Buster Olney recently wrote that other teams now “warily approach trades” with the Rays because they are viewed as a “savvy organization” and seem to know just when to dump their players (e.g. Scott Kazmir). This raised our eyebrows because the Rays have also given away some solid players with little to show in return (e.g. Jason Hammel)

Well, Olney went on “The B.S. Report” and Bill Simmons asked Olney about this topic…

I wrote that and within four hours there was a member of the Rays organization sent me an email that said “that’s ridiculous! We’ve made some terrible trades!” I said “look I’m just the messenger here. I’m just telling you what I’m hearing from other general managers that they are like ‘These guys really evaluate their players well’.” And the response [from the Rays executive] was, “We don’t want that reputation!”

Kevin Towers, the GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks has that reputation when it comes to dealing pitching. I think that when Theo [Epstein, GM of the Red Sox] makes trades, everyone tends to look at them a little bit more closely than they would otherwise because he is generally regarded as the best GM in the sport. And Tampa Bay now, with Andrew Friedman, that’s going to be someone that they’ll think extra hard about before they make a deal. Not because he does anything untoward, but because he is so danged smart.

1) Who was the “member of the Rays organization” that would email Olney? The circle is a very small one. And three of the top four don’t seem like the types that will go out of their way to contact a media member; 2) This topic brings up an interesting thought. If you are the Rays, do you occasionally pull a rope-a-dope to avoid this reputation? In other words, does it help in the long run to occasional tank a trade to give other teams a false sense of comfort? Or do you just assume that there will be enough trades that don’t work out naturally?



  1. TP says:

    These guys are a good front office, but let's not lose our minds here. They're obviously trying to win every trade and the idea that they would tank a trade is just absurd.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      OK, "tank" is probably too strong of a word. But do you occasionally trade a player like Jason Hammel (no value to you) for somebody with a higher upside but with a greater chance of flaming out? Now this is all moot because the Rays haven't won every trade. But hypothetically, if they had, teams will stop trading or the prices will just become too steep. And a team like the Rays - a team that cannot sign high-priced free agents - needs the trade market in order to compete. And the anonymous exec was concerned enough to email Olney hoping to avoid that reputation.

      • That type of trade is going to happen often to the Rays anyways since they have so much depth. They could trade Kyle Lobstein and not miss a beat and he becomes something special down the road. When your system is this stacked it's going to happen regardless. No intentional "tanking" is necessary.

      • Gus says:

        Explain to me why a good starter like Jason Hammel could not have been taught to be a relief pitcher? To say he was of "no use" to the Rays is pretty narrow thinking that just because Neimann beat him out for the 5th slot, he was of no use. Pitching is pitching. Why they gave up on him and Talbot didn't make sense then, and doesn't make sense now when the guys at the end of the bullpen aren't exactly sure bets.

        Next step for the 2%. Grow your own relief corps.

        • pete says:

          Hammel and Talbot were both out of options and last year the bullpen was pretty much set in stone going into spring training.

          Neither of those 2 would have cleared waivers and we would have lost them both for nothing. so instead of just letting them both walk , we got "something" back for them.

          fairly easy to understand.

  2. m_weber says:

    I was arguing with someone on twitter about that same subject during the off-season. If the Rays are ripping off every trade and dealing "damaged" merchandise (Kazmir), why would anyone continue to trade with them? The answer I got: There are plenty of stupid GM's in baseball.

    That aside, I wonder how much "reputation" got in the way of the reported Victor Martinez for Carl Crawford deal discussed last season?

  3. pete says:

    This doesn't sound right to me. i just don't see anyone in our front office emailing buster olney and saying "we don't want that reputation"

    the rays do have a savvy front office and im pretty sure its well known and they are very proud of this.

    The fans here knew Kaz was finished when we made the trade. The angels obviously thought they could fix the problem and they found out , you can't fix a dead arm.

    yes we got the better of the twins but we have no way of evaluating the garza trade for years.

    we gave away hammel to the rockies.

    our farm system is the envy of baseball. the trades we make are not any better or worse then any other team.

  4. Beth says:

    I simply don't understand this argument. So teams don't want to trade with teams that have smart GMs? That makes no sense.

    Teams all have scouts, and they have access to the same plethora of data that we fans like to study. I have no training at all in baseball but I could have told you that Kazmir was struggling, and that Garza can be brilliant but is inconsistent. If the Angels and Cubs failed to recognize these things, shame on them, it's not because the Rays front office somehow hoodwinked them.

    I don't know if this is a real story, or merely another indication that we've got too much sports media, and they need to generate fake stories to justify their paychecks.

    • Beth, all things be considered I'd probably agree with you. But there were undertones that Kazmir was "damaged goods" in a way that may not have been apparent to scouts.

      Think of it like this, you go to a used car lot to buy a car that you really, really like. It has some issues, but you figure once you get it home you can fix it up and you've got a great car. However, you soon find out that there's something mechanically wrong with it that you didn't find out about until you drove it for a few miles and now it's wasting space in your driveway. Would you think twice before going back to that dealer?

  5. Amanda says:

    Cork, the quoted part of your article says "a member of the Rays organization," not an executive of the Rays organization. I wouldn't put it past Olney to take an e-mail from the backup locker room attendant and run with the story.

  6. KnightTower says:

    All I know is that the Angels made one of the worst trades I've ever seen in getting Kazmir. I hope that whoever made that trade got fired.

  7. werD says:

    Carl Crawford has the Lowest BA of anyone with 85+ ABs in MLB, right now?


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