The Rays were linked to the Cubs, and most recently with the Dodgers, in trade talks. With neither getting traction past the talks, it seems they’re now speaking to the pitching starved Cardinals
Jon Heyman recently tweeted the following about the trade talks between the Cards and Rays:
It’s interesting that he mentions Jake Odorizzi coming from the St-Louis area, but I’d put more weight on the fact that he’s been mentioned most in trade than any other. That likely comes from the fact that the Rays can get full value from Odorizzi, while others like Matt Moore and Drew Smyly may have to rebuild some of their value before the Rays consider trading them.
It’s also possible that the Rays are putting pressure on the Dodgers to give up more concessions in a deal by using another pitching starved team against them. In my opinion, it’s pure genius to place both teams in bids against one another, and it may allows the Rays to capitalize on the each team’s desperate need.
We recently looked at the options the Rays may have in going through with a deal of Odorizzi to the Dodgers. Now, let’s see what the Cardinals may have to offer in trade.
Randall Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty
The most obvious move for the Cardinals to make at this point is to deal one of these two outfielders to obtain Odorizzi, and turn around and sign a free agent outfielder (Alex Gordon or Justin Upton) to fill the void.
- Grichuk (24): 323 AB – 23 dbls – 7 trpl – 17 HR – 4 SB – .276/.329/.548
- Piscotty (24): 233 AB – 15 dbls – 4 trpl – 7 HR – 2 SB – .305/.359/.494
In either case, the Rays would be acquiring an everyday OF. If the Cards are worried about their OF depth, the Rays can always include someone like Brandon Guyer in the deal. To me, they are the first names the Rays will ask for in trade, and I would expect one to be included in any deal.
Another possible target is Moss, who lost some luster in 2015. As a powerful LHB, he would do well in a RH heavy lineup, and his ability to do well vs LHP would be welcomed. He wouldn’t be the focus of any deal, but he’d be a nice addition for the Rays.
Alex Reyes, Jack Flaherty, and Marco Gonzales
At least one of these would be a likely target in trade, as always it would depend on the focus and breadth of the deal. The Cards may be more willing to deal Reyes now that he’s been suspended, although his true ace potential may prevent them from doing so.
Flaherty is the guy I would expect to see included in a deal. He’s lower down in the minors, which allows the Cards to use Reyes and/or Gonzales if needed in 2016, and he has a ceiling that’s similar to what Odorizzi’s may be.
If the Rays decide to not target Grichuk or Piscotty, they could instead aim to name one or two of these highly sought after prospects. Sierra is still only 19 years old, but he has the makings of an elite RF. Sosa is a potential 5-tool SS that would be a nice grab in trade, one that could compete with Willy Adames and Daniel Robertson for the starting SS job.
And finally, if the Rays want to aim for 2 starters, they could target Weaver who is just over a season away from being ready for The Show. He would immediately have the best changeup in the Rays system and would be a nice addition to Blake Snell, Taylor Guerrieri, and Jacob Faria in the future Rays rotation.
Thoughts on the Rumor
My thoughts on the rumor is that the Rays are making noise trying to get the best value for their #2 starter, Jake Odorizzi. If they didn’t do so, they likely wouldn’t get the most they can in return, and would be selling the team short as a result. Since we don’t usually hear of a deal being completed before it actually takes place on the Cards side of things, I doubt things have moved along very far.
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That’s not to say that I don’t believe the likely deal including Odorizzi wouldn’t be with the Cards. It absolutely could be. What I’m saying is that it’s more likely that the Rays are using the Cards as a pressure tactic to get the most out of a deal with either the Dodgers or the Cubs.
It’s completely possible, as well, that the Rays are still looking to deal with the Dodgers AND also complete a deal with the Cardinals. If they decide to deal another starter, they could reload the system with 4 to 8 prospects – depending on the risk and talent – and still compete with a nice rotation in 2016.
That’s how deep the Rays pitching really is. They could also look to use some of the money saved to add a veteran arm at the back of the rotation, like the Mets recently did with Bartolo Colon.
If a deal were to be completed with the Cards, you could expect a combination of an OF and lower minor prospects, or a few high-ranked pitching prospects with one or two lower level prospects.