On Friday, Andrew Friedman appeared 620 WDAE with Dave Wills and Andy Freed to discuss a number of topics. Some of the more telling excerpts are below and you can find our thoughts at the bottom of the post. You can listen to the entire interview here:

Andrew Friedman on 620 WDAE

On the importance of the Red Sox and Yankees series…

It is hard to sit here and say that these seven games (vs Boston and New York) don’t matter. They definitely do…That being said, I don’t think there is any seven game subset that is going to dictate what we do. We also try very hard not to get typecast into that ‘Are you buying? Are you selling?’ We just try to find good baseball trades…We aren’t really a team that looks at it as we are buyers or we are sellers. We want to do things that make us a better organization.

On whether the Rays will be active at the trade deadline…

We have been feverishly working the phones the last couple of weeks to get a sense of how things line up and what we might be able to do to add to this group.

On the type of trade the Rays are looking to make…

You don’t necessarily want to do something that detracts from a strength to add to a weakness and you end up in the same place. So it is trying to get creative and finding ways we can add and definitely improve ourselves and it has a tail of value where it helps us in 2012, and beyond even better.

On why it is so hard for the Rays to trade prospects to improve the roster…

I think the biggest issue is we’ve got certain young players in our system that it’s going to be very, very difficult to trade…Prospects mean more to us than they do to any other team in baseball. When you look at the revenue gap we’re trying to make up against the Red Sox and Yankees, we need these young players to come up and be good major league players for us to have a chance.

Later on, Friedman re-emphasized that the Rays are not looking for a rental player…

If we can get better in 2011 and like I said have that tail of value where we are better in 2012 and beyond, all the better.

On the 2008 trade that fell through that would have sent Jeff Niemann and Reid Brignac to the Pirates for Jason Bay…

There was a potential trade a couple of years ago that we tried to make and thought we had made it. And I am really glad that we didn’t make it.

Like we said a couple of weeks ago, these games against the Red Sox and Yankees are not going to change the way the Rays do business. Their M.O. is always to see the bigger picture. And no matter how well they are playing, the Rays will never sacrifice the future to get better today.

Also, the quote about the Jason Bay trade that fell through may have appeared to be a throwaway thought about something that happened three years ago. But we think it is very telling. Many will point to that trade as evidence that the Rays are willing to trade prospects if the deal is right. But Friedman makes it clear that if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t have pulled the trigger.

In other words, don’t look for a similar deal to happen anytime soon.

It is also important to note that Friedman made it clear that if the Rays do make a trade, it will only be for a player that the Rays can keep around for a few years.

All of this paints a picture of a very quiet trade deadline for the Rays. Although, like we said before, if the Rays are souring on Desmond Jennings, and other teams still hold him in high regard, that might be the one chance for a big deal to happen.

 
 

12 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    This still sounds like Colby Rasmus might be an option, as he would be under control for a few more years at reasonable rates. The question is, what does it take to get him? If it’s still Hellickson, that’s dead in the water. If it’s someone like Cobb or Torres, maybe that’s more palatable.

    • LoLJFH says:

      No need to get yet another .240 prima donna in CF (or LF) with less potential and power than what we have currently. Move along, nothing to see here.

      • Political_Man says:

        I think that really depends on what you could get in return for trading Upton. If you consider a swap of BJ for Rasmus in CF a wash and you get more in return in the transaction with BJ than whatever it is you give up obtaining Rasmus, why wouldn’t you make that deal?

        Anyone stupid enough to start making deals with Friedman should have their heads examined. And I think most of the time he operates under the assumption from other GM’s that Friedman is cutting a deal because of the money situation. I think that’s only a part of any deal he makes. Has Friedman made mistakes? Sure, Shopage and Burrell not withstanding, but more often than not the more trades Friedman makes, the more the Rays come out ahead.

        Anyone still think the Kazmir trade was purely a salary dump like fans were screaming in 2009? The guy was awful the season after the trade and now he’s not even in baseball anymore…. in fact I wouldn’t be completely shocked to see Friedman take a flyer on Kazmir for Spring Training 2012… If you take discount his history with the Rays, he would be a classic Friedman reclamation project.

  2. Don says:

    Would you or Friedman give up Brig(what) and Niemann for a World Series win?? IT could have happened with Bays bat and a stablizing force on a young 2008 team…
    I would have in a minute!
    WHat “prospects” bring is Hope not world series wins….Leave that to the pros

    • nate says:

      Look, I understand that three of the Phillies four wins in that series were by one run, but are you seriously telling us that you think Jason Bay is the difference maker in a series that we lost 4-1. Our hitting was excruciating in that series. Jason Bay was a fine hitter at that time, but not the type that would make up the void left by the rest of our lineup in that series.

