One of the hallmarks of the Rays success over the past few years has been their ability to locate undervalued assets and reinvigorate their careers. Most notably, this has been done with great success in the bullpen, as pitchers such as Joel Peralta, Fernando Rodney and Kyle Farnsworth were all essentially on the Major League scrap heap, players that the Rays were giving one last chance to be able to recapture their previous success.
What has been seemingly lost in the Rays ability to continually generate pitchers is their ability to locate players at other positions, in particular first base. Over the past few years, such players as Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman and current first baseman James Loney have all been able to resurrect their careers with the Rays. With that in mind, Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently suggested the potential for the Rays to take a look at acquiring struggling New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis, while potentially trading their own struggling player in Jeremy Hellickson.
On the surface, this type of a trade would make sense. The Rays pitching depth is quite enviable throughout baseball, and with the potential of returning David Price, Chris Archer, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb, Hellickson would certainly be the best fifth starter in baseball. Adding in upcoming prospects such as Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome, and there may be room to move a starter. Davis, meanwhile, would brig to the Rays another potential power bat for their lineup, someone who hit over 30 home runs just last year, and has flashed solid defense and has displayed solid patience at the plate. Even though Davis has been struggling to make contact this year, his walk rate of 15.1% is the highest of his career, and almost twice the major league average.
Yet, it seemingly goes against the Rays philosophy to trade a player at the nadir of their value. After two excellent seasons for the Rays, Hellickson has seemingly had everything go against him this year, culminating with his demotion to the Charlotte Stone Crabs to clear his head. While the possibility to acquire another power bat to slot int he lineup along with Evan Longoria and Wil Myers may be intriguing to the Rays, would they be willing to move Hellickson now?