David Price

“Well, that sucked … There has to be more … The Rays got hosed … ”

Those were some of my initial reactions to the trade that sent David Price to the Detroit Tigers in a 3-team deal for pitcher Drew Smyly, infielder Nick Franklin (from Seattle), and shortstop prospect Willy Adames.

The biggest problem with the deal is that it doesn’t have the sexiness of a deal that lands 2-3 big prospects where we can all salivate about their potential and upside and ignore the risks.

In this deal, the Rays gave up some of the sex appeal but also gave up some of the risk normally associated with Rays trades. The Rays also got one player that can help right now and one that will help as soon as the Rays trade Ben Zobrist this offseason.

That being said, there are still things to like about this trade. Here are three of them, one for each player, and we won’t even talk about the money saved.

1. The Rays can control Drew Smyly for four years.

The Rays can pencil Smyly into the rotation for the next four years. That’s about 140 starts, or about 130 more starts than what the Rays would have gotten from Price had they kept him until the off-season.

Smyly is never going to be Price but we also don’t have to worry about hoping he will be good. There is no worrying about when Smyly will be ready or if he will even be good enough. He is a good, left-handed pitcher with a career ERA of 3.46 and a FIP of 3.53, which suggests that he hasn’t been lucky. He also has a very good 3.23 strikeout-to-walk ratio which suggests that he will continue develop and pitch well.

He also has a low groundball rate (39.6%) which is even lower this year (36.9). If you recall, we looked at the evolution of the Rays’ pitching staff, and the Rays seem to have a growing appreciation for pitchers that give up more flyballs, which may be easier outs at The Trop. In other words, he is good, and the Rays probably think he will be even better making half of his starts at The Trop.


2. Nick Franklin looks an awful lot like Ben Zobrist.

Franklin and Zobrist are both tall, switch-hitting middle infielders with good, but not great gloves. Like Zobrist, Franklin can also play third base and both corner outfield spots.

Not convinced yet? Take a look at the final two minor league seasons for both players. For Zobrist we’ll use 2006-07 (162 games, he only played 24 games in 2008). For Franklin we will use 2013-14 (114 games).


Pretty scary, huh?

Now consider that Zobrist hit a home run once every 60.6 at bats during that stretch and Franklin hit one once every 32.4 at bats. Zobrist’s power came later and the Rays may see the same development coming in Franklin.

Oh yeah, and Zobrist was 25 and 26 during those seasons and Franklin is three years younger at the same level of development.

He even looks a little bit like Zorilla.


3. You may not have heard of that other kid but he is pretty good.

Willy Adames is in his first season in the United States and is already the youngest position player in the single-A Midwest League.

He does strikeout a lot (24.0% this season), but he has a nice .346 OBP (.355 wOBA). He also has a big .353 batting average on balls in play, which means he has been really lucky, or he is hitting the ball consistently hard. Scouting reports suggest the latter, with one report saying he has “plus bat speed through the zone.”

Jim Callis called Adames his “favorite deep sleeper” in the Tigers’ system and says he projects as a third baseman.

Here is a home run he hit earlier this year.



  1. J 2.0 says:

    Cork, you are the eternal optimist. I'm still going to be disappointed for a little while though. Up until it happened I was still hoping the Dodgers would swoop in with Joc Pederson.

  2. Mobula says:


  3. Madman says:

    Your initial reactions are more accurate. Traded a recent Cy Young pitcher in his prime for a utility player, a middle of the rotation guy, and an 18 year old 'sleeper' prospect in single A. Brilliant job Freidman! That's the deal they had to get done NOW? No Oscar Tavares? Smh

