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.