MLB: MAY 23 Rays at AstrosIn an interview with WEEI in Boston, Peter Gammons said that “people in Seattle” thought they were close to a trade with the Rays for Zobrist, but that the Rays backed off. More importantly, the Rays are now telling teams that they will wait until the deadline to make a decision on trading their key players.

They actually can keep thinking, ‘We have a chance.’ I know this: Tampa Bay really thinks it has a chance. Now their pitching has come back together again, I talked to people in Seattle who thought they were very close to a deal for Ben Zobrist and they said the Rays pulled back the last couple of days because they want to take it right down to the last 48 hours before the deadline.

First the Rays were said to be waiting until the All-Star break to make a decision. But the Rays’ current 5-game winning streak appears to once again have the Rays postponing any decision on whether to trade David Price and/or Ben Zobrist or to keep both and make a run for the playoffs.

Of course, the most surprising aspect of these comments is that Gammons was actually able to comment on the Rays without trashing the attendance, but I digress.

But the Rays are still a long-shot to make the playoffs despite their recent surge, with BaseballProspectus giving them an 8.2% chance.

But there is another risk to holding on to Price and Zobrist. There may never be a better time to trade such big fish, with several experts calling this the ultimate seller’s market, with so few difference-makers available.

You can be sure that the Wall Streeters in the Rays front office are salivating at the possibility of what they could get in return.

Yesterday we took a look at the market and it sounds like teams are ramping up their efforts. At some point, a team is going to make an offer that will tempt the Rays. It will be interesting to see if they jump at it.

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32 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    The Rays' ability to put it together when they need to is uncanny, but a playoff run is still a long-shot, and it seems like all of the teams in the AL East except Toronto are heating up. The Rays didn't play last night and they dropped to last place and fell another .5 game back of the Orioles. This is a situation where we can't make up losses as has been send many times on this site. However, we are still only 6.5 back of the second wild card, so there's always a chance there too. But we need to jump 6 teams, including all but the leader in the East. I know it is a completely different situation, but they traded Kazmir when they were only 3.5 games back. I wonder what number they have in mind as a cutoff.

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    • Political_Man says:

      Actually there are 7 teams ahead but let's look at those teams for a moment. Three of them are in the AL East Boston, New York, and Toronto. Head to head can make up ground on these teams. That leaves you with Cleveland, Kansas City, and Chicago. Does anyone really think Chicago is going anywhere?

      And then of course Seattle... who has 12 games against the A's and Angels in September.

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  2. Matt says:

    The Rays could certainly deal Price and Zobrist and still "claim" to be in it. With the prospects they would receive, specifically with the mariners where Taijuan Walker or Paxton would be included, the team would still have major league ready talent to throw in the lineup/rotation. Like Rob said, we dealt Kazmir while we were only 3.5 games back. If they get a legitimate package that cashes in on the high value of the market and terrific recent play of Price, they have to take it. These next few days will be extremely critical, not for the rays, but for their opponents. Despite our hot play, the orioles keep winning, as well as the Angels, Mariners, and Blue Jays. Also, all those teams have added talent to prepare for the postseason (blue jays likely will add a bat). Being too far back this late really proves that EVERY game counts. Games in April are just as important as they are in September. Maddon and the squad often says "its just one game," but every year we seem to be in this situation where that one game would have made all the difference.

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    • monte says:

      Kazmir was not pitching anywhere like Price. He was getting into the 5th and walking 4-6 and that was about it. I don't think we can compare the potential of a Price trade with Kazmir. There was no way Scott Kazmir was going to help the Rays make the playoffs the way he was pitching, but Price can.

      I would hate to see David Price go, but as you guys have analyzed it, many of you savvy observers think it could result in a better future for the Rays. I appreciate all your thoughtful observations and comments.

      You guys know a lot more about baseball than I do. The only thing I know is that the team with the most runs wins, and the team with the most wins makes it into the playoffs. The Rays have a hill to climb.

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      • Dave L says:

        Good point.

        Kaz ERA was near 6.00 and the Rays thought he was breaking down and Wade Davis was a suitable replacement.

        All were borne out to be true.

        There is no replacement for DP.

        We get weaker, but thats ok. Let just go into this with our eyes wide open.

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  3. Skateman says:

    It makes sense to wait, I guess. But I sure hope they aren't fooled by this run. This isn't a World Series team. It's also very unlikely to be a playoff team. We have a chance to really pick up some fantastic pieces for 2015 and beyond. Heck switching out Price for Walker might not even make a huge difference in wins and losses for us in 2014! But we'll have Walker and tons more payroll flexibility for the next 5-6 years, too.

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  4. Dave L says:

    Keep in mind our trading partner must have better hoes than us of making the playoffs THIS year to be really itching t make a deal.

    The M's are in a real tough division. A's are the best team in MLB, Angels are 2nd best in the AL and Seattle is even 6.5 games behind them. They better not fall apart in the next week and fall so far back it looks hopeless.