      • Don says:

        That depends on whether you think Bay is worth a run a game (2008), plus a leader thatLongoria,ZObrist, Upton PRIce could have gone to instead of Cliff Floyd (what) in reality they were scared to death of Philly, I bet Bay wouldn’t have been!

        • nate says:

          Perhaps Bay is on average worth 1 run a game that year. But thats on average. He doesn’t guarantee you one run a game. I don’t know how you quantify leadership. Therefore I’m uncomfortable debating the Cliff Floyd leadership quotient vs the Jason Bay leadership quotient. But I will say that Cliff Floyd seemed popular in the clubhouse, and popularity is as good a measure of leadership as any I suppose (if it really matters).

          Were the Rays scared of Philly? Well, I should think not. They beat freaking Boston in a 7 game series. Boston was more daunting that year than Philly.

          At the time the question wasn’t whether acquiring Bay would help us win the World Series, it was really “will he help us make the playoffs”. Boston got him we didn’t. At the time it was disappointing (friedman agreed…at the time). But ultimately the team that acquired him failed to take down us. So from that standpoint even without the benefit of hindsight on Niemann/Briggy the failed trade seemed to be good for us using 2008 knowledge

          • Carey says:

            Sorry, but I’ll take Floyd over Bay as a leader any day. Seriously Don, are you really trying to make this argument. I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve heard – from any person or outlet – Jason Bay’s name and “leadership” used in the same sentence. I’d by that argument with a guy like Damon (believe he would have helped greatly last year), but Bay? Not so much.

            And it wasn’t that the Rays were “scared” of Philly. The Rays offense was never the same after the Game 5 Meltdown in Boston. As young teams will do – and still do – in those situations, they pressed. And it was obvious. I still believe that had we found a way to hold on to that win, we’d have rode the momentum and beaten Philly.

  3. Jay says:

    I understand Friedman’s position, but this has a serious downside when you drink your own kool-aid and start believing that YOUR prospects are worth MORE than they actually are.

    And when you are unwilling to part with them for PROVEN MLB talent because you are so in love with your own scouting, then you are staring in the face of mediocrity… which is exactly where the Rays are and are headed: a great pitching staff with below-average hitters is an average TEAM in the AL East.

    • Sarah says:

      The only situation in which your charge rings true is with Brignac — I can recall back in 2008/9 the Rays always had Brignac on the short list of prospects who were absolutely untouchable. Well, at the moment that doesn’t look so smart, but I’m not sure anyone predicted Reid’s decline as a hitter. Otherwise, what deals exactly do you think they’ve failed to make because they’ve overvalued their prospects?

      • Jay says:

        Sarah,

        I guess my point wasn’t to break down the deals that were never done (how many of those could we honestly ever know about), but to say if that is your strategy the one downside I see is that you love your prospects too much to not make the deal that makes you a better balanced team.

        No one could argue with what we do with grooming pitchers, so this is solely about our lack of success with hitters. If we repeatedly produce the same player (solid D, streaky below average hitting) then our team won’t ever make the playoffs. If you aren’t willing to part with talented pitching to get talented hitting, then we are watching what the Rays will be for a long time until we stumble upon another professional hitter to get us over the hump.

        If I had a guess we won’t ever pull the trigger on one of those deals (as Friedman admits regarding the Bay deal) and IMO its because we wrongly over-value our own prospects and assume that current hitters will progress into productive pros (we have a plethora of serviceable pros IMO, but that doesn’t get you into the playoffs in our division).

  4. Gus says:

    With Jason Bay, the Rays would have in all likelihood won the 2008 World Series, as their exposure to LH pitching was exposed in a painfully close series (LH’s JC Romero and Hammels and Moyer were the key pitchers). We had no answer for that, and lost heartbreaker games. 2008 Bay (or any oher RH bat — it wasn’t like he was the only RH outfielder) would have helped and may have proved to be the difference.

    Personally, I would have traded Brignac and Neiman for a world series title. Think of the extra $ they could have made (more home WS dates, more 2009 season tickets). The goal is to win it all (in my view). The goal in Sternberg’s mind seems to maximize his winning while simultaneously minimizing any chance he won’t be profitable.

Leave a Comment