  4. Ken H says:

    Cork, I hold you in the highest regard. Friedman should memorize this post prior to addressing the media. Respectfully, I ain't buying what you're selling here. Compare this move to those made by the Sox. Which team will profit more, short term and long term? The Sox might very well sign Lester, bump up to secure Cespedes, flip Craig for Napoli this off-season and get a comp pick. Your best case pales in comparison. Craig comes pretty cheap, so does Cespades. Luke Scott/Allen Craig? Cespedes/DeJesus? Why not trade Zo for Franklin straight up if they're so similar?
    Fans will see this a an all-out, panicked salary dump move. I'm afraid your scenario, while well thought out and hopefully accurate, won't wash with the faithful. I had seats to a lot of future games, now donated to charity, that will go to a bunch of kids so they can dig baseball. I did this because I couldn't fathom sitting in the Trop with 8,000 plus in attendance. I have given up on this season, many of my friends have also. Today's moves are most disappointing.

  5. Cyndi says:

    Sounds good enough. but like many fans, i'm just gonna be sad for awhile. trades are inevitable, but this one bothers me more than most.

  6. zenny says:

    This is a good, level-headed analysis, imo. It's very upsetting to lose Price, who is both a great pitcher and a great guy, and at first glance the return seemed minimal. But the more I research these guys, the more I see what Friedman and Co. were thinking. They may have gotten three pretty good pieces for the near future, maybe enough to justify trading away a season and a half of one of the best starters in baseball.

    However, in the short term, the white flag has been waved, at least by the front office.

  7. Scott Caruso says:


    FWIW I agree with you after my initial shock at the lack of "names" that came back. The Rays got back some certainty (and insurance), plus a Plan-B if they do get a decent haul for Zobrist (who, due to his WAR, flexibility, and relative-cost control, should do just that). People are assuming that the Rays had all of these other tremendous offers on the table for a player that is going to make ~$20 million next year. The fact that teams knew the Rays couldn't pay that killed their leverage, and also limited the number of teams that could match up both now and in the offseason, especially since teams will have lots of free agent options that will come without having to give up any prospects.

    It's not a great trade for sure, but it's also not the "OH MY GOD FIRE FRIEDMAN HE IS THE WORST" deal that the IBC would have you believe.

    • Ken H says:

      Scott, if that's what the Rays were looking for all along, don't you think they should have traded him long before the market got cluttered with other marquee starters? That's when they lost leverage. Beane, Dombroski and Cherington just made AF look like a complete fool.

      • Scott Caruso says:

        I definitely think that there is probably SOME truth to that; my guess - and, again, there is no way to no for sure without being on the phone - is that he really thought that he would get a better offer by playing hardball. Some teams made trades that don't fit the Rays' profile (Cespedes, for instance, wouldn't have been the kind of deal we would have made for a variety of reasons), but others beat the Rays to the punch. It's entirely plausible that part of this was that he misjudged the market (and, by proxy, perhaps he was worried that it would further devalue in the off-season when teams knew he REALLY had to trade him).

        Again, total speculation. Who knows what kinds of offers he was getting a week or two or three ago? But it does seem like some of the other GMs beat Friedman to a market that he may have miscalculated.

  8. Gus says:

    Citing a Dominican player's youth as a plus may be one of the more desperate attempts to find silver linings on a dark day I have ever seen. I'm setting the over/under on his MLB starts at 100.

    John Lackey returned far more than David Price today.


  9. jeff says:

    I am not buying what you are selling. Unlike what the rays have done here.

  10. Hurricanes says:

    C'mon Cork, I have too much respect for you to think you really believe that stuff. Ken H. (above) really nailed it.

  11. edward williams says:

    Ok i looked up franklin's numbers from last year, 12 errors, .225 ba, 45 rbi's, and 12 homers. That actually does fit this team. I know he is still young but when are we going to stop letting go of our star players, i keep hearing it's the way the rays have to do things, i may be naive, but i don't believe it for a second,now i'm not saying that we shouldn't have traded price, but i just don't feel right about what we got in return. Once again when they needed a bat they went out and got an arm. I know "it takes two to tango" but all week we kept hearing how the ray's had it made, could do anything they wanted. THIS,??? I really hope that these two player, (not counting the youngster down in single a ball) pan out , I am still a fan and will cheer them on, but this ownership is really starting to grate on my nerves. lol oh by the way franklin only makes 510,000 dollars. Not sure what smyle makes i will try to find it. GO RAYS

  12. joe dunn says:

    I used to think we were set at 3rd for many years, now I worry about Longo's and his diminishing BA and slugging stats.

