If you want the latest trade rumors concerning the Rays, keep checking back here throughout the day. As we hear trade rumors, we will add them below. We will keep the most recent on top. If something really juicy comes along, we will give that its own post. But all the other stuff will go here.

Also, if you see or hear something that we haven’t reported yet, feel free to leave it in the comments and we will check it out.

Let’s go…

[7:14 pm] Rays consigliere Ken Rosenthal says the Rays have cooled to the idea of trading James Shields. Keep in mind, Rosenthal is one of the few national media members that that the Rays feed info to.

[6:30 pm] Mark Bowman, who speculated earlier that the Braves and Wade Davis might be a fit, now has sources saying the Braves have discussed Davis, but that the Rays “seem reluctant” to trade him.

[11:00 am] The big name on everybody’s radar right now is James Shields, and as you can expect at this time of year, we are hearing 30 different things.

According to Buster Olney, some “rival executives” believe James Shields will definitely be traded in the next 36 hours. However, the Rangers, a team we thought we get more interested one Zack Greinke landed with the Angels, don’t think Shields will be moved.

However, Jon Heyman says the Rangers, along with the Cardinals and Dodgers, are the “main suitors” for Shields. Marc Topkin adds the Indians and the Braves to the mix. So there are plenty of interested teams, and it only takes one to make a huge offer.

Heyman adds, that if the Rays do trade Shields, they want a package bigger than what the Brewers got for Greinke (three prospects).

Meanwhile, Andrew Friedman sounds like a guy that wants to hear offers, but isn’t in a terrible hurry to make a deal. And in what is his typical stance in late July, Joe Maddon says “my feeling…is taht we’re not going to do anything.”

The other big pitching name that teams are interested in is Wade Davis. But while we keep hearing about how a lot of teams are interested, we have heard very little in the way of actual negotiations or specific teams targeting Big Dub. Mark Bowman speculated that the Braves might prefer the cheaper Davis over Shields.

Finally, the new free agency compensation rules make a guy like BJ Upton much less valuable on the trade market. However, I am still surprised that his name hasn’t come up more in these rumors. In fact, it doesn’t sound like any teams are even kicking the Upton tires.

 
 

19 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    The reason Upton’s name hasn’t come up is that he isn’t a very good player anymore (and hasn’t been since 2007-08 timeframe).

    Of the contending teams, exactly whose CF would he displace in the starting line-up? He is most valuable to the Rays, who struggle to find 9 breathing batters most days. I’m sure somebody in FA will take a flier on his tools, but I’d be surprised if he can bring anything worth trading him in return.

    Side note: whoever called the pitches this weekend did a fine job. Those games were masterfully thought out and executed. Good to see the Rays pitchers mixing their pitches (generally speaking).

  2. s says:

    cork,
    i’ve seen the figure as much as $12.5 million as the number we would have to offer BJ on qualifying offer. with the new CBA is that what we would have to offer him for a single year in order to secure a draft pick.

    is it true that he could walk away from us and we would receive nothing. can you explain the whole process including no longer having a “type a” or “type b” thing anymore. i understand how it affects the trade value, but how does it affect the team if the players doesn’t get traded.

    if it does require $12.5 as a way to secure a draft pick, do you think the rays will offer that? or is it to risky hoping that someone else match the offer?

    • Alex says:

      Basically there are only type A free agents now. So, in order to get a draft pick, you must offer your free agent a salary comparable to the top whatever % of guys in the league at that position. If they don’t then he walks and we get nothing.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      That’s pretty much it. there is no longer Type A or Bs. And in past years, a team had to offer arbitration to get compensation. Now they have to offer a 1-year contract for $12-13 million (exact number not yet known). Player can accept the contract. Or he can turn it down and sign with another team.

      If he signs with another team, that team loses their first round pick (or second round if they have a top ten pick). That pick does not go to the player’s old team. It just disappears. Instead, the player’s old team will get a compensation pick after the first round.