    I hope its the M's because that Jack Z is a brain dead GM who shoots from the hip and makes desperation moves so AF can fleece him like country bumpkin. First he way overpays for Cano and then starts stockpiling bulky slow footed 1B/DH types in the off season for Lord knows why..

    So know hes painted into a corner. He cant wait for Walker to develop because by then RC and Iwakuma will be in decline. So he has to win NOW! or he's doomed.

    Dont be surprised if Zobrist brings as much in return or more that Price in the long run. That successful stint earlier of flawless SS play means teams know they can stick him anywhere they have holes. Plus I bet teams know Zobrist would sign a much easier, quicker extension for shorter time and money and may give them more potential WAR than Price.

    We just have to root for Price to keep dealing and Zo to keep raking and Seattle to stay with striking distance of the Angels

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  5. Jim says:

    Dave,
    That's part of the issue with waiting. Right now the M's are 2nd in the wildcard and hope that a trade will keep them there or actually improve them. If we wait until the deadline, they may go on a skid and be completely out of it, thus no way in hell they trade. We're gambling on one week to "make" us, while one week may "break" on of our potential trade partners. We need to move now.

    Our problem is that we are last in the AL, and if you look at the schedule of the teams ahead of us, there’s a ton of divisional matchups. So basically if two of the teams go into big nose dives, the other teams will gain wins and are already ahead of us also.

    Orioles – 10 divisional series
    Toronto -13 divisional series
    Boston – 11 divisional series
    New York – 12 divisional series

    In addition, if Cleveland, CWS, Seattle, or KC goes on a roll, then we are hosed. We need to play lights out and we need a tremendous amount of help.

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  6. rickreyn says:

    I know the gurus see the dollars and sense in all of this, but if Price and Zobrist are dealt, the Rays shut down for the season, and this fickle market will trickle through the turnstiles from here on out. Do the Rays really want August and September to be totally lost. Opportunity costs. And I understand Price having to leave--I guess--but why not keep Zobrist, the ultimate utility player and ambassador to the community?

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  7. doug says:

    These next five games will tell the story. One very good team (on the road) and one very hot, under achieving, team...If there are at least four wins, no trades. Three wins probably at least one trade. Two wins or less, then trades will occur. The Rays have to keep the pedal down and accomplish the highly improbable...I will go even further, IF they lose two in St. Louis, the trades are on, IMO. They must demonstrate their ability to beat a playoff team on the road to give some assurance they can actually belong in the playoffs. This IS playoff baseball being played right now.

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    • bbmern says:

      They beat Detroit three out of four on the road, so why not St. Louis? I hope they can do this and keep Zoe and Price for a little while longer.

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    • Woodrow744 says:

      Right on, Doug. Playoff baseball indeed. One more point: is there any better pitcher in baseball right now than DP? Could he dominate for another 8 to 10 years? This guy might end up being the Bob Gibson of our times, plus he's the heart and soul of our dugout. The front office of this team certainly CAN trade him, but we've just accepted the fact he WILL be traded. Right now, I'm not sure I'd get rid of a guy who appears to be driving himself to Cooperstown. Hey Stu, crunch them numbers and make Price a Ray for life!

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  8. doug says:

    One final comment. The Rays have played 100 games. To get to 81 wins or.500 for the season, the Rays must play .548 baseball the rest of the season. That is better than ANY team in the division has played so far this year. The Orioles lead the division with.544. To get to 87 wins it is .645 or as good as Oakland has played this year. It is .717 to get to 90. Whether a trade will be made will be based on maximizing value and not merely for increasing chances of a playoff appearance.

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  9. David Spenn says:

    Since June 22nd-07/21

    (Games gained)

    Yankees - 5.5
    Mariners - 3
    Royals - 7
    Indians - 3
    Twins - 8
    Rangers - 12
    Red Sox - 4.5
    White Sox - 4
    Astros - 7.5
    Blue Jays - 7
    Orioles - 1.5

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    • Jim says:

      David,
      The problem is that since July 4th, we've really only gained more than a game on Toronto in the AL east and we went 9-3. We have to win heads up, and hope that a bunch of teams start taking a crap.

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  10. David Spenn says:

    Doug Wrote: These next five games will tell the story. One very good team (on the road) and one very hot, under achieving, team…If there are at least four wins, no trades. Three wins probably at least one trade. Two wins or less, then trades will occur. The Rays have to keep the pedal down and accomplish the highly improbable…I will go even further, IF they lose two in St. Louis, the trades are on, IMO. They must demonstrate their ability to beat a playoff team on the road to give some assurance they can actually belong in the playoffs. This IS playoff baseball being played right now.
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    I've maintained that the Rays need to go 8-3 in their last eleven in July. So far, so good. And to go 8-3, the Rays need to go 5-3 over the next eight, which is why sweeping the Twins was important for a little cushion.

    On June 22nd I stated the Rays needed to be at 13-7 in the last twenty pre-All Star break which would put them at nine are ten games back of first place in position. They hit the mark on the head, and were 9.5 out of first.

