CC, a lot of OTHER things will need to happen to keep the team remotely close to their budget.

    But here's the thing - the longer CC plays here, the more popular he becomes. As much money as CC would cost payroll-wise, his popularity also equals money for the team. Fortunately we have some pretty financially savvy execs, because they'll have a serious cost analysis on their hands with Crawford.

    The hardest part about this and any contract situation with our players: a trade is infinitely better for the team than losing a guy for nothing in free agency, but from a fan's perspective the trade is almost always much worse. If the Rays lose Crawford to free agency, people will be upset; but it could be seen as "Oh well, ______ had more money than the Rays, it's the business of being a small-market team." If the team trades Crawford (or any popular player) it's almost seen as a betrayal. It gets worse if we trade Crawford for a young guy who could take a year or two to demonstrate their full abilities.

    In other words, take people's reaction to the Jackson/Joyce trade, but amplify it by making Jackson a very productive, popular player. That'll be a PR nightmare.

    I personally think keeping Crawford and making the money work elsewhere would make a lot more sense. I'd say the only other player who could top CC for the combination of performance, potential and popularity is Longo.

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    • Sublime says:

      I think the PR of this would be a plain nightmare! I think the scenario you used with EJ and Joyce is right on the head, and like you mentioned, expanded it 100x! If they do make the move, this kid better be the next coming of Bob Gibson!

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  3. Possum Avenger says:

    I would prefer Posey.

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  4. Rome says:

    No, this is crap. I read somethign similar on Draysbay.com. It's crap. The Rays should keep CC until CC chooses not to be a Ray. He help keep this team a subject when no one cared.

    If the Rays were not in a playoff race, I would listen to the talk, but the Rays are in a race and need CC to try to win the East!

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    • zenny says:

      This.

      The new-found credibility of the organization would crumble if the Face of the Franchise is traded for a prospect, no matter how promising. PR suicide, imo.

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  5. 9equals8.com says:

    I think this trade would be interesting and the comment about never having too much top notch pitching is spot on. But, I think Carl's fate lies much more in the outcome of the 10-game road trip that starts today. If the Rays find a way to make this a 6-4 trip (or better), Carl stays. But, if the Rays go into the NY Yankees series more than 4-5 games out of the wild card (not to mention how far that would mean we are back from the AL East title), I think you might see the Rays deal Carl. I would hate to see him go as much as anyone, but this is the reality of sub-2,000,000 attendance and being in a small market. For the record, I am one of the biggest CC fans out there, but this is a logical thing for the club to be considering. Just don't do it if the Rays are in contention after this road trip!!!

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  6. Luby says:

    NOOOOOOOO not the D-Rays Chist Child!!!

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  7. Don says:

    THink its funny..another example of trading a top player for a "prospect"...
    Learned nothing from EJ trade?...IF they do the cellar would be a good spot for their finish....many fans would be done!

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    • Cougar Bait says:

      If you know anything about baseball, then you would understand that the term "prospect" does not mean the player will come in and preform at an all-star level after 6 months. Joyce has been on the team for maybe 3 weeks total all season, there is no way to judge this trade fairly right now, maybe re-evaluate this deal in a year.

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  8. Pudieron says:

    I really, really don't want to see CC go, but if we aren't in contention it might just be reality. As the longest tenured and (debatably) most productive [Devil] Ray over the years, it would be sad to see a guy who did so much for this franchise be forced out because of salary issues, especially when he deserves every penny he makes. But we have to accept that Sternberg will pay what he chooses until more fans come to games on a consistent basis.

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  9. Thrill says:

    Did anyone else notice Silverman pumping up Crawford after ASG? I can count on one hand comments from Silverman on players during the season. Could be management pumping trade value?

    I think there are legs to this rumor (or at least mgmt willingness to move CC), but only if Rays stumble out of the gate, go 2-8 on this road trip, while Spanks and Sox stay hot, and Rays tumble to 10-12 games out by trade deadline. If they stay within reasonable reach in race I don't think they can risk the blow to team chemistry or fan outrage by trading CC, even tho it's prob best for team in long run.

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  10. Joel says:

    I forgot to mention this in my earlier rambling comment:

    1. I think the rumor is crap or at least half-crap - it's possible the Rays and Giants are talking, but I doubt it's an any-day-now situation.

    2. I think we'd have to suffer a disaster of epic proportions for the Rays to trade Crawford before July 31. Joyce is clearly not ready to be an everyday guy, Aki's return is still way up in the air, Fernando Perez is even more up in the air - no team in playoff contention would make that move with those backup options. So as long as the Rays are in contention - hopefully the rest of the season - I can't see them trading the stolen base leader in baseball, especially for a guy who may not even see action until at least September.

