Looking Back at the Rays Willy Adames Trade

Milwaukee Brewers v Tampa Bay Rays
Milwaukee Brewers v Tampa Bay Rays / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

On May 21st of the 2021 season, the Tampa Bay Rays made a major move, dealing starting shortstop Willy Adames and RHP Trevor Richards to the Milwaukee Brewers for RHPs J.P. Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen. The deal has already made a significant difference for each ballclub.

At the time of the trade, Adames was hitting just .197 with 5 HR through two months of the season, and top prospect Wander Franco was ready to take over as the everyday shortstop. Adames has played a major role during the Rays run to the World Series in 2020, so the move was a bit of a shocker for many around the league. Adames got a standing ovation in his return to Tampa Bay this season.

Adames went on to slash .285/.366/.521 with 20 HR and 58 RBI for the Brewers as they went on the win the NL Central title in 2021. Adames has hit a bit of regression in 2022, starting the season off .212/.283/.472, but has already slugged 15 HR so far. Although his numbers are not the same as they were in 2021, the Brewers were in desperate need of offense, and his bat was a huge reason for their success last season.

Richards would appear in 15 games for Milwaukee in 2021 but would ultimately finish the season with Toronto, where he has struggled mightily with a 6.59 ERA in 2022. The Rays likely have no regrets from his departure.

For the Rays, both Feyereisen and Rasmussen
have emerged as key arms on their staff the last two seasons. Feyereisen appeared in 34 games for Tampa Bay in 2021, with a 2.45 ERA and was a key member of their bullpen in the second half of the season. 2022 has been lights out for the right hander, as he has yet to give up an earned run in 24.1 innings of work out of the pen this season. Unfortunately for the club, Feyereisen has spent most of June on the IL battling a shoulder injury.

Rasmussen has emerged as a quality starter for the Rays after posting a 2.44 ERA out of the pen and 10 starts for Tampa last season. In 2022, the right hander has made 12 starts with an ERA of 3.41 and is providing consistent, quality innings for the club as it has battled many different injuries to their pitching staff.

As the team struggles to score runs, some may look back and wonder whether giving away a bat like Adames was the right call for the club. Although he raked in 2021, he has regressed in 2022, and plays a position that the Rays already have major depth in. Their middle infield consists of Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe, Taylor Walls, and Vidal Brujan at the moment, so trading from a position of strength was a smart move. Not to mention, the arms they received back from the Brewers have played a key role in their staff and remain under team control beyond 2022.