      As for Upton, I would be surprised if he accepted, so I would be surprised if the Rays did not offer the one-year deal. Adam Jones recently signed for 6-years, $85.5 million. I’ve heard speculation that Upton will get a $100 million deal. That might depend on who is in on the bidding. But I think it is safe to say that Upton’s worst-case scenario as a free agent is 4-5 years at $12-13 million per year. And the upside is much, much higher.

      • Gus says:

        Adam Jones has been trending up; Upton has been trending down. Who, in his 27-year old contract year, puts up a stinker year like Upton and gets paid like that? I suspect you are correct somebody will look past the trend lines and the red flags and do it, but I look at the big money teams and just don’t see a need for CFs with obps of .310.

        BJ peaked at 22. Very rare in MLB history.

        (Side note: BJ should look at using a smaller/lighter bat; you compare him v. Jennings or Keppinger who are so quick to the ball; BJ’s is swinging a tree limb out there; it goes far when he connects, but with his tools, he’d be more effective if he just put it in play. The power bursts in the 2007 season and the 2008 playoffs fooled him into being a player he is not).

        Additiona note: I hate picking on the guy; he seems like a nice guy and a good teammate and has been part of the Rays forever. Can field with any of the top 10 CFs in the game now (although this year I’d note he’s had many close catches get away that he made in prior seasons). All of my good Rays memories have BJ on the team. Good for him if he can get paid; just don’t want the Rays putting their eggs in that basket. The Scott Kazmir of centerfielders . . . .

        • Dustin says:

          Upton’s WAR has been around 4 for the past several years. Thus far in 2012, it’s around 1, so yeah, he’s having a down year. But here’s his WAR for the last five years.
          2007 – 4.5
          2008 – 5
          2009 – 2.4
          2010 – 4
          2011 – 4.1
          2012 – 1.1
          It should be noted that the metrics have BJ’s defense as a negative value, which partially accounts for his low WAR so far this year.

          The takeaway from this is, I think, that Upton is not “the Scott Kazmir of centerfielders.” Kazmir’s WAR peaked at 5.3 in 2007, declined through his tenure with the Rays, and became negative (indicating that Kaz was a worse-than-replacement-level player) in 2010 and 2011. Kazmir is now an ineffective pitcher for the independent minor league Sugarland Skeeters.

          Upton, on the other hand, will probably play major league baseball for another ten years or so. He’s a solid defender with some offensive value right now, and he still has serious upside. It’s unlikely that Bossman will ever live up to the potential many saw in him, but that doesn’t make him a bad player. Somebody is going to pay him a lot of money for the next few years.

          • Gus says:

            BJ’s 2007 was not surpassed by his 2008 or nearly equal to 2010 and 2011. I think any Rays fan who watches the games will tell you the same. Not sure where your data is sourced, but he won’t be a starter very much longer with his current trends after this, his peak season age-wise.

            His best case is to carve out a Coco Crisp-type career. But he needs to turn it around offensively.

          • Sarah says:

            For whatever reason, BJ has been a polarizing figure within the Rays Republic. It makes it hard to speak frankly about his talents without seeming to be an apologist, or about his shortcomings without seeming to be a knee jerk detractor. Certainly his early promise has raised expectations to where his just being a good center fielder with occasional doubles power doesn’t seem to be enough.

            My disappointment with him is the seeming lack of a learning curve. Good players get better as they adapt, until aging begins to eat away at their skill set. It doesn’t mean that good players don’t have down years. But we look for players who stick around the majors to address the holes in their game and get better. Upton doesn’t seem to make that sort of progress.

            But like Gus I have fond memories of him and what he can bring to the game. He played a prominent role in some 2008 postseason wins. He’s the only Ray to have hit for the cycle. Despite some of the grumbling, I don’t think he’s lazy and he seems to be well liked by his teammates.

