Earlier this week we heard that the Rays might be interested in trading for Cliff Lee. Now we learn from Jayson Stark that the Rays have inquired about a couple of hitters

Despite an eruption of rumors linking them to Cliff Lee, the Rays are spending almost all of their time shopping for bats these days. Two names sources say they’ve inquired about: Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn, reports ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.

Clubs that have spoken with the Rays say they’re not even focused on adding offense at any particular position…their focus is to “just get a bat,” said an official of one club, “and make the pieces fit later.”

Certainly Lee would be a big boost to the Rays rotation, but it does make more sense that the Rays first priority would be to add a bat. In fact, if Lee doesn’t work out, we can’t imagine there is even a plan B for the rotation that does not include the name “Jeremy Hellickson.”

Stark adds what many of us have already heard. That is, the Rays are indeed listening to offers for BJ Upton. However, Stark’s sources say the Rays are more likely to wait until the off-season to trade the center fielder.

Another “baseball man” told Stark that Lee is “not a likely fit” for the Rays.

 
 

29 Comments

  1. CharlieRay says:

    The Rays should wait until after Cliff Lee, Pitches against Phil Hughes on Friday, July 9, at Safeco Field. You could make the argument for him to actually be pitching for us at that point. Now think about this. If the trade was made today, what uniform would Cliff Lee wear to the All Star Game? Would the Rays now have 5 players instead of 4 going to the all Star Game?

  2. Joe says:

    Rays already have a strikeout-or-homer guy with Carlos Pena. Not sure how Adam Dunn is much of an upgrade.

    Remember what happened the last time the Rays got a National League power hitter (Patsy)? AL buyer beware.

    • Dave says:

      Completely agree about Dunn. He has more strikeouts every year than he does hits. He gets about 30+ HRs and 90+ RBIs….. just like Pena.
      He is a career .250 guy and should be starting his downward trend…. like Pena.

      This makes no sense to me. The Rays are full of fast guys. They would benefit by guys who can put the ball in play, you know, productive outs with that speed on the base paths.

      DO NOT get Dunn. the need contact guys. Dun, like Pena, is an inning killer when he is not hot (about 4 weeks a year).

      • Scot says:

        Dunn is worth several wins beyond Pena – especially if Dunn DH’s. Pena has been essentially. Since 2008, Pena has been below average and is now below replacement level. Both Dunn and Pena are at the end of their contracts.

  3. Will says:

    What do you think of Willingham? I love the idea.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I really like Willingham. He is kind of the anti-Upton. Nice consistent bat, but just average defense. And that’s fine, because he can just DH. The one issue is money. He will make ~$6million next year. Will the Rays be willing to pay that in a year when payroll is being slashed?

      • John S says:

        The Rays could afford that with over $40 million coming off the books.
        Maybe that is the play as we can keep Willingham a little longer. Dunn would be a rental with the money that he wants.

  4. Joe D. says:

    Dunn of who the Rays should have got on the first place not Burrell, and I said that then, this isn’t a hind sight is 20/20 thing…

  5. John S says:

    It is unfair to Dunn for you to compare him to Pena. Dunn has more power and has been doing if for years!

    Pena did it for 2 years out of 9.

    Dunn has much more power and is batting .280+ right now, Pena has done that once maybe in his career.

    Not a fair comparsion

  6. Pipp says:

    Makes sense that the Rays are looking almost exclusively at hitters since after Cliff Lee, I don’t think there’s another available pitcher who would be an upgrade to what they already have (no, I do not believe that Oswalt is an upgrade over Davis/Hellickson).

  7. Joe D. says:

    Pipp I agree, our problem is scoring runs consistantly, we have big innings, but seem to have a hard time “marking in every frame” to use a bowling term.

  8. Beth says:

    Honestly, I can’t believe that they’d be looking at anything BUT hitters. I’m glad they’ve been winning lately, but it’s despite and not because of their hitting.

  9. Mike says:

    No more national league hitters (not named Pujols, Braun, Fielder or Hanley) please.

    We have a great team as is, no need to change anything. The only thing we need to do is send BJ and Pena to the swing doctor to get their heads right.

  10. Joe D. says:

    Beth, those would be some big, useless,expensive glasses.

  11. Hal says:

    Prof, do you know what the deal is with Matt Bush? There was rumbling at some point that the Rays were really happy with the way he looked and I recall that he had some minor arm issues earlier in the year that shut him down for a while. I checked out the Stonecrabs site and he’s listed as active, but he hasn’t pitched since early June? What gives?

  12. Don says:

    ONE more strike out player on this team and I am going to start drinking more….or at least try…
    Is there anyone out there anymore that knows how to put the bat on the ball for avg. and to move runners over..
    Give me one or two of those… for 1st and/or CF…and they (Yankees) will not beat the Rays!

    • Scot says:

      Dunn hits homers. Homers makes runs. Runs wins games. Generating outs (such as through bunting) creates no runs. Team loses.

      I’ll buy you the first one.

      • Don says:

        One home run a week, and striking out or weak grounders to 2nd base does NOT win baseball games..
        Getting on base, getting moved over to scoring position, and guys getting “base hits” scores runs..wins games!

  13. zech m says:

    There is no way B.J upton ever gets his head on straight plus its time to say goodbye to him! if I where the rays I would make do everything I can to get cliff lee and then trade for willingham. Cliff lee brings playoff experience that shields or anyone else on the pitching staff has!

  14. John S says:

    On a side note, watching the game right now.

    If Crawford wants $17 mil a year…

    Screw it give it to him. We can fit it in the budget with over $40 coming off the books. With arbitration increasing a plethora of salaries that will pretty much leave us nothing else for anything with the lower payroll next year (about $10 million less).

    5 years for $17 mil a year ($85 million)

    He is amazing and I will go through withdrawal next year. He is single-handingly carrying us with back to back 2 run homers

    Jaso/Shoppach
    Zobrist 1B
    Sean Rod 2B
    Brignac SS
    Longoria 3B
    Joyce
    Jennings
    Crawford

    Christ, who cares if Crawford takes up 30% of our budget, he is that good! :-(… Doesn’t Mauer’s new deal just like that.

    Hahaha I know I am living in a pipedream but damn when can the new stadium in Tampa open so new money can come in and sign people like Minnesota

    • Cork Gaines says:

      In one sense, I do not disagree with you. In 2011 and 2012, he will absolutely be worth every penny. My concern is that he will demand a 6 or 7-year deal. How much is CC worth in 2013 when is 31? What about 2015 when he is 33? What scares me is that Crawford is not going to age well. He already hates playing on the turf and it is just going to get worse.

      Listen, I hear you. I really do. But a team like the Rays risks a lot giving a player like CC $15 million when he 32-33 years old.

      But to your point, will he be worth it in 2011? That is an emphatic ‘YES’!

      • John S says:

        Cork,
        I hear ya bud and I agree with you it is a huge risk. Do you think Carl would take a club option after year 3 on the contract?

        It probably does not make sense but seeing what he does right now makes me wonder where we will be without him this year.

        We are talking about Wall Street guys that have ran numerous models (discounted cash flow models) to see if the investment in Carl is worth it. They probably will determine it will not be worth it in the end.

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