Heyman: Rays in on Anthony Rizzo
In case you haven’t already heard, the Reds and Padres pulled a monster blockbuster trade yesterday, trading Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger for Mat Latos. Yonder Alonso figures to step right into the starting first baseman role for the Padres. Now that the Padres have Alonso, the question is what they will do with Anthony Rizzo.
In two separate tweets yesterday, John Heyman said teams are inquiring on Rizzo, and that the Rays are interested. In his first tweet he mentioned Wade Davis. It may be tough to compete with the Cubs and their combo of Theo Epstien and former Padres GM Jed Hoyer, but the Rays certainly have the better farm system to pull off a deal.
Rizzo, a 22 year old first baseman, was one of the cornerstones in the Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox trade last offseason. Rizzo has been a hitting monster in the minors, hitting .331 with 26 homers and a .404 on base percentage in 93 games in Triple-A. In Double-A the year before he hit .263 with 20 homers. He did struggle in the Big Leagues last season, hitting only .141 with only 1 homer. This could be why the Rays could get him for Wade Davis and another prospect.
Rizzo is still a raw talent at 22 and could probably use some more time in the minors to develop, but he has a ton of upside if his minor league hitting numbers pan out. It is not a guarantee that he will be able to hit at a Major League level, but it is probable that he could make an impact with some time in Durham.
The Padres clearly need a starting pitcher after the void left by Wade Davis. They did get Edinson Volquez, but they still need somebody to start for them. The Rays would not be able to land Rizzo for Davis straight up, but they could probably include another prospect and get the deal done. This would be a great trade for the Rays, getting a young first baseman with huge upside for only Wade Davis. Rizzo could be around for a long time and be the first baseman the Rays have needed for ever.
Rizzo would most likely not make much of an impact this season if the Rays do make this trade. The Rays would most likely want to give him some time in the minors since his numbers in the bigs were not great and the Rays tend to be cautious with prospects. I could see the Rays signing a guy like Derrek Lee to a one year deal to bridge the gap for this season while still giving the Rays some production.
In the end, this would be a great deal for the Rays if they can beat out the Cubs. The Cubs do have the advantage of familiarity with the Padres front office since Hoyer left there this offseason, but the Rays clearly have the better farm system to pull off the deal. It will be interesting to see if anything comes about from these latest rumors.