73394596CC025_Toronto_Blue_A week ago we laughed at the notion that the Rays would be players in the Roy Halladay market. This week we still think it is a long-shot, but we are starting to hear some buzz that the Rays have at least inquired as to what Halladay would cost.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report that the Rays have looked at Halladay, Cliff Lee and others but indicates that they would most likely have to trade away one of their big contracts to make a deal.

The Rays are engaged in a whirlwind of activity, investigating Lee, Halladay and numerous other options — “major, major stuff,” according to one source…Payroll flexibility remains a significant obstacle, and the Rays might need to move left-hander Scott Kazmir or another high-priced player to clear room for a major acquisition…There are no indications, however, that the Rays are discussing trades involving Kazmir, who is earning $6 million this season, $8 million in 2010 and $12 million in ’11 with a $13.5 million or $2.5 million buyout for ’12.

Still seems highly unlikely, and maybe Andrew Friedman is just doing his job by making courtesy calls. Keep in mind that in most of these cases, these teams are trying to shed payroll, so the Rays would seem like a not very good fit, if they are unable to add payroll.

Marc Topkin has some quotes from Joe Maddon on the subject.

Manager Joe Maddon would not discuss specifics, but he didn’t say anything to diminish the possibility Friedman was making inquiries…”He’s got some interesting things out there,” Maddon said. “He and I have talked, and we’ve talked about different things. You know him. He’s always got good ideas, and he’s definitely willing to take the plunge if somebody else is…It’s all good stuff. But like most years, nothing ever happens. So we’ll just see. And if nothing happens, I am fine. I’m good with our group.”

Meanwhile, Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs makes a strong case for the Rays trading for Lee.

Call up Mark Shapiro and blow him away with an offer. Stick Lee in front of Shields, Garza, Price/Kazmir, and Niemann and run down the big boys. You have talent coming out of your ears, and a real shot at winning the World Series this year. I know you love Wade Davis, but you can live without him – you have 18 other pitchers who could take his place in future seasons.

So, would Wade Davis be enough? If he is, we will drive Davis to Cleveland. But if the deal is Davis and ?, we need to see what the “and ?” is before screaming for Lee to the Rays.

Keep in mind that the next trade the Rays make sending a top prospect for a veteran, will be their first. There is no track record here except that it hasn’t happened. Will it happen this year? A week ago, we said ‘no way’. But ask us again next week.

MLB buzz: News and notes from the trade market [Fox Sports]
Go For Broke, Friedman [Fangraphs]

 
 

7 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    I hate that these rumors exist, because all I can see if a big neon marquee that reads “SCARY PLAYOFF ROTATION” if we’re running Shields, Lee, Garza, Kazmir/Niemann/Price out there even though this team’s on the outside looking in on the playoff race right now and I shouldn’t put the cart before the horse.

    But man, Lee is such a great fit. ARGH, stop me.

  2. My problem is that I’m convinced if the current rotation would just play up to their potential, the Rays will be great. Although I’m beginning to warm on the idea of trading a young arm for a veteran arm to help those guys play to their potential. But, with that being said, I think the Rays will stand pat (except for a possible relief pitcher) unless they get one of those “too good to be true deals” done.

  3. Michael says:

    If the deal for Cliff Lee ends up being say Wade Davis and two other minor leaguers, the other questions besides where we get the money from is ‘Who gets bumped from the rotation?’ Obviously finding a taker for Kazmir and getting a decent prospect in return would be ideal, but I don’t see anyone giving up anything of value or taking on his salary with the way he’s pitched over the past year plus possible injury risks. The other options seem to be bumping Price or Niemann to the bullpen or sending Price back to the minors.

    Of those, I think you have to send Price back to the minors to work on his control. Moving Niemann to the pen kills the value he’s been bringing to the team lately and therefore lowers the value of bringing in Lee. I know Price says he has no more to learn in the minors and needs to learn to pitch in the majors, but I don’t buy it. This isn’t the 2007 Devil Rays, we can’t be giving up games in the first few innings while chasing down the Red Sox and Yankees so he can learn in the majors. And just look at Clay Buchholz in Boston, if he can return to AAA for more seasoning then so can Price.

    I also agree with you that a deal of Wade Davis and ‘?’ could be worth it depending on the ‘?’. I would not include Matt Moore with Davis, as he loooks like he could be Wade Davis in another year or two, but one of Lobstien or Barnese plus filler seems reasonable. If they would agree to Hellickson plus Moore plus filler that could be acceptable but I think they’ll continue to insist on Davis. They don’t seem to want Brignac and I’d hope that Desmond Jennings is completely off the table.

    How about a 3-way with the Rangers where the Rays get Lee, Kaz goes to the Rangers, Texas sends a decent prospect to Cleveland, and the Rays send Davis and Lobstien/Barnese to Cleveland? Losing Davis plus a good single-A arm seems like a lot to give up hoping the upgrade from Kaz to Lee is worth it. Too much? Do we have enough to chase down the Sox and Yankees if we stand pat? I don’t know…

  4. Gus says:

    Today’s start for Kaz is key. We need to be able to showcase him to deal him to dump payroll for a Lee. I don’t see Halladay going anywhere without an extension, although I did see him mention proximity to his family in Dunedin as a reason why he was down on the west coast. Only 22 miles from the Trop to Dunedin.

    Kazmir may, like EJ, turn out to be better in a different location. I personally think he has an issue with the coaching staff (the visit to Rick Peterson being one example) and might be better off with a change of scenery.

    But after last season’s Jason Bay tease, I’m not holding my breath.

    • Beth says:

      Maybe Kazmir back to the Mets? They’ve been kicking themselves for giving him up all these years. On the other hand, they are going nowhere this year so I doubt they want another big salary (although his salary is only big by our humble Florida standards).

  5. Wally Pipp says:

    Perhaps we could also see that SF Giants rumor come into play here. Maybe a 3-way deal. Crawford goes to SF for Bumgarner, who goes to Toronto. TB throws a couple more prospects to Toronto (Brignac & Hernandez?) and gets Halladay in return.

    Doubtful, but with Frieman, Sternberg, et al, you never know.

  6. Justin H says:

    Blue Jays give:
    Roy Halladay

    Angels give:
    Brandon Wood
    Kevin Jepsen
    Cash

    Rays give:
    Scott Kazmir
    Reid Brignac
    Wade Davis
    Desmond Jennings

    Blue Jays get:
    Wood, Jepsen, Davis, and Jennings

    Angels get:
    Kazmir, Brignac

    Rays get:
    Hallday (w/ cash from Angels)

    This sounds pretty reasonable, right?

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