USATSI_7985026_154511044_lowresLast night I outlined three reasons why the David Price trade was a brilliant move. A lot of fans disagreed. But in shooting down my case, most of those were actually arguing something else.

There are two different ways to look at the Price trade: 1) Did the Rays get good pieces in return?; and 2) Could they have gotten a better deal if they waited? Or even better, could the Rays have gotten the same deal this winter if they waited and kept Price for the rest of the season?

I don’t see a problem with arguing in favor of both points. The problem is, we don’t know the answer to the second (and third) and can only guess.

Buster Olney asked around Major League Baseball and the consensus he got was that people were surprised the Rays didn’t get more:

Notice that Olney doesn’t say that people think the trade was bad, just surprised it wasn’t more. Olney went on ESPN Radio this morning and clarified his comments and this is where the Rays may now be victims of their own success.

“Remember, that surprise that the Rays didn’t do better is framed by the incredible respect people with other teams have for the Rays ability to make trades,” Olney said on ESPN Radio. “They have a reputation among casual fans as a draft-and-develop team. That’s not the case. Their strength has been in making trades. And that’s why after the trade last night, you heard from so many people around baseball saying ‘wow’.”

In other words, people were surprised the Rays weren’t able to rob another team of their entire farm system like they did with the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal and the Royals with the James Shields trade (which, by the way, the Rays also gave up a second pitcher). And now Rays fans are angry because other teams are suddenly shy about just opening the vault and saying “take everything!”

Let’s face it, what General Manager out there is not going to hesitate now when dealing with Andrew Friedman? It has probably gotten to the point where if the Rays say they want a certain prospect, other teams are starting to think to themselves, “if the Rays like this kid, maybe we should hold on to him.”

Did the Rays get three very good pieces for Price? I think  so, even if they aren’t sexy. Could the Rays have gotten this same deal or even better this winter? Maybe, but we don’t know and neither does anybody else.

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36 Comments

  1. Nathan says:

    Cork,
    It's most surprising by the number of players coming back. I think if Seattle had thrown in one of it's better pitching prospects fans would be able to stomach it better. It "feels" like we got the short end this time, which our fan base knows we CANNOT afford. To be competitive, we have to win these trades.

    I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see Nick Franklin being Zobrist 2.0. That .214 BA is concerning.

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    • Jim says:

      Our outfield is crowded, our infield is set, where exactly would Franklin get playing time?

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      • Lane Meyer says:

        Don't be too concerned by Franklin's BA. He was only up for a month early this year and played 5 different positions because they had no spot once obtaining Cano. Last season was a longer look but still only 400 ABs. He's done well at AAA this year and I think we'll see a bit more when they call him up in September. Even with the bad average last year his numbers would have translated to about 18 HR/67 RBI for a full season. His strikeouts are down this season and fielding looks decent if he plays 2B. That means they probably shop Zobrist this winter (Hopefully for a catching prospect) for those of you scoring at home.

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  2. Jim says:

    A victim of their own foolishness is more like it. The miracle comeback season made them think they could repeat that effort and overcome a 95% chance of not making the playoffs. I stated there's a huge difference between chasing on team and the entire AL.

    There's not a single team in baseball, no matter what their record was, that wouldn't have offered the Rays the exact or better deal than they received yesterday when the Rays were 20 games out.

    Instead the organization spewed out "miracle season, remember the comeback", over and over. When all along they are a numbers based team and deep down they knew that too many thing had to happen for us to rise to the top. We finally opened our eyes and brains in the last seconds of the deadline and we took whatever offer was in front of us.

    I said over and over that the miracle season would haunt us for years. Yesterday was step one, and don't think it won't happen again. Massive failure by the front office in offseason moves and at the trade deadline.

    Go ahead hate away, but I am and have been 10000% correct on this the entire season. Especially the part about moving Price early before the market was crowded and it made us seem like we were desperate.

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    • Gus says:

      But that doesn't answer the question: why not wait until the winter?

