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Tampa Bay Rays: Did the Rays Make the Right Trades?

By David Egbert
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Trade deadline deals net the Tampa Bay Rays a quality infielder and five unproven prospects. Right or wrong, the question remains the same, are the Rays headed in the right direction?

Just before the Monday trade deadline, the Tampa Bay Rays sent Matt Moore, Steve Pearce and Brandon Guyer to three separate teams and in return, received a quality infielder in Matt Duffy and five prospects who are currently at Class-A ball or lower.

Did they make the right trades? Only time will tell but it doesn’t hurt to examine each trade and see if the Tampa Bay Rays Rays are headed in the right direction.

The biggest deal sent Moore to San Francisco for infielder Matt Duffy and minor leaguers Lucius Fox and Michael Santos. On the surface this looks like a good deal for everyone.

The Giants need pitching and the Tampa Bay Rays can always use quality position players. The only question is where does Duffy play?

Duffy was playing third base for the Giants and doing a fine job as he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting last year.

Unfortunately, a guy named Evan Longoria plays that position for the Rays

Duffy was originally a shortstop and plays that position well.

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However, a guy named Brad Miller has that job and we were told he was the team’s shortstop of the near future.

Second base? Sorry, Logan Forsythe has that job.

The Tampa Bay Rays say Duffy, under team control until 2020, is the shortstop of the future.

That must make Miller, who was given the job out of spring training a bit unhappy.

He has played a decent shortstop, hit 17 home runs and is not the reason the Rays are dead last in the AL East. He needs to be in the lineup.

Since Logan Morrison has turned out to be a bust and is a free agent at the end of the year, first base seems to be the landing spot for Miller.

The only problem is that he has never played the position in the minors or majors.

Fox and Santos are too far down on the minor league ladder to know if they have big league talent. Fox is a middle infielder with speed to burn. Unfortunately, you have to get on base to use the speed and he hasn’t shown much with the bat.

Santos has excellent stuff for his age but has been out since early June after being hit in the head with a line drive. This has to be worrisome as both players are now in the Rays top thirty prospects.

The next deal sent Steve Pearce to the Orioles for minor league catcher Jonah Heim.

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As much as we all love Pearce, it was a deal that had to be made as he is a free agent at the end of the year.

Heim is another catcher who is good defensively but can’t hit lick.

That gives the Tampa Bay Rays four catchers at Single-A or lower that are decent catching prospects but can’t hit.

Don’t we have enough of those with Curt Casali, Luke Maile and Hank Conger? Maybe, the law of averages will work in our favor.

The last trade sent Brandon Guyer to Cleveland for minor league outfielder Nathan Lukes and pitcher Jhonleider Salinas. The Tampa Bay Rays didn’t need to make this deal so they must have seen something in Lukes and Salinas.

While neither is a top 30 prospect, they are both in the low minors and have time to develop. We can hope that this turns out to be a Kevin Jepsen for Chih-Wei Hu type of deal. Nobody thought much of Hu when that deal was made but he has turned into a top 10 prospect.

The real sad story here is that Guyer leaves and Desmond Jennings stays. The Tampa bay Rays keep rolling Jennings out on the field and he continues to disappoint.

It’s a crime that they Rays wasted $8 million by releasing James Loney and this guy still has a roster spot. Aren’t they ever going to say that enough is enough?

Trades are a tricky proposition. They have lots of moving parts. Will both Duffy and Miller fit into the infield?

Will any of the prospects now in the lower minors make the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays Rays?

Next: Rays Trades: Deals Send Guyer, Moore and Pearce Packing

Let’s hope that trading for Matt Duffy was the right move and one or more of the minor leaguers turn out to be winners. If that happens, the Tampa Bay Rays will be on their way to building a team

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