The offseason is just beginning to heat up with tons of rumors connected to the Rays, specifically in the trade department. Recently the Rays have been tied to big first base bats in Anthony Rizzo, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales. With big trades potentially coming that will affect the 2012 Rays, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the historical Rays trades. Over the next few days I will take a look at the best and worst trades in Rays history.
We will begin with the trade that arguably sent the Rays to a World Series. In November 2007, leading into the best Rays season to date, the Rays made an unexpected move. They parted ways with one of their best young players in Delmon Young, sending him to the Twins with Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan.
Not many saw this trade coming. While Delmon had his off the field issues, he was still a young talent with loads of potential. Young did have a couple good seasons in Minnesota, but it is clear that the Rays won this trade. Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett were huge parts in the Rays improbable run to the World Series in 2008 and also provided big parts in 2009 and 2010. It was clear that this trade was won by the Rays as soon as Garza’s pitching guided the Rays to the World Series
Garza planted himself firmly in the third spot in the Rays rotation in 2008, pitching behind Scott Kazmir and James Shields for much of the season. Garza had a great season in 2008, going 11-9 with a 3.70 ERA. If that season wasn’t enough, Garza had a brilliant ALCS, going 2-0 while allowing only 2 runs in 13 innings to the potent Red Sox offense, sealing the deal in game 7 and winning the ALCS MVP. Garza also had good seasons in 2009 and 2010 before being traded to the Cubs.
Jason Bartlett also proved to be huge for the Rays, giving them an actual good shortstop, a position that had been a question mark before this trade. Bartlett had a nice season in 2008, hitting .286 with 1 homer. Unlike Garza, Bartlett had his best season in 2009, hitting .320 with 14 homers, a number he has not come close to since. Bartlett fell off a bit in 2010, but still put up a respectable season before being traded to the Padres.
All of the major pieces in this trade are no longer on the same team. Delmon Young was traded to the Tigers last season, while Brendan Harris was a part of the JJ Hardy deal to the Orioles and is now a free agent. As we all know, both Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett are now on different teams, with Garza going to the Cubs for a huge haul, and Bartlett going to the Padres. The second Garza trade is one of the better trades in Rays history, so we will get into that tomorrow.