      It was, without a doubt, a panic move, where the Rays reacted to a couple of close wins by Baltimore and a Red Sox fire sale helping the A's and decided they couldn't win in the playoffs if they even got there.

      But nobody has answered the question I raised above. And I don't think Friedman can either. Because this was a move to save $4M+, flat out. To increase the profits to the partnership. It was not a baseball move. It was to get what they could out of Price while returning profits to the partners (who they had probably promised with the increased budget -- if we are out of it, we'll trade Price.).

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      • Sean says:

        Well, that's business though. To most of the people running the show, that bottom line is all that matters

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      • OriginalTom says:

        I wish they had waited until winter too but there is no guarantee they would have received a better or even comparable offer in Winter.

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        • Gus says:

          The consensus from every other baseball writer(who are talking to rival GMs) is that they would have done at least as good and most likely better in the winter.

          So the only reason to do it now is the cold hard cash savings, and that stinks.

          The other thing that makes me laugh (in disgust) was all the quotes that an offer "would have to blow the Rays away" to get Price, and then the went out and pedaled him on extremely short notice and took a sub-market deal. That shows you that ownership made this call, and Friedman is the dumb dolt who had to execute it. Should have had another appendix attack like he did a few years ago at the deadline.

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          • OriginalTom says:

            "The consensus from every other baseball writer(who are talking to rival GMs) is that they would have done at least as good and most likely better in the winter."

            Why would teams pay more for 1 season of David Price tan for 1 Season and 2 months of David Price?

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          • Ken H says:

            One reason is simply that there would be more teams who might be willing to take the risk. Teams that feel they are 1/2 years away now would have the winter to fine tune their clubs through trades and/or other FA signings. Price may appeal to them as the player that puts them over the top. It's now a moot point anyway.
            Friedman's recent dealings is what sticks in my craw right now. Stewie gave him a lot of wiggle room last winter to make deals that would bring home a winner. He wasn't up to the task. Injuries didn't help for sure. But all and all, his skills as a GM have taken a big blow. Look at Oakland as a comparison. Same starting payroll as us. Same market as us. They draw not much better than us. Plenty of early injuries too. Yet they have the best record and we're wallowing next to last. Why? Billy Beane.
            On Thursday, at end of the day, Beane, Dombroski, Mozeliak and Cherington forced him to play a hand that he should have folded. He panicked and he whiffed. No guts no glory. We needed more from Seattle (Zunino or Peterson) and should have asked for it even if it meant throwing in Zo. No matter how you spin it this was a poor trade.

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    • Nick says:

      Jim I don't post very often. While I occasionally feel you have some valid points in your posts, your over all negativity and demeanor remind me of one of the most annoying posters I have ever read on this site. I am now seriously wondering if you are just Don posting under another name. Your posts almost always leave me feeling down even in the best of circumstances. We are all mourning the loss of David Price. Listening to you pass your self off as the smartest person in the room is too much to handle. Please just give us a moment of silence to morn the loss in our own way. Please go away from your computer and give us a break, say until Monday. OK! Thanks, Nick

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      • Jim says:

        Yeah it's easier to tell me to go away that say "we were wrong 100%" and you were dead on about the Price and Zobrist trade. It's much easier to say "take a break" than to say, "wow, maybe it was us that didn't know shit about baseball, and that you really do."

        Yes I'm posting to rub this shit in your faces, because I called all of this from back in May, I told you not to wait to move Price, I told you that Balfour was a wasted check, and I told you that the failures of this season/offseason and future would fall squarely into AF's lap. Basically stating that Pitching will hide a tremendous amount of FO missteps especially on a team with a budget. And yet I was told over and over to "STFU" and "I didn't know shit about baseball and AF was 100 times smarter than me".

        Now instead of giving me the kudos that i deserve, you want me to shut up again. Priceless (pun intended)!!!! If you had to rank AF's moves in the offseason up until yesterday, then it would easily be in the bottom 3 in the league. A desperate DL move to bring up KK was the ONLY thing he did, and that wasn't a decision, it was a must.