      • Tom says:

        Dustin,

        I assume those numbers are from Fangraphs, the numbers at Baseball-reference are much different.
        2007- 4.1
        2008- 3.1
        2009- .8
        2010- 1.0
        2011- 2.8
        2012- .4

        I have no idea which are more accurate.

        • Dustin says:

          That’s interesting, Tom. You’re right that my stats came from Fangraphs, not BR. I know the two sites calculate these things differently, but my understanding of the methodology is shaky. There’s a discussion thread at Fangraphs that goes into this question a little bit: http://www.fangraphs.com/forums/topic.php?id=6560.

          For Gus, WAR means “Wins Above Replacement,” and the stat attempts to measure a player’s total value. Both the Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs versions consider a combination of batting (AVG, OBP, SLG), base-running, and defense, and then compares a particular player’s performance in these categories to a hypothetical “replacement player.”

          The hypothetical replacement player is assumed to be below league average. Part of the discrepancy between the Fangraphs WAR and the Baseball-Reference WAR stats is how much below league average the hypothetical replacement player is assumed to be, with Fangraphs figuring him to be worse than does Baseball-Reference. Both sites weight WAR values for position (i.e. defensive numbers count differently for a center-fielder vs a first-baseman), and it’s likely that the two sites use different positional weights. It’s also likely that the sites weight the various categories differently. So, I’m not sure what to make of the different numbers, but I have an idea.

          Even if these two measures of WAR differ from each other, we can assume they’re at least internally consistant. So, since we already have Upton’s WAR numbers from two sources, let’s compare his to some other CFs in the league. We might as well start with Coco Crisp.

          FG___BR
          2007 – 4.4___3.0
          2008 – 1.6___1.0
          2009 – 1.5___1.3
          2010 – 3.3___3.2
          2011 – 2.2___2.4

          Curtis Granderson
          FG___BR
          2007 – 7.8___7.2
          2008 – 4.3___3.6
          2009 – 2.9___4.1
          2010 – 3.5___4.1
          2011 – 7.0___5.3

          Adam Jones
          FG___BR
          2007 – 0.2___0.8
          2008 – 1.8___1.7
          2009 – 1.8___2.4
          2010 – 2.6___2.1
          2011 – 2.9___2.8

          For a mediocre center fielder, let’s look at Cameron Maybin
          (played fewer than 50 games 2007-2008, so the data are unreliable)
          FG___BR
          2009 – 1.0___-.01
          2010 – 0.7___1.1
          2011 – 4.7___4.3

          And now back to Upton
          FG___BR
          2007 – 4.5___4.1
          2008 – 5.0___3.1
          2009 – 2.4___0.8
          2010 – 4.0___1.0
          2011 – 4.1___2.8

          The results, here, seem pretty straightforward. Upton is, generally, a good but not great centerfielder. As a decent offensive player (he’s an annual lock for double digits in both homers and steals plus a batting average in the .250 range and a .347 OBP over the past five years) at a premium defensive position, Upton clearly has a lot of value. He’s a “polarizing player” because peoples’ expectations from him outstrip his actual ability. There is still this expectation that BJ Upton might be a superstar. He’s not, and he probably won’t become one. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. He is, in fact, very good at baseball, better than many of his peers, and certainly better than anything the Rays could plug in tomorrow to replace him. He’s not Curtis Granderson, but he’s also not Cameron Maybin. He might be more like Coco Crisp (except BJ’s not known for being a jerk), which mean’s he’s a useful major league baseball player and an everyday starter for most teams.

          Anyhow, I would’ve loved to see Bossman blossom into the kind of player it looked like he might become when he first came up. I remember his explosion in the 2008 post-season, and hoped it was a harbinger of things to come. Apparently, it wasn’t. Comparing the BJ Upton of 2012 to the BJ Upton I imagined a few years ago is disappointing, which is why I prefer to rely on data, rather than gut feeling, because data don’t have sentimental attachements. The data show that Upton is plenty good enough to be a big-league starter as long as he doesn’t wind up on a team with a guy like Granderson in center.