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    • Charles says:

      Gross & Kapler have both played enough left in their careers that they could probably be considered backup plans as well. Clearly they're not going to produce like Crawford, but they can play the position.

      And obviously Pat Burrell has also stood in left field (big emphasis on stood).

      Anyway, there are definitely options. I could see them trying Gross in left, Zobrist in right and either Aki or Reid Brignac at second. I don't think figuring out who the left fielder will be would keep them from making a deal like this.

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  11. joebucsfan says:

    A prospect for Crawford? No way. ... Just an idea. Have Sternberg and company get in the playoffs again, increase payroll again, and find a better way to squeeze the locals for a stadium. Not buying that they don't have the money to do it.

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  12. Jason W says:

    This would be horrible.Why cant Crawford just stay with the Rays whats with all the trade talks?If they seriously trade him I think I might stop watching them.And we would get what?A top lefty.Last I checked our Org. is not good with lefties when they reach the majors.They become wild wth their Fastballs and walk to many(site Kazmir and Price even though Price is still a rookie).Anyways if they get Bumgarner we probaly wont see him in the majors until he is 24.They work that slow.well now at least

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  13. Brian says:

    CC deserves everything he can get from the Rays. CC was playing hard when this team was complete BS. He has heart and there is no ceiling to his talent. Do not trade CC for an unproven prospect. How about unloading Pat the Bat before CC. That would go a long way to balancing the budget. Has anyone else looked at Adam Dunn's production this year? We could have signed him instead of Pat and probably paid him less.

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    • KillaTapes says:

      Pat's heating up though, I think he'll be as Maddon puts it, "Toasty" through the rest of the season. I hope so anyway.

      Either way, I do think the organization owes it to Carl to at least try to work something out. Like many have stated, he did play his heart out when this team had no heart.

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  14. Dirtbag Fan says:

    Here's the reality of the situation:
    Crawford will be traded before next season starts. Point finale. You can't look at the situation from a sentimental standpoint like ppl did with Baldelli.

    If the Rays were to keep CC next season at 10M then you can start kissing a host of talent goodbye as they get shipped out of town to make room on the payroll sheets.

    CC was the heart of the franchise for a long time and deserves a ton of credit and admiration, but lets face it- he's a slightly above average LF-er with a below average arm and an average bat.
    Before you get all huffy and start penning an angry response remember I respect CC as much as anyone else does, but if you were to eliminate names from the equation and just say hypothetically:

    Player A is a near 30 left fielder with great wheels, an okay arm, a decent bat, but who refuses to lead-off, and is due a ton of money and we're thinking about trading him for Player B; a young, highly-regarded, big, left-handed pitching prospect...

    then I can guarantee that if you're a reasonable person your response would be... give me player B and do it on the double!

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    • KillaTapes says:

      That's a good way of putting it, leaving emotion and nostalgia out of the equation.

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      • zenny says:

        You can't possibly compare CC to Baldelli, who can pull a muscle brushing his teeth and thus was totally undependable as a backup, much less as a starter. Clearly, he had no place on the team, and he was owed millions. Letting him go was a no-brainer.

        On the other hand, Crawford is one of the best LF in the game, especially with his newfound patience at the plate. Totally different player, totally different situation.

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        • KillaTapes says:

          I was simply backing the notion that looking at it as Player A and Player B is a good way to put it. We did have a lot of nostalgia for Rocco, and we do have those same feelings with CC. It will be sad to see him go, but you can't attach feelings when you're trying to better the team the best way possible while on a small market budget.

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          • Gus says:

            A few reasons why trading CC as he is in his prime is ridiculous. First off, the question is whether he's a $10M player next year. I think the answer is clearly yes. He's under-value there. Second, this is your window (2008-2011) to win(remember that 2009 was the "target year" management had all along); trading a key player and the clubhouse leader for future value undermines your entire theory. Third, Crawford doesn't want to go. Fourth, it is bad business. For a team struggling to convince people to invest with them, trading the franchise cornerstone would be akin to the Bucs letting Doug Williams go. It tells your customers you are not serious.

            He's not going anywhere. Unlike Rocco, his best is still out there to come. Just enjoy him Rays fans; we've been told for too long what he isn't. You see this season what he is -- premier fielder; awesome baserunner, good hitter -- there are few people like him.

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          • I dontthink anybody is arguing with your points. But you are missing the big issue. Unless the Rays start selling out every game therest of the way, this team needs to cut about $15-20 million in payroll before next season. How do you propose they do that? Trade Kaz and Burrell? Who wants them and who is giving the Rays anything in return?

            And the one point i think the Rays would argue is that this isn't their only chance to win. All of these moves are made to keep the window open indefinitely.