        A simple "You called it all along!!! and we we're completely wrong" will suffice, but you guys can't even manage that without being a tool.

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        • OriginalTom says:

          Cool Story, Bro

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          • Jim says:

            not a story, all facts, you can check all my posts. i called this all along. you guys were the positive koolaid drinkers. keep hating, but i was 100% right.

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      • angrybuddha says:

        Ah yes. Don.

        I didn't think I'd miss Don, but I kinda do.

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        • Jim says:

          Don made up shit and sniffed CC’s jock.

          I was 100% right on how this season would progress, on how the offseason was an abortion, and how AF would chase a dream and completely botch the trading deadline. Hate away, but you know I'm right, it's well documented in my posts.

          Don was an unintelligent asshole. I'm a very intelligent asshole who knows a hell of a lot more about baseball than just a bunch of fantasy stats, unlike most of you. Most of all I don't look at the Rays through dark blue tinted glasses, and I surely don't drink the wine/koolaid that JM and AF are serving. That’s the difference.

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          • OriginalTom says:

            Jim, How bout using some of your facts to respond to the questions I posted to you below?

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  3. Skateman says:

    A big issue I have is with the lack of lottery tickets. Maybe after Smiley and Franklin you don't get anyone else that's major league ready. But, geez, for David Price the Rays should have gotten back 5-6 players not 3 without a single super-star prospect. We got neither quality nor quantity. And that makes me think this deal was glued together the last day, hastily. Where are the Patrick Leonard's and Mike Montgomery's in this deal? The Mariner's didn't give up a single good prospect. Nothing. Detroit gave us just one.

    The only silver lining I can find here is that perhaps the Rays are exploiting the next market efficiency - former highly rated prospects that are still young but under-performing a bit. I think teams are definitely overvaluing unproven top prospects at the moment. But people are willing to throw top prospects that struggle initially (which is quite common) away for a lot less. Maybe this is what the Rays are doing here (in addition, of course, to freeing up $20 million next year).

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    • Sean says:

      You know the craziest thing about this deal? Seattle in essence traded Nick Franklin for Austin Jackson straight up.

      So Seattle walks away with Ajax, Detroit walks away with David Price, and we walk away with....Smyly.

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  4. Big Mo says:

    I think the other teams called Friedman's bluff. I think he may have been playing the interest of other teams in Price against potential trade partners. Once the big players St. Louis and Dodgers said they were out of the running we lost a lot of leverage. We had to make the trade, Baltimore and Toronto have been almost as hot as the Rays and we didn't gain much ground in the standings. Only time will tell if this trade was good. Smyly at 25 may develop to be better, wasn't Shields 26 when he came to the Rays? Zoberist will be gone after the season , can Franklin reach his potential? 2-3 yrs from now we will see what Adames can do.

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    • Gus says:

      Rays drafted Shields in a later round, back when Rays draft picks actually made the majors

      Sincerely, Chuck LaMar.

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      • Big Mo says:

        You're right. Drafted in 2000 and made Big League debut in 2006 as a 24 yr old. He was injured early on and really broke through in 2008 and had a helluva year in 2011. Hopefully Smyly can progress like Big Game James.

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  5. starmand says:

    I still feel that we could have, at least, bargained for J. Damon and L. Scott in that deal.

    That would have made the deal a bit sweeter for everyone including J. Molina.

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  6. Joe Dunn says:

    Friedmas winning percentage on deal making is still pretty high.

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    • Jim says:

      Balfour 2nd time - huge fail
      Heath Bell - huge fail
      Jessie Crane - huge fail
      Oviedo - fail
      Tim Beckham - huge fail
      Pena 2nd Time - Huge Fail
      Ryan Hanigan - Fail
      Letting Upton go for nothing - Fail
      Letting Crawford go for nothing - Fail
      Holding on to Reid Brignac for years - Fail
      Pat Burrell -epic Fail

      Other than the Shields/Davis for Odorizzi/Myers, which is still a wash because they will get a good comp pick for Shields, please show me ANY great moves that Friedman made or signed. The only deal that i see is locking up Longo.long term.