    The goal now for the Rays is to be at or near six games out by the last few days of July 31st. The Rays already know what the "price" is for David and even Zo, so they can wait as long as possible. Someone will be willing to overpay if that ends-up being the case, but with the Rays playing the best baseball in the entire league, why not hold tight as Cork alludes to by waiting a week or more on up until the deadline. Even a trade of one or both is not writing off the season, but you best chance would be to retain both obviously with their experience and value to the ball-club.

    A 4-5 mark by the Orioles to close out July, coupled by a 5-3 mark by Tampa Bay would reach the goal of the Rays at 6.5 games back starting August with seven games left head-to-head vs. the Orioles.

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  11. David Spenn says:

    Question is....do the Rays add bullpen help?

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    • doug says:

      "Whether a trade will be made (or not) will be based on maximizing value and not merely for increasing chances of a playoff appearance."
      The Rays playoff chances have to be secondary to the values being generated by the player's performances now and the teams seeking services assessment of their immediate needs..limited supply and high demand means increasing value...it is pure economics...

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      • David Spenn says:

        I realize it's "pure economics" and I agree the Rays need to maximize value. That's not to say the Rays can't get the same type of value in the offseason. We're only speculating at this point. The best form of economics is to win the world series. The best chance the Rays have at winning are with Zo and Price respectively. Only the media is saying we need and ought to trade the Rays, and speculating on what teams may or may not be willing to give-up at this point. The Rays will do what's best for them.

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  12. Dave L says:

    On the other hand.....

    We start out 1-4 or 0-3 and its a pretty short 7 days and it prolly time to cut bait

    Not that I'm hoping for it but its only 8 games left before the deadline, an off day.

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    • Vaidol says:

      So we have to win win win!

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    • doug says:

      Props to the team. Another clutch road win against a good team. Since June 11 the record is 24-11; an improbable .686, which is what they need the rest of the way to win 90 games...keeping hope alive!

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  13. Vaidol says:

    The sad thing about the Rays is that, They develop great talent and sell them off to teams that only want to win. The Rays head office is business minded only and just looking for a good deal. If the cared even one tincey wincey bit about the team as a whole they would FIRSTLY move the teams home stadium to TAMPA where people will come in droves! Secondly stop the wholesale dismantling of a team that is on a winning streak. Have trouble paying Price? See Firstly, above. Third if there is any talk about trading it should involve any player batting 200 or below. The best trade we have made were Pena and Upton, strike out with bases loaded kings.
    Stop crying about bottom dollar and just pay him what he deserves, we will still have a very low payroll and a better chance of winning one in five games if we have 300 hitters and stop blowing saves in the 9th inning. Bench Balfour until he regains his control, Oviedo was also all over the place Sunday. Stop talking trade unless the above names are what your talking about.
    There are so many fans that will boycott the rays if you give away Price and Zobrist including me. Why watch a team that doesn’t care about winning? I am a native Tampon (I know lol) and I want to be watching a contending team that cares about dominating, not the one who has the biggest profit margin.

    Move the team pay the Price!

    Talking about Kazmir? What if we hadn't traded him and he was still here? Who cares what he did except for being the only no hitter pitcher in a Rays uniform!

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  14. Vaidol says:

    We cannot afford to lose ZOBRIST!!!! he is the Bang bang for us, do not let him play against us ever!!!!!

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  15. Vaidol says:

    Third in the AL in fewest errors...! Rays. F yeah...

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  16. Vaidol says:

    Don't talk about Loney. I am keeping him forever as a RAY!

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  17. Vaidol says:

    If you have to moderate??? Get on faster!!!!!

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  18. Vaidol says:

    Odorizzi .. A superstar in High school,,,, lays down a punch out bunt!!! He is a keeper..! Please don't trade him..... RM rays Management have given away so many talented players. Keep the right players. don't give them away..!!!

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  19. Vaidol says:

    StL comentators stink.. TB are awesome...

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  20. mp645 says:

    What you have to start thinking when discussing David Price is when is he going to need Tommy John's surgery. Time is running out for him and both the stress of pitching 120 pitch games and his advancing age is going to catch up with him. Catching up sooner than later? Deal him now so the Rays don't have to pay $13 million to have him only be a dugout cheerleader.

    Zoby is expendable. He will be missed but also we have such a great group of farm teams to gather players from. We lose minor league players to other teams because the Rays have kept some players for years. Changing minor league teams is the only way some gifted minor leaguers have to get an opportunity to the MLB.

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    • Vaidol says:

      $13m is cheap for Price, pay it! Rays payroll is $77m 28th out of 30 teams and only Houston and Miami have lower payrolls, the team makes >$167m, PAY the MAN. Move the team to Tampa, why is this still a question. The Trop sucks, takes an hour to get out of the parking lot even though there's only 16,000 people there. The only thing good about it is A/C, the location and highway access is flat out terrible. Every time I go, I complain about how long it takes to get to the highway, then another hour to get home. The new field should be easily accessible, not an hour from Tampa, have a retractable roof and real grass. The threat of St Pete suing the team should be handled like gentlemen and get them to agree to let the team go in the best interest of the team..

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