Buster Olney recently wrote that other teams now “warily approach trades” with the Rays because they are viewed as a “savvy organization” and seem to know just when to dump their players (e.g. Scott Kazmir). This raised our eyebrows because the Rays have also given away some solid players with little to show in return (e.g. Jason Hammel)
Well, Olney went on “The B.S. Report” and Bill Simmons asked Olney about this topic…
I wrote that and within four hours there was a member of the Rays organization sent me an email that said “that’s ridiculous! We’ve made some terrible trades!” I said “look I’m just the messenger here. I’m just telling you what I’m hearing from other general managers that they are like ‘These guys really evaluate their players well’.” And the response [from the Rays executive] was, “We don’t want that reputation!”
Kevin Towers, the GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks has that reputation when it comes to dealing pitching. I think that when Theo [Epstein, GM of the Red Sox] makes trades, everyone tends to look at them a little bit more closely than they would otherwise because he is generally regarded as the best GM in the sport. And Tampa Bay now, with Andrew Friedman, that’s going to be someone that they’ll think extra hard about before they make a deal. Not because he does anything untoward, but because he is so danged smart.
1) Who was the “member of the Rays organization” that would email Olney? The circle is a very small one. And three of the top four don’t seem like the types that will go out of their way to contact a media member; 2) This topic brings up an interesting thought. If you are the Rays, do you occasionally pull a rope-a-dope to avoid this reputation? In other words, does it help in the long run to occasional tank a trade to give other teams a false sense of comfort? Or do you just assume that there will be enough trades that don’t work out naturally?