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      • OriginalTom says:

        Both Garza trades were huge wins
        Zobrist for Huff
        Pena First Time
        Kotchman
        Keppinger
        Cobb
        Jennings
        JP Howell
        Boxberger
        Loney
        Floyd
        Soriano
        Rodney

        Most of those signing you are calling huge fails were pretty minor signings

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        • Jim says:

          Most of the signings you listed were low dollar deals. mine were big $ signings by Ray standards, Bell, 2nd Balfour, 2nd Pena, Burrell. Hell those combined are a gigantic waste of money for the Rays.

          Jp howell? huh? desmond jennings? huh? hell most were low draft picks with no risk that turned into marginal mlb players due to existing marginal talent on the team.

          Rodney and Soriano were high dollar pickups that performed a little better than there salary and that was due to Jim Hickey, not AF.

          Chris archer for Garza was your best deal, other than that we haven't seen any of those players in that deal contribute anything. Pena the first time was a great pickup, the 2nd time was horrible.

          Kotch and Kepp were servicable and produced slightly above their low salary for the short time they were with the Rays.

          You're acting like AF is some sort of super GM and his signing we steller. I stated he struck out a ton on big signings, especially this year, and yes he completely dropped the ball this year hoping on a miracle season instead of cutting losses early and cashing in on very desirable assets.

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          • OriginalTom says:

            JP Howell for Joey Gathright was not a good deal?

            Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett for Delmon Young was not a good deal?

            Are you trying to tell me Zobrist for Huff was not a good deal?

            Also how exactly is Hanigan a fail?

            Pleas Jim answer these 4 questions for me.

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          • Jim says:

            Hanigan not a bust, BAHAHA!

            Billed as a great arm, good hitting, everyday catcher, basically supposed to start 4 out of every 5 games and take a load off of Molina

            He was a .262 career hitter and now has hit a whopping a .212 for the Rays. That's a .050 dropoff

            He's been on the DL twice and has not played in 47 games. in other words, he's missed 43% of the games.

            His CS% was .485 and .465 the past two years, for the Rays it's .269.

            That's a huge bust for a position that you only carry two roster spots for. Are you seriously going to give me "he was hurt"? Ok, he's a broken down bust.

            Can you imagine the pain and aches that Molina plays through? A catched HAS to durable. Hanigan has had tummy and hammy issues. I'm sure that 90% of the catchers have the same issues.

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          • OriginalTom says:

            Hanigan has only played over 100 game in his career and he played 112 that year why would you suddenly start expecting him to play 4 out of 5 games.

            The previous 4 years he had average 1.4 WAR and he is at .9 WAR so far this year so he is in line with his career numbers were you expecting Johnny Bench?

            As far as the injuries go, I do not have any inside info as to how badly he is hurt and neither do you so I will not comment on that.

            What about my other three questions above?

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          • Jim says:

            his batting average is way down.
            his CS is way down
            he's spend 2 stints on the DL

            he was brought in to keep the broken down Molina down to the sub 50 game started range. and to provide a great arm, more offense.

            which of those has he done.?

            1. Molina has players more games.
            2..Molina has thrown out more runners, and has a higher CS%
            3. Hanigan is hitting .212
            4. His K's/GAme is by far the highest
            5. His BB/K's is about half of what we expected.

            He's been a huge bust, sugar coat it all day long.

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  7. Gus says:

    As an aside -- chasing "the next Zobrist" is fast-becoming a huge anchor around this franchise's neck. As I've made the case here for several years, the Rays have used Zobrist's flexability against themselves, putting a bat that would be the best SS in the AL and moving him around to look clever.

    The Rays' best stretches have been when Zobrist plays SS (late 2012, 2014 with Escobar out) because it takes out a dead bat and puts in an OF who can hit into the lineup.