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          • Gus says:

            The Rays fans have such insecurity. First off, why are we convinced that Stu will cut payroll? He is, by all accounts, a very wealthy man with a taste for winning. He's not cutting off his nose to spite his face. At the current payroll, the Rays are still very profitable, especially if they can add some playoff revenue (which more than the $1M per game, turns into more season tickets the following year). Moreover, if they really needed to dump salary (and I strongly believe the do not need to), they can do so by trades of other players (somebody will absolutely take Kazmir off your hands, and Burrell maybe if you sweeten the pot with a prospect). For years guys have been coming to take CC's spot -- Gathright, then Perez, now Jennings. But just because you are fast doesn't mean you are the player that CC is. I trust the guys in the suits have this figured out. Even worst case they let CC play out 2010, they get picks for him and (most importantly) his 29 year old season. They will be susbstantially better off if they have him in 2010 than if they don't.

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          • When I interviewed Sternberg, I asked him if the team could maintain a $60m payroll every year. Stu said:

            "Viable , yes, consistently successful, no. 60 million, and we are stretching it quite a bit here this year cannot do it on a consistent basis"

            and that was $60m. The payroll right now projects at $77m. On top of that Sternberg has said publicly that the team had to borrow from future payrolls just to reach $60m this season. This team has a budget and it is not a bottomless one.

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          • Gus says:

            I view his statements as those of somebody who is goosing the public a bit, trying to shame the locals into supporting the team, etc. Sports owners do use the sports media sometimes and have been known to puff about the extent of their "losses". It is a time-honored tradition.

            Consider, if he said the team was in great financial shape because of its low payroll (still bottom third I think), favorable lease, increasing attendance, its ability to collect revenue sharing from the big market teams, its increasing tv ratings, and low # of long-term dead money contracts, it makes his case to get a new stadium deal even harder. He has to poor mouth if he wants a new stadium. And he may even poor mouth to the detriment of his team (if Michael Kalt had his way, he's strip the team bare like the Pirates and file bankruptcy). But I think Stu is better than that, and he won't ship our first home-grown 3,000 hit player away because the front office made a mistake with Burrell. But who knows? The other issue is that the team is still in a general partnership and even though Stu is managing general partner, if he gets on the wrong side of the budget too far he has to go get capital from his limited partners (Vince!), and I don't think it is soley his call right now.

            He may need to cut payroll in a few places, but it is not CC because to do so decreases the value of his asset. And he's not that stupid (I think!).

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          • Dirtbag Fan says:

            Okay- its been all but decided that payroll needs to be cut for 2010, and you want to keep a Crawford, so like Prof said earlier: show me where the cuts are coming from.

            Perez, Zobrist, Jennings, Joyce... all viable stop-gaps in LF.

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          • I say that Burrell, as much as I like him as a fit on this team--and I think his performance will be on the upswing in the second half--can go. Also, Bartlett. I know he is having a career year, but is it a fluke? We have Brignac who is ready to go, and Beckham in the waiting wings. That does away with some payroll there. How about trade Aki? I know he is hurt, but having him on the team doesnt do for us with the international market, what having Ichiro does for the Mariners. Plus, Zobrist is KILLING it. Way better offensive numbers than Iwamura. Yes, Aki is hurt now, but when hes healthy, I can think of a few teams with larger payrolls who would love him.

            Thoughts gang?

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        • Dirtbag Fan says:

          umm.. I was obviously not comparing the 2 players- i was comparing the fans' sentiments toward their "favorite sons".

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  15. Toby says:

    Lets face facts people, not cotton candy, fairy tale dreams. If CC hits free agency, he will get $13-15 million per year for 5-6 seasons. The Rays simply cant match that offer, and with Desmond Jennings, Joyce, and Zobrist all capable of playing a corner OF position for under $1 million, why would they want to match that offer.

    We all love CC. He is the face of this franchise. Longo is the new kid on the block, but CC is old school Ray. But lets again face facts.... the Rays are competing against the Red Sox and Yankees(and the Blue Jays and Orioles are going to keep getting better) and in order to compete long term, they need to have a number of cost controlled players.

    As much as I love CC, if Baumgardner is offered, I jump on that deal if my scouts think he'll continue to perform and stay healthy. CC is not going to resign with the Rays. It would be an absolute shock if he did.

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  16. I just don't see this happening. We are packed full of arms in the minors, and have a good, affordable rotation now, that hopefully we can keep together for a few more years.

    Crawford will be in the HOF one day if he keeps batting .300 and swiping bases like he does.

    I just don't see the sense in moving a potential HOF talent in the outfield for a pitcher who with one bad throw leading to an injury, and his career is done.

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  17. Calzone says:

    Can somebody tell me what Rayshead means?

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