Aug 16, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Rays Trade Jeremy Hellickson to the Mets for Ike Davis?


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?

Likewise, it may be possible that Davis winds up as a free agent. The Mets have other possible options to play first with Lucas Duda and Josh Satin presently, and Davis would

Tags: Ike Davis Jeremy Hellickson New York Mets Tampa Bay Rays

  • phattitudes

    I think the Rays make a pass at retaining Loney before they seek a replacement. Loney is a great fit for the Rays but is not that ideal power bat that others seek at 1B. If Loney would take a reasonable deal, I am sure the Rays would love to keep him. However if he gets a Keppinger like over pay, he should take the money and run. The way the Rays value pitching, they are not going to part with it unless they get the right deal. Ike Davis is a Ray’s type reclaimation project, but he is not the only candidate. For that matter, Hellickson could be a more valuable reclaimation project. Either way, look for the Rays to continue to be aggressive in attempting to increase production at LF, 1B, C or DH. This team has a two to three year window. When the right deal comes along, Andrew will pull the trigger. It should be fun. For now let’s focus on this year. We still have a real shot at this.

    • Dave Hill

      I agree entirely. Moving Hellickson right now does not fit the Rays modus operandi. Davis would be interesting, but Loney fits well. Wonder if he is pricing himself out of the Rays price range right now though.

      • William Lutz

        Is that not what comes natural when a player has a good year? He is going to look for a huge bundle when all we can afford is a humble bunch. Sorry could not help myself on that one.

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  • Johnboy Anonymous

    You misspelled “bring” as “brig” in the third paragraph.

    • Dave Hill

      Thanks. The lesson is, as always, to never rely upon spellcheck.

  • William Lutz

    The season is almost over with Durham . Hopefully they bring the Cup home. What about bringing Leslie Anderson up for a taste of the Big Show. This man tore up spring training and has proven his level of play over and over again. He was sent over to the Durham team just a few days before the team broke camp. There was just no room for him at the time. Now when our team could use a good bat instead of trading away one of our pitchers bring him up. There is also Vince Belnome. What is Joe waiting on with these guys?

    • Robbie_Knopf

      I keep drilling this same point into the ground, but the facts are very simple with Anderson. He isn’t young by any measure (he’s 31 years old), he has very little power as a first baseman, and it took him more than three years in the International League to learn to draw any walks. He just does not have the power or pitch recognition to be a big league first baseman. The Rays thought he could be a star when they signed him. They realized that they were wrong. Anderson may end up in the big leagues someday, but the chances he amounts to anything are very small.

      Belnome will surface with the Rays at some point, but he’s an inherently flawed player as well. He’s another player with little power, and while his plate discipline is good and he does have some versatility, his defense is bad just about everywhere and his bat speed is mediocre. Belnome is utility type, and typically those are not the type of guys you add to your 40-man roster until you have to because they are just so commonly found.

      We love looking at numbers, but at a certain point, they just don’t mean much. Anderson and Belnome just don’t have the talent to put up anywhere near those type of numbers in the major leagues. (By the way, both players were horrific in August. Even Triple-A pitchers were able to figure them out.)

      Please argue back–I’m not 100% sold–but I completely agree with what the Rays have done with both players so far.

  • William Lutz

    Don’t you just love when people pick apart your spelling instead of commenting on how good your articles and right ups are. Love reading your stuff Dave. Defiantly keeps me up to speed on what is going on with the Rays and their farm teams. Keep up the great work. I have only missed 5 of our home games with the Stone Crabs this year. Even traveled to catch a few on the road. There is a lot of great talent coming up out of the Florida State League this year but you already know this. The worst thing they could do is rush these young guys and let the farm systems do their jobs. We have seen time and time again what happens to these young guys when they are rushed and self destruct. Even if you are a 100% pure natural at it. They still need the seasoning.

    • Robbie_Knopf

      Stone Crabs are definitely a fun team this year. Hope they can win two more to take the FSL crown. Plenty of talent on their roster–Shaffer, Vettleson, Rivero, Hahn, and Floro immediately come to mind–and while they don’t have that finished product top prospect, the upside on the team is something to behold.

    • Dave Hill

      Thanks William. Glad you are enjoying our work here at RCG.

      The lesson about not relying upon spell check still applies though. :)

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