Rays Rumors

Brad Boxberger and the Trade Offer That Blows You Away

By Robbie Knopf

How many trades have the Tampa Bay Rays made where they were blown away by another team’s offer? Most Rays fans would answer “not enough.” The James Shields trade certainly applies and the Matt Garza one probably does as well, but few would say the same about the David Price deal. In any event, at the FanSided Faux Winter Meetings, I was lucky enough to get overwhelmed with an offer for Brad Boxberger. This trade isn’t as relevant to the Rays’ real offseason plans as the Sean Rodriguez trade from yesterday, but it still gives us something to think about as we see what the Rays will do.  Here was the trade.

Tampa Bay Rays trade RHPs Brad Boxberger and Joel Peralta to the San Francisco Giants for RHP Jean Machi, LHP Adalberto Mejia, and SS Matt Duffy.

Let me clarify that I never intended to trade Brad Boxberger. The Faux GM of the Giants, Timmy Kennedy, first approached me with an offer of Machi and two other relievers for him and that meant nothing to me. Brad Boxberger is an excellent reliever, and I was never going to trade him for one good but clearly worse reliever (Machi) and two disposable ones. With that in mind, I quickly made it clear that I would need a legitimate top prospect for a deal to work, and Mejia quickly entered into view.

Adalberto Mejia has his problems. His positive drug test will lead to a 50-game suspension to begin 2015 and he managed just a 4.67 ERA at Double-A in 2014. That worked out fine for me, though, because he would not have been available otherwise. Mejia is a left-hander with a fastball touching the mid-90’s with good movement and both a slider and a changeup with the ability to be plus pitches. He throws strikes and doesn’t have a history of arm injuries. If the Rays added Mejia, he could conceivably rank as high as their first- or second-best prospect. If I was ever going to trade Boxberger, this was the type of player I would want.

A trade of Boxberger for Mejia would not necessarily be a good one, but the other pieces involved made it a no-brainer. Getting back Machi as well meant that I was getting a great pitching prospect without losing too much from my current bullpen. Duffy, a shortstop prospect who should be at least a utility player, only sweetened the package. I did have to give up Joel Peralta, but he doesn’t qualify as a major loss and I saved $2.5 million in the process. I didn’t value him very highly at all, and he was a small price to pay to make the deal work.

Don’t expect the Tampa Bay Rays to actually trade Brad Boxberger this offseason. While the Rays did trade Alex Torres after 2013, Boxberger doesn’t have nearly the risk of decline that Torres did and they had to include Jesse Hahn in the deal. Nevertheless, they will certainly be on the lookout for a team offering them an exorbitant package of prospects for any of their pitchers or a position player like Ben Zobrist or Yunel Escobar. A deal including anyone other than Matt Joyce or Sean Rodriguez seems unlikely, but the Rays will always listen knowing that every once in a while, they will get lucky like I did here.