    We need to plan for a replacement down the road.... sad

    The sadness of losing DP will pass.....it has to.

    I was NOT assuming they made the playoffs and I for sure didnt want to witness a one game elimination via poor hitting (again)

  13. Mike says:

    How many times do AF and JoMa have to prove doubters wrong? Sure, they don't ALWAYS make the right call. But do you?

    Didn't think so.

    Nice post Cork. Let's see how everything plays out before everyone starts abandoning the team. True fans stick with the team through the thick and the thin. It's about the game being played on the field, and the players that play it for our entertainment.

  14. edward williams says:

    ok , smyly's numbers aren't that bad and i believe hickey and the staff will make him better, for me that is the only bright spot of this trade, oh and his salary this year is 520,000 dollars. Sooo , the rays are saving a bundle , look i don't blame the owners for wanting to make more money , and they did spend alot in this past off season, but if you keep saying that you can't afford to put out a competative team , one that will go further than one and done ,maybe you should sell the team. GO RAYS

    • Sean says:

      Do you actually want this ownership to sell the team? They guided it out of the crap heap to where it is now - perennial playoff contenders.

    • Rob says:

      A middling starting pitcher: $520,000
      Another second baseman: pro-rated major league minimum when he's called up for a few days
      An 18-year-old SS: $50 per diem
      A team without their Cy Young pitcher: "Price"less

  15. Lyle says:

    I really hope this does work out but I, like the Rays, will save money next year by watching them at home and not renewing my season tickets. I still love the Rays but I, too, see a way to save money.

    • Ken H says:

      Lyle, you make a very important point, one that apparently evades the Rays Mgt. We in the Bay area do have a multitude of entertainment choices. We also have a lower per capita income compared to most other MLB cities. To lure our recreational dollars takes some effort. I'm retired, I can take my grandson fishing for about ten bucks or take him to a Rays game for fifty. We've both become good fishermen and I've taught him to love baseball. If don't do a better job at getting my attention than to continue complain about money they aren't getting mine anymore. Owning a sports franchise is a lot like running a 5 star restaurant. If you want to bitch about the price of beef you shouldn't be in the business.

      • Joe Dunn says:

        I also think when they looked at this market for a franchise they greatly over-estimated how many baseball fans would support the LOCAL team and not hang on to their northern/childhood/30 years ago franchise loyalty. Good lord, far too many seats are filled by the other teams' fans.
        I personally know several people that are diehard Rays fans that gave up their previous teams and it is NOT that hard to do. The players you grew up idolizing are DEAD now!!
        The rotten economy has NOT improved enough for many....period.

  16. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    Here's an interesting scenario that I just thought out in my own mind; if the Rays had traded Price to Seattle for Walker and Franklin there'd probably be the exact opposite conversation happening (including from me); a lot of 'Nice. Genius move to get a great pitching prospect and a baby Zobrist' or 'Walker is as close to a sure thing as you can get and Franklin is a Rays-like player so this trade is a definite win-win', etc.

    Instead, it's an all out fall out across the Rays-iverse.

    But step back like Cork said and consider the following... instead of a cross your fingers and hope he's as good as advertised Walker you get a reliable middle of the rotation guy, a known entity, as opposed to a wing and a prayer (as most all prospects are). And the Rays get a guy they've been eyeing for a long time in Franklin. Adames is an absolute unknown so it really does no good to even speculate his value in all of this.

    The deal looks bad, hell, the deal probably is bad, but it's not all that different than what we wanted to begin with- just not with a sexy name attached.

