The Rays Rumors are piling in. First, it was the Rays seeking an OF from the Rockies in return for pitching. The latest remains in the N.L. West, and has Jake Odorizzi heading to the Dodgers. The question is, for what?
The Rays and Dodgers have been rumored to be in trade talks since the winter meetings took place. What makes the latest rumor most interesting is that it specifically identifies Jake Orodizzi as being the key piece headed to the Dodgers. That has us wondering what the returns will be for the Rays, and how big a deal this could be.
Heyman’s tweet was recently backed up by Jayson Stark who tweeted the following:
To take a clear look at the trade possibility, we’ll examine Odorizzi and his value more closely, and will delve into the possible returns afterwards.
Possibly heading to LA: RHP Jake Odorizzi
Odorizzi is 25 years old, 6’2″ 190 lbs, and started 28 games for the Rays in 2015, his 3rd with the team. I’d like to compare his stats to those of Chris Archer from the same age, 25 years old.
- ERA: Archer 3.23, Odorizzi 3.25
- ERA+: Archer 1.12, Odorizzi 1.18
- Whip: Archer 1.279, Odorizzi 1.152
- H/9: Archer 8.2, Odorizzi 7.9
- BB/9: Archer 3.3, Odorizzi 2.4
- SO/9: Archer 8.0, Odorizzi 8.0
- WAR: Archer 3.2, Odorizzi 2.9
Now, I’m not saying that Odorizzi is going to become Chris Archer next season. What I am saying is that so far, his progression is eerily similar and if the Rays do decide to hang on to Archer instead it may simply be because of the failed extension talks they’ve had with him thus far.
Those extension talks may have confused most fans who believed it to be a foregone conclusion that it meant Odorizzi was going to remain with the Rays long term. Instead, we’ve waited to hear news of a signing while simultaneously hearing his name in trade talks. Surely, that has to perk up Odorizzi’s and his agent’s ears.
Now, the rumors could be all wrong and it could be other pitchers that are identified by each team. However, as Jon Heyman reported above, Odorizzi’s name is the one his sources said is in the talks, so we have to take that at face value.
Odorizzi will be arbitration eligible in 2017, 2018, and 2019 before becoming a free agent. If he continues on his current path or improves, he could obtained more than $20 million in arbitration over those 3 years. While that may be a significant amount for the Rays, it’s almost insignificant for a team with pockets as deep as the Dodgers.
Obtaining Odorizzi would allow them to spend elsewhere, and any extension signed would make it even better for them overall. In comparison to what the Giants paid for Johnny Cueto ($130 million), a pitcher with more miles and questions on his arm, they would be getting better value for their money.
Return for the Rays
Knowing now that the Dodgers would be getting a “close to Archer” caliber pitcher at a young age, controllable for the next 4 years at a more than affordable rate, we can move forward to what the Rays may want for their valuable asset.
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To me, the biggest question we need to ask before we look at the possible returns is this: will Odorizzi be the only piece headed to Los Angeles, or will others join him? I can definitely seeJake McGee
being sought after, as well asKevin Kiermaier
. My point being that we have no way of knowing whether this is a small blockbuster trade, or a gigantic blockbuster.
What if the target for the Rays is Corey Seager and they acquire him by dealing a truckload for him? Or, more likely, what if they ask for Joc Pederson and the Dodgers say they’ll only deal him if Kiermaier is included? This deal could become huge and/or complicated very quickly, which is likely the reason it’s taking so long to get done.
I’m going to head into 4 different directions here to look at what I feel are 4 decent options. Neither are more likely than the other, but they’re decent scenarios to ponder.