          • Gus says:

            Final points:

            1. Crisp has made between $5 and $6M since his 28 year old season (he’s 32). That is where Upton should be in his best case. The numbers Cork comes up with seem hyperinflated to me. I doubt they’ll be close. He may end up back with the Rays because they value him more than anybody else in the league, seemingly.

            2. People throw WAR around in a vaccum. First, the Fangraphs numbers are skewed by the defensive emphasis which makes Upton look far better than he is for the Rays. In the Upton discussion, the WAR is really his value defensively over his replacement on the Rays , i.e. Jennings in CF (probably not that much) and offensively over a corner OF the Rays could replace him with (internally or externally), netting out the defensive loss of Jennings in LF. I’d submit, any GM worth his salt could figure out a more produtive OF with tthis year’s budget than the Rays put out there. (Jennings appears to have caught Upton-itis, swinging for the fences at times). For the money he is being paid this year and will be perhaps next year, he’s not worth it. He can’t live off the promise of 2007-08 forever. He’s a flawed offensive performer with good defensive wheels who is getting worse, not better. We can do better.

  3. don says:

    here’s the deal…Rays have lots of dead wood that can not be signed and payed…they maybe only a bat or two (+longoria) from having a good playoff team…look at this weekend without shields, yesterday without BJ….Rays need to make a move NOW…See if they pass again on getting some help in here..
    or we can watch the same guys strike outeverynight,and score 1/2 runs and good pitching get torched for another loss..

  4. Joe says:

    If we offer Upton that qualifying offer, I think he takes it and the Rays can’t afford to pay him that. If Friedman gets a good offer then get ‘er done and put DJ or Super Sam in CF with the hope that one of these days, Scott can actually play in the OF.

    Shields has been no good most of the time but when I look at the other options, Archer is still building up arm strength from his injury, Ramos just started getting stretched out and has started all of 3 times in his career and Alex Torres is just brutal.

    So unless there is an MLB ready SP in the deal (for example, Randall Delgado), we pretty much need to keep Shields.

    The other 2 names are the still injured Niemann who hasn’t even gone to rehab and Wade Davis who would need to be sent down(this hurting our pen) to get stretched out and it could take him a while. Keep Shields unless you’re blown away, Andrew. Plus any trades were based on Evan returning and he could return as early as today but looking like he’s making his homecoming at home on August 3rd.

  5. s says:

    we “wanted a king’s ransom” last year for BJ at the deadline. then it was “there’s more teams looking at him at the end of the year”. then it was “he’s worth more this year than any trade”. now there’s little interest

    what happened to buy low, sell high? hell how about break even?

    we can’t offer him 12.5 for fear that he’ll take it. we’ve completely dropped the ball here. he’ll walk for nothing in return.

  6. Boxauthor says:

    Hmm… anyone else get the feeling that the 11:00 AM post might be the only rumor poste we get? Haven’t seen anything on Shields (or any other Ray) for awhile.

  7. Alex says:

    The Rays won’t make a single big move as always. These rumors are stupid. Every year its the same thing. 10+ teams in on BJ Upton. Teams pushing hard for Shields and Davis etc… Then what do we get? The rays trade Nobody McGarbage for some quad a player who will become a starter for us 2 years down the road while hitting .200 and Maddon will praise his work ethic. This regime can identify pitching and defense like its nothing. They couldn’t field a good hitting team if they got to choose from the All Star team

    • Alex says:

      Then in the offseason we will lose BJ, and trade either Shields, Davis or Niemann or Cobb and get 5 prospects who flame out. Meanwhile some other team will make a big splash and get amazing prospects. I bet the Rays really regret not trading with Cincinnati. Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso sure would look good in a Rays uniform.

      • MJ says:

        I’m ruing the lack of a Rizzo trade. I feel the Rays could have offered a better package than the Cubs did.

      • J W says:

        I don’t think they regret it, by all accounts the Reds prefered Latos over Shields, so it wasn’t the Rays who turned down the trade.

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