    If Walker blows out his arm and needs Tommy John next season and Smyly wins, say, 13 games then the deal looks pretty good in the short term. If Walker has great velo but no control in the majors and Smyly gives the Rays 4 years of 13 wins then it looks good in the long term too. In the world of pitching consistency is king and Smyly has shown himself to be consistent so we as Rays fans should acknowledge that, swallow the giant pill AF just handed us and keep on keepin' on.

    • Ken H says:

      Mr. Smith, a lot of us are looking for any semblance of a logical explanation to help swallow that pill. Problem is that it's really much bigger than what the Doc prescribed and he's using a hell of a lot of if's when explaining it's potency. Hell, most of us don't know if it's A-dam-es' or Adams and a hell of a lot of us can't even type Smiley. 🙂

  17. J 2.0 says:

    Cork, off topic here. Mikie Mahtook looks pretty good on paper right now, strikeouts aside, where do you see the Rays going with him? He has to be a September call up right? The outfield is just so crowded.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I've watched a bunch of Bulls games this year and Mahtook has surprised me a bit. I always had him pegged as a bigger Sam Fuld that could come in and be a nice 4th outfielder off the bench. Now I'm starting to think he might be a little more than that. If I had to guess, I'd say his upside is now a little closer to what Joyce does now (as far as playing time). I don't think he will ever be an everyday guy with the Rays (few are), but I think his aggressiveness, defense, and speed can make him a regular guy in the lineup either in 2015 or 2016 at the latest.

    • Chris says:

      Unfortunately it seems like triple A pitching is catching up to Mahtook. He's in a heck of a slump right now and doesn't really look like he's going to pull himself out of it. By September, he'll be .275 or lower. Not sure this is really his year to make the bigs (nor was it ever supposed to be). Will be interesting to watch going forward, but the Rays don't tend to bring up much of the outfield talent from the Bulls (Dez and K squared being the exception).

      Another interesting outfielder in the system now is Jeremy Moore. He's been absolutely on fire since his call up to the Bulls. Not sure what the long term plans are there either, but he's more of a classic power hitting outfielder.

  18. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    FINALLY!!! A like button!

    • Ken H says:

      I just liked you. Like yourself and you're ahead of Jim. LOL. Good Grief, what a weird flippin' day.

  19. Sean says:

    Cork -

    My trust in the FO is deep. That said, this deal looks like absolute crap on paper. I think FO hedged their bets by giving us a chance to be in contention in September (I think they still will be) but not having to hold on to DP and sell him at lower value in the offseason. I think part of the reason people feel this way is because they traded Shields for Myers and Odorizzi and they expected at least the same for Price, which is obviously not the case here.

    As soon as I saw the deal, the first question I asked was "Did they really think they couldn't get a better deal in the offseason?". I still feel the same exact way. Shields had two years left and Price has one, I get that. But this trade is as underwhelming as the Shields trade was overwhelming.

    That said, if Smyly pans out into a 13-15 guy and Franklin gives us Zobrist like numbers, I guess I'd be OK with it.

    I think the saddest thing about all of this for everyone -- the elephant in the room -- is that we're saying goodbye to all those magic kids from 2008. There are so few left now. We've had to tell Carl, BJ, Big Game James, and now DP goodbye (I guess toss in Kaz if you want but that trade was needed at the time). It's sad. DP had one of the most iconic images in Rays history at the end of game 7. I hope someday he comes back to retire here.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      "As soon as I saw the deal, the first question I asked was "Did they really think they couldn't get a better deal in the offseason?" "

      IMHO, this is the best argument against the deal. I'm not saying it is a great. I'm just saying it is not as bad as many are portraying and there are things to like about it. That being said, I would agree, they probably could have gotten a similar package this winter. We'll never know. But I would be surprised if they couldn't get at least this at the Winter Meetings.

