Here is an interesting twist, and one we would prefer to the thought of trading James Shields. According to a “big league source” for Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Rays would prefer to trade Wade Davis over one of their other starting pitchers…

When all is said and done, the Rays are expected to be willing to deal Davis this offseason. While teams will ask for James Shields, and the Rays will listen, according to one major league source, Davis is the pitcher they will likely end up dealing for an outfielder or a catcher.

This has been our stance all along. The 2012 Rays are a better team with James Shields. And based on what we saw from Matt Moore at the end of the season, he is ready to join Shields, not replace him.

A rotation with Shields, Moore, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and either Davis, Jeff Niemann, or Alex Cobb, is far superior to one without Shields and/or Moore.

So at that point, it is just a matter of trading Niemann, Davis, or Cobb if somebody is going to be moved. And based on health history, contract, and experience, Davis is the one that will fetch the most in a trade.



  1. phil says:

    Does not make sense to keep 3 players making $22m on a team whose payroll will be in the 40 million dollar range. Especially when 2 of the players (Shields and Price) are going to make more more money each of the next few years making them harder to trade down the road.

    for example trading Upton and shields brings back multiple players and frees up cash to bring in some free agents.

    • angrybuddha says:

      I don’t think the extra money due to Shields or Price in the next couple of years will scare off most clubs. We’re unique in that we’re going to have some hard decisions to make, but if those guys keep pitching the way they have, we won’t have a hard time unloading them …

      At least, their salaries won’t be the problem…. Andrew’s demands might be!

  2. Joe says:

    In a perfect world, Neimann, my least fav SP of the 7 would have real value and he would be dealt. This isn’t a perfect world.

    It’s close enough, though if we keep Shields and actually carry Moore on the team from ST. If our front 4 is Price – Shields – Hellickson and Moore, then DJ Kitty can be our #5 for all I care. I would choose Cobb over Neimann but not happening, unless Jeff is hurt again.

    • Sarah says:

      I still wonder about Neimann as a reliever, even a closer. His body doesn’t seem to be able to pitch 200 innings a year, but we’ve seen him be extremely effective at times, so it’s not as though he doesn’t belong on a major league pitching mound.

      • Ken Heller says:

        Sarah, I’ve often wondered the same thing about Davis. Neimann as a closer scares me. Too many breaking balls in the dirt. I do see Jeff as a big upgrade in a long relief/spot start role. Whatever happens I just hope we can land at least two MLB ready bats.

  3. Sarah says:

    Yeah, Neimann coming in with bases loaded isn’t a pretty thought. He may be better suited for long relief, although sometimes you go weeks without calling on your long reliever, and Niemann’s good enough not become the next Andy Sonnanstine.

    Davis did come in as a reliever during the (brief) post season, and did OK, right? Small sample size, of course.

  4. Nathan says:

    To me, it looks like this is the year the Rays have the most tradeable “value”. While we’re stocked with arms, our minors are really loaded with bats. For long term competitiveness, now is the time to trade 2 of our 8 potential starters. I don’t want to lose Shields, but he’s most likely to return a Devin Morasco (sp) and Yonder Alonso from the Reds. That locks up 1B and C for the next 5 years.

    • LoLJFH says:

      How is it every time a potential trade comes up the last few months it involves these 2 guys from Cincy farm system? SOMEONE upstairs has GOT to be salivating over these 2 guys! Or are we just dumb fans with no real “corporate insight”? I have been saying this here on numerous occasions since July deadline and we have the arms they want and they have the positions we need (plus Morasco is blocked by Votto and Alonso is blocked by their other catcher). There are many in MLB and MiLB that feel these two are as good as, if not better, than guys in front of them. I’d take a young Votto-esque guy with great hands and skills and a good bat with better than average power. What a novel idea to have a catcher that can hit and man his position in a Molina-esque manner!

    • phil says:

      Nathan Agree 100%!

  5. Alex says:

    You all have to remember that just because we salivate over someone doesn’t mean they are available. Teams are hesitant to make trades in the first place, especially with the Rays, because you are talking about trading a valuable asset that has proven themselves in the majors vs a minor leaguer.

  6. Alex says:

    I also do not understand everyone’s fascination with Yonder Alonso. He hit 15 hr’s last year in AA/AAA and 12 hr’s this year in AAA. He’s not exactly mashing the ball. He has 36 hr in 313 minor league games. Just because he was a 1st round pick does not mean he is great.

    • phil says:

      Heard he was a good hitter but not a 30 hr guy

    • Drew says:

      Here are some reasons (other than being a 1st rounder):
      - What he did in college
      - He was in BA’s top 100 prospects for the 2011 season
      - There have been rumors about the Reds trading Votto to make room for him at 1st base
      - His .330/.398/.545 in almost 100 PA’s in the majors last season

      Sure the power hasn’t been what everyone thought but he’s still a very good player

  7. Joe says:

    Love how Nick Cafardo over a yearly basis has more Rays news than all of our local mainstream coverage combined. Makes me sick that Marc Topkin is affiliated with Tampa Bay baseball.

  8. steve says:

    How many catchers are there that are great behind the plate and at the dish? Mauer, Posey when healthy, Hernandez, Avila, Yadi, Napoli. Not many, that is why Joe Mauer was almost unanamous (no spell check) MVP in 2009. These guys don’t grow on trees, its not just the Rays struggling with finding good catchers. I want to see Shop back on a 1 yr and see if his Sep/Oct performance will carry over to 2012. Shop is great behind the plate and has bouncer power. I think he can hit .210-.225 with some HRs and at least give us great defense behind the plate which after all is the most important job for a C.

    • Beth says:

      I agree that it’s hard to have excellence at catching. I’m willing to settle for — in fact I’d be thrilled with — mere mediocrity.

      If we can bring back Shop for under $2 million and platoon him with a lefty who can block a pitch, throw out just the occasional baserunner, hit .220 and take a few walks (in other words, what I thought John Jaso could possibly become but then he didn’t) then I’d consider the matter settled.

    • Drew says:

      I think it’s a pretty good indicator of a player’s talent level to look at his past few seasons as opposed to the last 10 games of last year.

      Also I would agree that he is definitely above average defensively, especially when it comes to throwing out base-stealers. However, he’s going to be 32 at the start of next year, and that link I provided shows pretty clearly his declining offensive numbers over the last 1-3 seasons. I think there’s little chance of him performing significantly better next season.

  9. phil says:

    Upton to the Nationals for Norris and a pitching prospect and Shields to the Reds for Alonso, frazier and another pitching prospect.

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