September 7, 2011; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Brandon Guyer (30) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field. The Rays beat the Rangers 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Don't Forget About Brandon Guyer


After news broke yesterday that Matt Garza has been traded again, it’s an obvious thought process to look back at the first Garza trade, from the Rays to the Cubs. Two players the Rays acquired in that trade, Chris Archer and Sam Fuld, are currently in the major leagues, with Archer starting to deliver on his potential and Fuld continuing to arouse the endearment of fans with his excellent defense and all-out hustle. One player from the trade is already gone, with Robinson Chirinos ironically being traded from the Rays, who had traded Garza initially, to the Rangers, who just acquired him. That leaves two players the Rays received in the trade: Hak-Ju Lee and Brandon Guyer. Lee was having a breakout year at Triple-A before his season ended with a knee injury from a collision at second base. Guyer certainly knows Lee’s pain after shoulder surgery ended his season in 2012. But right now, Guyer is healthy. And no one is talking about him.

It’s obvious why Brandon Guyer has flown under the radar. First off, Guyer is 27 years old, an age that many people would describe as too old for a prospect. In addition, the Rays acquired one of the top outfield prospects in baseball, Wil Myers, from the Kansas City Royals this offseason, and he has impressed in his major league debut. And then there’s the fact that even beyond Myers, the Rays are loaded in the outfield. From Myers to Desmond Jennings to Kelly Johnson to Matt Joyce, the Rays have no need for another outfielder and no reason that Guyer will get called up before September pending injury. Despite all that, though, Guyer does still have one major redeeming quality left: he’s playing very well.

On the season for Triple-A Durham, Guyer has managed a .300/.372/.456 line with 19 doubles, 5 triples, 7 homers, 38 RBI, and 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts in 87 games and 364 plate appearances. He has only gotten better as the season has gone on, increasing his batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS each month as the season has gone on including a .345/.413/.509 line in July. He hasn’t shown much of a platoon split, managing an .870 OPS against lefties and an .813 mark against righties, although his strikeout to walk ratio has been much better versus lefties. And he’s doing this all while playing all three outfield positions basically on an equal basis, playing 30 games in right field and 29 each in center and left. Guyer’s shoulder is still recovering, and that could very well be the reason why he’s not hitting for nearly as much power as usual and only has 3 outfield assists compared to 17 and 14 in his last two healthy seasons. But even if Guyer never returns to the player he used to be, there is definitely some talent here.

Guyer’s bat speed remains impressive and his plate discipline isn’t great but almost certainly passable. He isn’t a burner, but he hustles out of the box and shows great instincts on the basepaths. He moves well enough to handle centerfield and can make the highlight reels with outstanding plays when he plays right field. That’s a very good 4th outfielder skill-set and maybe even a starting player if you get lucky and his power and arm strength returns. And despite Guyer’s age, the Rays are still working to hone his abilities. It’s a good thing that Guyer is basically a forgotten man because it has taken all the pressure off in his recovery and given him the opportunity to thrive. The Rays still believe in his talent and will give him a chance to be something will the time is right. Even if you don’t hear Guyer’s name anymore, he remains on the Rays’ 40-man roster and isn’t about to leave it. Don’t forget about Brandon Guyer because at some point late this season or next year, he will be back in the major leagues. Even if he’s not a prospect anymore, he still has the ability to make an impact in the Rays uniform and we will have to see how good he can become.

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  • Joey

    In my opinion, the Garza trade to the Cubs is in the top three, for the worst moves/decisions made by Friedman and Co.

    Here’s why:
    In 2010 we lose to the Rangers in 5, pretty much thanks to Cliff Lee. Coming off that series we learned that we need more offense to hang with the Rangers. So, in the off season, you would think our primary focus would be to upgrade DH, 1B, and RF. We all new Garza was on the block. They decided to trade Garza with an eye on the future instead of upgrading an already solid lineup to compete against the Rangers. I was so pissed at that trade not because of the names we got but, 5 (B) level prospects, 2 of which had high ceilings but were down in low A ball. Fuld was a throw in for Perez and Chirinos/Guyer had the makeup of career minor leaguers. TO NOT GET A MAJOR LEAGUE QUALITY BAT FOR MATT GARZA WAS A DISASTER and it cost us another trip to the WS. We roll with Manny Ramirez, No Pop Kotch, and Grandpa Damon. That year what happens, we make it back to the playoffs and face the mighty Rangers. This time we’re a little more competitive but we lose in 4. After Matt Moore dominates game 1, we lose by 2 runs, 1 run and 1 run.
    The only way my opinion can be changed is if their, “eye on the future” decision pays off this year, with Archer/Guyer somehow playing a major roll in the playoffs.
    Don’t ask me what the other 2 worst moves are.

