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Rays Rumors: Rockies and Rockies Talking Swap?

matgermain
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The Rockies are seemingly always looking for pitching, and the Rays are seemingly always looking for hitter, so it makes sense that these two teams would get together in trade talks

The question at hand is whether or not this is just people within the industry mulling over scenarios, or whether it’s these two clubs actually exchanging information. But in either case, Ken Rosenthal had this to add:

The important part is that the first portion is from the sources, they spoke about an OF for SP swap, but the second is merely Ken going through the motions or adding his own input. It could be correct, or it could be out to lunch. And here’s why I think it may be out to lunch.

The Rays are sick and tired of waiting for Desmond Jennings to prove he can go through an entire season. They’re done, spent, over with it, and they want to move on. Meanwhile, Brendan Guyer is a 4th outfielder, nothing more, so I’m not even sure why Ken brought him up. So to me, if a deal were done, it HAS to be an outfielder that’s ready to play today in return for pitching.

Money, Money, Money

Let’s face it, neither the Rockies or the Rays have bags of money hidden away, so the chances of Carlos Gonzalez exchanging hands in this deal are pretty far-fetched. There is a way it could be done, however, with much of the costs associated with Gonzalez being offset by contracts going the other way.

The Rays would likely have to give up something like this to make it work: Matt Moore ($5.1m in 2016 and min of $2.5m in 2017), James Loney ($9.6m in 2016), and Jake McGee ($4.7m in 2016) in order to make it feasible. Even then, Gonzalez is owed close to $38 million, so the $21.9m just listed only covers just over half what he’s owed. Don’t get me wrong, it helps a whole lot, but do the Rays want to spend an extra $8m in each of the next 2 seasons on Gonzalez?

Gonzalez Power, is it the Park?

For their money, they could do a whole lot worse. He just hit 40 HR, 97 RBI, and held a .271/.325/.540 line within a lineup that lacked another presence for much of the year since they deal Troy Tulowitzki away. The question is, will he regress when he’s away from Coors Field, and will injuries return to plague the 30 year old?

We can’t answer the latter, but the former does provide some cause for concern. Gonzalez hit .299/.355/.617 at home and only .243/.296/.464 away. The good news is that his power held up while away with 16 bombs. The thing is that the same holds true for all Rockies outfielders. They all have sub-par lines while away. Corey Dickerson does, Charlie Blackmon does, and so the choices don’t get any better there.

Steven Souza & RBI

What is interesting to note, instead, is that Gonzalez does have 12 PA at Tropicana and he managed 1 HR, 3 hits overall, and 3 walks in that tiny sample size. Looking through his inter-league stats, he’s done well enough to expect that his stats wouldn’t depreciate much in the A.L., particularly if his LHB is set to hit between Evan Longoria (RHB) and Steven Souza (RHB).

Souza is another important part of this equation, as acquiring someone like Gonzalez would unload a lot of pressure from his shoulders and allow him to grow more freely as a hitter. Last season, it often seemed that Souza was pressing and trying to do it all. Bringing in someone of the calibre of Gonzalez immediately shifts the run production focus to him and allows Souza more leeway, and possibly some better pitches to hit if the Rays have Souza hit ahead of Gonzalez.

Something that plagued the Rays last season was their ability to drive runs in at opportune moments. Adding Gonzalez would go a long way to bettering that and would provide them with the depth and quality they need in the lineup to compete. Even if they decide to sit Gonzalez as a DH sometimes, they’d still be much better off for it than they current DH options they have. He would be a great fit in the Rays lineup, he truly would be.

What about Corey Dickerson?

If not Gonzalez, the next viable target would seem to be Dickerson who spent some time on the DL last year but did well while in the game. The costs associated with Dickerson matchup more easily and he’s not arbitration eligible until 2017. In this case, you could envision a Drew Smyly swap for Dickerson being an easy 1 for 1 swap. It’s less complicated and the salaries offset nicely overall.

The problem here is that the Rockies likely value Dickerson more than he may be worth. His defensive abilities aren’t that great and it’s reflected in his WAR value a mere 0.5, mainly due to a -6.5 Def rating. And that’s only going to get worse as he ages. In comparison, Gonzalez plays similarly defensively with a -8.1 Def rating but has a much better 11.5 Off rating, which helps him achieve a 2.5 WAR. That’s why the Rays would want Gonzalez over Dickerson, unless the price matches the returns.

Overall

It seems this rumor has some smoke to it but that it could simply be the Rays doing their due diligence. There are a ton of Rays rumors coming out today, so I would bet on something substantial being accomplished very soon, possibly before Christmas.

Next: Rays Notes: The James Loney Trade Market

Enjoy the rumors and ponder at will in the comments! We always love feedback and it’s a fun time of year to talk about what may or may not happen! In case you’re wondering, I’ll get to the Jake Odorizzi rumors soon!

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