      • Rob says:

        I agree. As a matter of fact, I think the Tigers could use him to win the WS and then trade him (or Verlander) this winter and get back more than what they gave up.

  20. angrybuddha says:

    I haven't read all the comments yet, so I may be repeating something here...

    As well much as Nick Franklin looks like a young Ben Zobrist, let's remember that we traded *Aubrey Huff* for him. Aubrey Who? right. exactly.

    Ask me if I'd like to trade Aubrey Huff for Ben Zobrist and it's Benzo all the way.

    Ask me if I'd like to trade David Price for someone who *might* be Ben Zobrist. No thank you. And, just for asking, I'll say good day and ask you to show yourself to the door.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I understand what you are saying, but 2 points: 1) Franklin isn't the main piece in this deal. He is the second piece; and 2) I'm not sure the Rays knew what Zobrist was when they traded for him. I think they saw *something* and it worked out. They may have a bit more confidence in the formula now, whatever it may be, because Zobrist worked out so well.

      • Ken H says:

        So I guess what you're saying is that Smyly is the first piece? How in the world did we go from Tavares or Pederson to Smyly in 48 hours? I just can't follow this. Why didn't we just wait? How much less would we have gotten if all MLB teams had a shot to propose something?

      • MADMAN says:

        You know it's a bad trade when there's really no main piece in the deal. Still can't believe THIS is the deal they had to pull the trigger on now. Well, at least teams will no longer be afraid to make trades with the Rays.

    • Sean says:

      Well, I mean the counter argument to that would be nobody knew who Zobrist was back in 05 (or 06, whenever that deal went down) and Huff was one of our biggest sluggers back then (*barf*). It's a weak counter argument though. Price is an all star and a Cy Young winner.

      The Sox got Joe Kelly and Allen freaking Craig for JOHN LACKEY. And this is the best we could come up with? Seriously? Geez.

      • OriginalTom says:

        I would rather have Franklin/Smyly than Craig/Kelly. Because
        1) Kelly has been hurt
        2) Smyly has a better K rate by about 2.5K's per 9 innings and a better walk Rate
        3) Smyly has a better FIP 3.53 VS. 4.0
        4) Craig is a 30 yo 1B who is hitting .237/.291/.346 this season.
        5) Craig has also been hurt quite a bit and has only had 2 good season.

        Also I believe Lackey has a vesting option where his contract calls for him to mak 500K next season which is about 40 times less than what Price will make.

  21. Joe Dunn says:

    I actually liked Huff.....met him twice. Cool guy. And he could hit......we didnt have much else to be excited about then at the plate.Once he started wanting 4 or 5 mill a year, they dumped him. One of the funny things he said was "you have to be able to play well hungover"

  22. OriginalTom says:

    To take the comparison of Zo and Franklin one step further- Zobrist through his first 530 MLB PA (06-08) .222/.279/.370. Franklin through his first 464 MLB PA .214/.291/.358

    Also intersting to note that of the Rays current 5 man rotation Smyly has the 2nd best K/9 rate, the best BB/9 rate. a tie for the best FIP ( He and Cobb are at 3.53) and just behind Cobb nd Archer in ERA (3.42 Cobb, 3.43 Archer and 3.46 Smyly).

    All that being said I still thought they would received more and I will miss Price.

  23. Jay says:

    I think you are all spoiled ass babies. Im giving season tickets here and Im staying home and blah blah blah

    The overall state of this team and ystem is very good due to the good things that AF HAS done, like fleecing Dayton Moore in the Shields deal, they CANT ALL BE LIKE THAT.

    Here is what we have that is Major league, or ML ready right now

    Odorizzi (looking like Shields clone)
    --------- Close



    T. Bexx (still havent given up)

    S Rod (2nd on team in HR, never complains)


    Plus good young relievers....

    Its not the end, we were winning games with Price pitching every 5th day, we will continue to win games with Smyly pitching every fifth day.

