The best shoppers know that the best time to buy the product they’ve been waiting for is not necessarily during the times like the holiday season. when everyone’s going to be buying. You wait for a good deal and as soon as you see it, you take it. Andrew Friedman and the Rays exemplify that perfectly. They never do their biggest moves at the trade deadline or during the Winter Meetings, peak times when players are dealt. This year, all they did during those times was trade for Ryan Roberts, sign James Loney, and acquire Yunel Escobar, notable moves certainly, but far from ground-shaking ones. It was instead after the Winter Meetings that they made their big trade, trading James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard. The timing was a little strange, but the Rays got exactly what they were looking for in exchange for Shields: a potential superstar outfielder in Myers and three other talented players.
The holiday shopping season has come and gone and Andrew Friedman and the Rays have players still to acquire for their major league team: a designated hitter, a few relief pitchers, and maybe a catcher. But this is the time in the year they love to make moves knowing that the longer they wait the more the prices go down and the better deal they’ll get. It’s a market inefficiency, a game of supply and demand- the longer you wait, the less the demand will be as less teams have needs to fill, even while the supply of players at several positions remains relatively high. With that firmly on their minds, Friedman and the Rays will wait as long as it takes looking for the right opportunities to get themselves the players they need to fill out their roster. Everyone buys gifts in advance of the holidays- but sometimes the right move comes at an unexpected time and delivers results than you ever would have thought possible before. Friedman won’t be going home to his wife screaming about the deal he’s about to get, but the effect could be awfully similar.