Tampa Bay Rays: 3 Most Unfortunate Trades in Franchise History

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Jose Bautista (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

We take a look at three trades in Tampa Bay Rays’ history that didn’t work out in the team’s favor.

The Tampa Bay Rays are notorious for making out like bandits in trades. Recently they moved Chris Archer for Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, and Shane Baz. They traded Delmon Young in 2003 and are still reaping the benefits today. 

As good as the trade history is for the Rays, you can’t win them all. Today, we’ll take a moment to look back at three trades that didn’t work out for Tampa Bay.

Jose Bautista for $50,000

Jose Bautista was a 20th-round selection in the 2000 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2003, he was left unprotected heading into the Rule-5 draft. The Orioles snagged him but opted to place him on waivers in June. That’s when the Rays staked their claim and Jose Bautista was in Tampa.

Bautista had been a solid player prior to his Rule-5 selection, but at that point, he hadn’t even reached Double-A. When the Orioles took him, he had to go to the major league roster as a stipulation of the Rule-5 draft.

Bautista only logged 12 games for the Rays in 2004. Just three weeks after being claimed by Tampa he was sold to the Royals for $50,000. He eventually found himself back in Pittsburgh by the end of 2004. In 2005 he finally got his first crack at Double-A at the age of 24, when he crushed 23 homers, 90 RBI, and hit .280 with a .364 on-base percentage.

Of course, Bautista would go on to make six consecutive All-Star appearances between 2010-2015, leading the major leagues in home runs in both 2010 and 2011.

He was likely not ready for the show when the Rule-5 draft whisked him away to the big leagues. Luckily, he ended that roller coaster 2004 back with the Pirates and was able to resume his development in the minor leagues in 2005.

You can’t blame the Rays for missing out on the guy. He was a 20th-round selection and was passed around from team to team in 2004. The whole league missed out. Plus, he didn’t break out until 2010 at the age of 29. Even so, the amount of production he put forth following the $50k transaction is enough to qualify Jose Bautista for this list.

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