    Chill, its not all bad

  24. Skateman says:

    In addition to the trade, I hate the new likes and dislikes buttons.

  25. J 2.0 says:

    I'm currently listening to "What is and What Should Never Be" so the trade isn't so horrible for the next 4 minutes and 46 seconds. Odorizzi is more of an Alex Cobb clone than Shields bro. I have been saying Odorizzi reminds me of Cobb since I first saw him pitch.

    "Misty Mountain Hop" just came on.

    I honestly was not very big on Tijuan Walker. But I thought we would get either Joc Pederson or Oscar Tavares. So when I heard Detroit was in on it, I had no clue who they had in the farm.

    "South Bound Suarez" In Through the Out Door is truly an underrated album. The band even says "It wasn't them" but I like it. Had some great tunes on there.

    Either way I am sure the Rays can make this work,

  26. Steve says:

    This trade was far from "brilliant" IMO. The biggest point I think the Friedman apologists are missing is that we should have received more in return. Sure, we got a good pitcher who MIGHT be good enough to be our 4th starter, and an infielder who MIGHT be the next Zobrist, or possibly the next Nick Green. That's great and everything, but this is nowhere near the return we should have got for David Price, leverage or no leverage. Not even close.

    Had we received another big piece from Seattle (Paxton, Peterson, Zunino) I think most fans would have been content with the trade. But we inexplicably didn't, and it's incredibly frustrating. There's no freakin way this is the best we could get for David Price.

    • Joe Dunn says:

      I respect AF's track record......and this was no home run for sure. More like a single or double. I think the marketplace changed because of Red Sox and all of a sudden he as in a card game with a good hand, but not the BEST hand. And nobody would raise him anyway. He is not gonna miss writing David the checks for Aug/Sept/Oct.

      Do you think he has become stupid, cheap or both?

  27. ryan says:

    Friedman got worked in this situation. There is no way of spinning this. He overplayed his hand and other teams made deals in the meantime. We gave up a Cy Young pitcher for two MLB players who'll never sniff All-Star consideration and an 18 year old who is still 4+ seasons away from maybe being MLB quality.

  28. Jim says:

    To quote paraphrase Friedman a couple of weeks ago, “we have to trade David Price for the future of this team” yet we got a #3 or #4 starter, a very questionable 2nd baseman, and an 18 yr old giant question mark. THIS is the future he was talking about?

    Yet we decide to hold onto Ben Zobrist, and we could have made a deal with the A’s(widely for their top prospect and quiet possibly the M’s top prospect a couple of weeks ago. Instead, AF looks back at the miracle run and convinces himself that we can make the most historic run in baseball history. That is 100% pathetic, especially considering the years that both of them were having.

    Now combine the horrific trade scenario with signing Balfour, Bell, Oviedo, and Glass Hannigan and you can easily make the case that Friedman was easily the worst GM in major league baseball this year. I’ve said it time and time again, Andrew Friedman is given way too much credit for the success of this team. Pitching is what makes this organization. Jim Hickey is 10x more important to this franchise than Andrew Friedman.

    But hey, maybe we can tank and get the #1 pick, surely Friedman can’t screw that up. Puff, Puff, Pass, Tim Beckham.

  29. Grant says:

    There was only one reason this trade was made.... $$$$$. The Rays will save having to pay the hefty price tag for Price, they'll trade Zobrist in the off season and sure up approx. $20M in spending money. Not that they'll use it all, but it'll be there.

  30. AJNO says:

    NUMBER 4) The Rays save $30+MM!!!! For a team like Tampa, i really think that might be #1, but theyll never say it. I truly believe the emergence of Cobb is what finally pushed AF to pull the trigger. This year, i still think the rays can compete. Next year, we'll have Moore, Cobb, Smyly, Odorizzi, & some combination of Hellboy, Karnes, Romero. Lets assume Hellboy raturns to form, or Romero becomes a


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