Scenario 1: Trade Target is Jose De Leon and Prospects
If the Rays are dealing a pitching talent like Odorizzi, it’s to get volume in return and address 2-3 areas all at once. But one thing is certain, the first thing coming back – if it isn’t scenario 3 on this list – is pitching. Now, the Dodgers can play this in a couple of ways. They can go for volume (scenario 2), or they can go for quality
If the Dodges deal De Leon to the Rays, he and one LoA and below pitcher should be all it takes in terms of pitching to acquire Odorizzi. Add in an OF prospect, such as the newly acquired Scott Schebler, and Micah Johnson, and you’ve got a deal for both Jake Odorizzi and Jake McGee. It’s very possible the Dodgers kept the pieces from the White Sox to enable a deal with the Rays to be completed (at their request for one – or some – of those specific pieces).
The basic bonus of this scenario would be something like De Leon, Sborz, Schebler, and M. Johnson, in return for Odorizzi and McGee.
Scenario 2: Trade Targets are Prospects
This would essentially be a full replenishment option for the Rays. We’re talking depth and volume, not top-end talent. In this case, all bets are off and you can name any 6 prospects that are not in their top 3 and build a case for them. In particular, those previously mentioned, Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes, and Walker Buehler would become the most likely key piece(s).
This would be a disappointing option for Rays fans who are hoping that the team can improve its 2016 product, not simply rebuild for future years. The Rays are so close to having a dominance piece that this option would seem like opting out of a truly competitive season.
Scenario 3: Trade Target is Corey Seager
I already went through this scenario as recently as yesterday, believing it was a very long shot to say the least. As it turns out, you can see how quickly this deal could morph into a blockbuster of epic proportions. It’s still the least likely scenario of the bunch, but it can’t be discounted altogether.
In seeking Seager, the Rays would be willing to go “all-in”. Odorizzi, Kevin Kiermaier, Brad Miller, Willy Adames, Daniel Robertson, Jake McGee, Brad Boxberger, and even the possibility of include two starters, not just one, would all be in play. The repercussions in Los Angeles would be severe and most likely contain a lot of anger.
Again, this is the least likely scenario of the three and although I’d love to see Seager in a Rays uniform in 2016, the chances of that happening are tiny.
Scenario 4: Rays in a 3-way deal
What if Odorizzi isn’t actually going to Los Angeles. What if, instead, he’s headed to the Marlins in a package for Jose Fernandez? And what if the return for the Rays is the very talented – yet controversial – Yasiel Puig. Or what if it’s Marcell Ozuna from Miami?
There’s a good reason the Marlins can’t get Puig in return, as he and their new Manager, Don Mattingly, reportedly don’t see eye-to-eye. In this scenario, you have some major pieces going 3 ways, and it can get messy. In essence, it involved Jose Fernandez and/or Jake McGee going to LA, Odorizzi going to Miami with prospects, and Puig or Ozuna and prospects headed to TB.
There’s no doubt that this deal is risky on almost all fronts and seems unlikely. However, it’s come to light that Clayton Kershaw and Puig can’t coexist anymore. In fact, Puig and the Dodgers seemingly can’t coexist anymore. Theses an intriguing deal to consider, and I’m not sure whether the Rays would rather go for the talent of Puig or Ozuna, but it may be a quick and immediate boost to their OF in either case. If they can grab that AND add some prospect depth, it may be irresistible.
The most important part to remember in this case is that if they can rebuild Puig’s value to be anywhere near what his talent dictates it should be, they could flip him for even more than they paid to acquire him. So long as they protect that risk with a return in prospects, it could be a worthwhile risk.
The latest word on this possible deal has come from Marc Topkin who stated the following on Twitter:
As a fan, you have to be excited about the trade talks and to realize that at the very least, your team is working hard to try to improve the on-field product for 2016 and beyond. At this point, there’s no telling if Joc Pederson could be a trade target, just as much as Julio Urias and Jose De Leon may be. The options are endless.
However, as we’ve shown above, there are some scenarios that provide the Rays with depth in talent that they may not otherwise be able to gather. What I do know is that if the Rays keep Odorizzi, I’ll love having him onboard because he is truly one of my favourites in the rotation. I don’t feel the Rays need to deal him and simply hope that if they do, it’s for a return that helps them compete in 2016 as well as in the future.