    But more than that -- any organization can fall in love with its past success stories and fail to realize that the world changes quickly, your competitors copy you, etc. The Dallas Cowboys made some smart draft picks from HBCs in the 1960s and 1970s, and became obsessesed with finding the hidden gems even when the top black players had moved on to the major conferences. I feel like the Rays are doing that with the "next Zobrist" quest. You'll never find another Zobrist. He is unique. Enjoy him. Forysthe and Franklin may be neat pieces, but they are not going to be Zobrist, a guy who improved dramatically offensively at the major league level.

    The charges that the Rays are victims of their own success is just crap, and Cork knows it. Sometimes you just make a bad trade. Yesterday was likely one of those days.

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  8. Lloyd says:

    The market for Price was always small. The Rays are not the only team that would love to have him but couldn't afford him.

    How was that going to change between now and winter? The only difference is in the winter those same teams would have multiple free agent
    options as well. It's truly baffling why anyone would think the return would have been greater this winter.

    We got the return we did from the Royals because they could afford Shields, along with 28 other bidders. The Rays only ever had about 8 bidders for Price. There's your difference in expectations and reality.

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  9. Steve says:

    I'm tired of the excuses. When you look at recent comparable trades, other teams got more for less. That's the bottom line. We were trading DAVID PRICE, not Tanyon Sturtze. The return we got for Price is unacceptable.

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  10. Ken H says:

    Well, it appears that the verdict is in. Olney’s informal poll of MLB insiders are surprised the Rays didn’t get more. I’ve reviewed most of the posts on RI and most commenter’s feel the same. No real surprise that Price was moved, a lot of surprise regarding the timing of the trade and the return.
    Yesterday most of us reacted negatively to the news. Today, after a night to mull over what happened, many of us are still unhappy. As fans we all wanted more. The Friedman apologists’ are beginning to appear. They’re telling us we need to suck it up and support this trade if we are true Rays fans. They’re telling us that while the players we got are not the cream of the crop now, they may be down the road. Trust AF they say. He knows more than we do. In the end, in order to remain Rays fans, most will accept this advice. I will not. I will remain a baseball fan, as I find it the most fascinating day to day, drama laden sport around.
    I am going to change my relationship with the Rays however. I will, forevermore, view the Rays through an investor’s eyes. Mr. Smith 1980 suggested this mindset a few days ago. Read his post. It makes a lot of sense. Since the Namoli days I have invested a significant amount of my entertainment dollars and time on the Rays. Early on just having them here was enough of a ROI (return on investment) to keep me as a season ticket holder. In 2005 I finally needed a break from the ineptitude and cashed out. I returned warily after the ’07 season as things seemed to be looking up and was lured back into the fold after ’08. I’ve waiting for the payout (dividend) ever since. I bought into the sales pitch “the goal is to play meaningful September baseball”. This trade shows that pitch to be nothing more than lip service. So, as an investor, I will return to the sidelines. I will wait. I will watch the Rays from home when I can. I’m retired and my entertainment $$’s are stretched a bit thin. I can’t afford to spend those $$’s on a product that offers less of an ROI than other venues much like the Rays stating they can’t afford Price. I get it AF. Hopefully you get it too. Bring home a winner and you’ll get my attention. Until you do I’ll freeload much the same as you and your apologists do.

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  11. Gus says:

    Read Dombroski's timeline and tell me this wasn't a panic trade. Basically if the O's lose Wednesday night, Price isn't traded. Instead they dumped the salary and took whatever they could get from Detroit/Seattle. This was not Detroit "bowling over" the Rays with a trade proposal to get better; this was the Rays dumping Price for a bargain. Makes me feel worse the more I know about it. (And how pissed must Maddon be that ownership pulled the carpet out from under him when he was telling the press "no trade" after Wednesday's game).

    http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/07/31/dombrowski-details-timeline-of-price-trade-explains-rationale-for-move/

    Sternberg is really a cynical fellow.

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