    • Robbie_Knopf

      Certainly entitled to your opinion, but most people consider it right up there for one of Friedman’s best trades. You turn your number three starter into two of the top prospects in baseball plus three more major league contributors! Archer is showing ace potential, Lee remains the shortstop of the future, and Fuld is a decent contributor while Guyer may still provide value. If you ask for a major league quality bat, that’s basically all you’re getting in the trade. And by the way, that 2011 team lost in the ALDS because every pitcher other than Moore failed to come through. You can’t look at that series and say that if they had one more bat, it would have mattered. Don’t let something entirely out of the Rays’ control (how their pitchers did in one 4-game playoff series) skew your perspective of a great Rays trade.

      • Joey

        We averaged 4 runs per game in the final 3 games of that series. Definitely not enough against the Rangers. My point is very simple. The main goal is to win championships. I understand everything about what this franchise has to do to remain competitive. But at some point we need to look at the now. Last year we missed the playoffs by 1 game, with a team that I feel was our best ever. If we miss the playoffs this year by 1, 2 or 3 games we can look back and ask why didn’t we call Myers up sooner? Because management wants another year of Wil Myers. Meanwhile, Luke Scott’s in a 2 for 60 slump as Myers is tearing up the IL. Who cares about having Myers in 2017, how can they see or predict that far out. Price, Zobrist, Rodney, Des etc… will all be gone by then. I could care less about the future when the time to strike is now. With the Garza trade, I would’ve liked a 25 man caliber player and 1 high ceiling prospect or a stud prospect sitting in AAA because he’s blocked at his position in the bigs. There were plenty of options back then and I feel they blew it by not bringing in at least one bat that could contribute that year. Ramirez/Kotch/Damon, were all 1 yr cheap flyers that obviously didn’t work.

        • Robbie_Knopf

          Are you remembering 2011 correctly? Kotchman and Damon both had nice years!

          An extra year of team control is enormous. We’re talking adding 3 wins to the the Rays’ 2017 team even if Myers doesn’t live up to the hype. Why would you give that up so you could play Myers for two more weeks this season? Myers wasn’t ready, and when he was, they didn’t take long to call him up. One game can make all the difference in a season, but most likely it will not, and it’s much important to ensure long-term success than risk it all for one game.

          Top prospects like you’re talking about don’t grow on trees. Who would you have wanted from the Cubs for Garza? Starlin Castro? The Rays would have been lucky if the Cubs accepted that trade of Garza for Castro straight-up, and you certainly wouldn’t get anything more. Instead, they got an extremely high-ceiling prospect in Archer and another highly-touted guy in Lee to go along with a pair of potential major league contributors and a wild card in Guyer.

          • Joey

            You missed my point. Wil Myers becomes a free agent in 2019. There’s a strong chance Price, Hellickson, Cobb, and Moore are all gone by 2018 or sooner and this doesn’t include position players, I don’t have time to look everyone up. Why would I care about that last year of service in 2019 when all our stars will be gone by then. Yes I would rather have Myers for 2 weeks or all of this year in exchange for 2019, especially if the season comes down to 3 or less games. Look what happened last year. A significant bat like his CAN make or break a season and our core is only going to be together for so long. We don’t pick at the top of the draft anymore. The window is now.

          • Robbie_Knopf

            1) James Shields was a lot better than Garza.
            2) There aren’t very many Wil Myers.
            3) Even if most of the current core is gone by 2019, there will be a new core, rest assured.

          • Joey

            To answer your question as to who I would’ve traded Garza for. Similar haul to what Sheilds brought in would’ve been acceptable. 1 upper level high end prospect. Can’t remember who was on the block back then, but I’ve always said prior to this year that the Angels are perfect trade partners. They need pitching and have what we fail to draft/develop: 4 big league first baseman prior to Morales leaving with nice outfield options (Boujols) and low level prospects.