Thursday, July 31, 2014

Initial Reaction: Tampa Bay Rays drop the ball on David Price trade

The Tampa Bay Rays waited until the waning moments of the July 31st deadline to trade pitching ace David Price. Price has been named in trade rumors with the St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, and Los Angeles Dodgers for the majority of the season, but the Detroit Tigers end up snagging the hard-throwing lefty, and for pennies, at that.

In a three-team trade also involving the Mariners, the Rays receive left-handed starting pitcher Drew Smyly, infielder Nick Franklin, and infielder Willy Adames.

Rays' General Manager Andrew Friedman failed to address a long-standing problem with the organization and that's the addition of a big bat. While Franklin hits for a solid average and Adames is still young (18-years-old), neither is a power hitter. Run production has plagued the Rays for years, and help is certainly not coming anytime soon.

Smyly is a solid pitcher with a 3.77 ERA in 100.1 innings pitched, but he's no Price. Few are. This addition could have favored the Rays if elite prospects were tacked on to help quench the organization's dwindling talent in the minors. 

Franklin, while hitting .294 with 16 doubles in Triple-A Tacoma, is a liability as an infielder. The Mariners saw his inefficiencies and moved him to the outfield. Rays' Manager Joe Maddon is a defensive-minded coach who plays the statistics, especially with the infield. If Franklin can't get it together as a short stop, his natural position, then he'll quickly become another utility man.

Adames was considered the Tigers fourth best prospect. The youngster has excelled at short stop, but is struggling seeing the ball, posting a .269 average with Single-A West Michigan. He's not afraid to take chances either on the base path, attempting nine stolen bases this season and only being successful three times. 

The Rays Organization has done a tremendous job in the past  with these trades, but the majority of them have been in the offseason. With 54-games remaining and being 5.5 games out of the second Wild Card, the Rays could have easily waited until the Winter Meetings to pull off this exact same trade. 

Precisely what are the Rays telling its fans? Two-games down from being .500, how will the players in the locker room react? Will this galvanize them or will Evan Longoria and company feel sorry for themselves while watching the clock as the innings crawl by?

For a serviceable pitcher and two hopefuls, this was not a good trade.

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