TRayde News: Two Rays Fans Discuss the Possbilities

The MLB trade deadline will hit us this Friday, July 31st

It is a fun time of year as teams who think they are still in their respective races “buy” what they can while teams that are already looking ahead to 2010 (or 2011, 2012, 2013…) “sell” what they can to prepare.

We have already seen some interesting moves take place early in the trading season what with Matt Holliday moving from the West (A’s) to the Midwest (Cardinals), Rafael Betancourt going from low altitude (Cleveland) to way up in the air (Colorado), and Julio Lugo being lucky to go anywhere (Cardinals). 

Other than those deals nothing notable has really happened.

It is with all this in mind that Ginny at The Watercooler and Bob at More Cowbell are putting together the first (of many) co-posts where we will look at certain aspects surrounding our beloved Tampa Bay Rays.

First up, the trade deadline and which Rays players could/should move before Friday.

We are not really debating on whether or not something will happen with each of the players discussed.  We are Rays fans.  We know NOTHING is going to happen.

What we are doing is looking at the team’s needs, current player performance, and the potential for a move to occur.

It is pure fun.

More Cowbell and The Watercooler are putting on our General Manager’s hats to see if something can be done to help our guys reach October, and the World Series, for the second consecutive year.

So enjoy our hypothetical (and pathetic-al) attempt at doing a job we’re never ever going to have!


The Players

Dioner Navarro  C

2009 Stats:  .226   13 2B   5 HR   25 RBI   2 SB   266 AB


Keep or Cut?

I am sure Ginny will agree, this is a tough one.  Navi is one of the bigger fan favorites at the Trop.  He and his family have gone through alot during his time with the Rays and that has kind of bonded fan and catcher together.

Looking at it from a purely baseball point of view, though, I think that Dioner needs to go.  The Rays need to look into either moving him or finding somebody (Victor Martinez from the Indians?) to take his place.  His stats are some of the worst in the league for a catcher.

Navarro has had a roller coaster career with the Rays.  Two years ago he was brutal, hitting just .227 with a .286 OB%.  Terrible.  Last year he was a big reason why the Rays went to the playoffs, handling the staff well and hitting .295 with a .349 OB%. 

If we keep him it will be because he handles the staff’s pitchers deftly.  The Rays might also think that he’ll bounce back next year. 


See what Ginny thinks.


The Gabes: Gross and Kapler  RF

Gross 2009 Stats:  .271  11 2B   1 3B   5 HR   28 RBI   6 SB   177 AB

Kapler 2009 Stats: .250   13 2B  1 3B   4 HR    23 RBI   3 SB   124 AB


Keep or Cut?

These guys have worked in tandem to create a very effective platoon in right field for the Rays.  No doubt, you lose a little bit defensively when Gross is in the lineup, but you gain that much back with his bat.  Right now it is just the opposite with Kapler. 

I think that the rightfielder of the future for the Rays is already on the team.  I just don’t know who exactly that will be.  It might be Ben Zobrist, Fernando Perez, Desmond Jennings, or even BJ Upton himself (with one of the latter two taking center).  It will not be Gross or Kapler in 2010.

With that in mind, I think that either one is expendable.  I wouldn’t trade either one of them now, though, unless putting them in a package deal can land us another starter or a catcher.  Gross would probably fetch more on the open market than Kapler would.  But since Akinori Iwamura is hurt and Zobrist is playing well at 2B, I would keep them both.

KEEP BOTH (for now)

See what Ginny thinks.


Randy Choate or Brian Shouse    LH Relievers

Choate 2009 Stats:  0-0   2.25 ERA   4 SV   16 IP   15 K   5 BB   1.00 WHIP   .198 BAA

Shouse 2009 Stats: 1-1   3.77 ERA   0 SV   14.1 IP   9 K   3 BB   1.40 WHIP   .298 BAA 


Keep or Cut?

Choate has had an amazing year with the Rays.  His stats show how well he’s pitched and watching him in action backs them up.  His Batting Average Against is stellar.  When he is brought into a game to face a left-handed batter you can pretty much assume that Choate will get the out.  Lefties are hitting just .189 against him this year.  He is just the kind of guy that Joe Maddon loves.

However, we already have that guy in Brian Shouse.  Or do we?

Shouse’s numbers do not stack up with Choate’s at all.  He gets lefties out to a .235 clip, but righties are hitting .325 against him.  That pretty much means that Shouse is in for one batter and that is it.  Choate has made righties hit only .200 this year. 

I think that Choate is a keeper, but since we already have JP Howell, Shouse is now expendable.  I know that Maddon has said that he is excited about having a “toybox of lefties” in his bullpen, but 3 is a crowd.  Choate stays.  Shouse goes.

Choate: KEEP    Shouse:  CUT

See what Ginny thinks.


Andy Sonnanstine  RH Starter (currently at AAA Durham)

2009 Stats:  6-7   6.71 ERA   81.2 IP   50 K   22 BB   1.52 WHIP   .305 BAA

Starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine #21 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox in Game Four of the ALDS during the 2008 MLB Playoffs at U.S. Cellular Field on October 6, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. 

Keep or Cut?

Sonny is doing very well with Durham (2-0, 3.35 ERA) since his demotion a few weeks ago.  However, as well as he is doing there is just about how horribly he did here.  Maddon kept waiting (as did we all) for Sonnanstine to turn it around, to turn into the guy we loved last year.  He was a great alternative to the flamethrowers already in the rotation, but when teams are hitting .305 off of you something has to give.  It did.  Andy’s at AAA.  

He needs to stay unless there is some great trade the Rays can pull off of which he is a part.  BUT, if the Rays are able to put him in a deal then we still have Wade Davis at AAA who can come up and be the next Sonny.   


See what Ginny thinks.


Scott Kazmir  LH Starter

2009 Stats:  4-6   6.69 ERA   74 IP   58 K   40 BB   1.72 WHIP   .289 BAA


Keep or Cut?

Ahhhh, Kaz.  This guy was the golden child when he was acquired from the New York Mets a few years ago for nothing more than our ace at the time, Victor Zambrano.  It was such an amazing deal for the Rays and such a terrible deal for the Mets. 

It’s still a good deal for Tampa Bay as Kaz developed in the ace for several years and came up big in big games last season.  However, he has developed an inability to go past the 5th inning and recently has developed the inability to get guys out.  It is not a good sign for the team’s current #2 starter.  

He has quite a fan following (I know Ginny at The Watercooler is especially infatuated), but that is no reason to hang on to the guy.  When you look at his performance you see that he is improving here in the second half of the season but that his “improvement” is still worse than many #5 starters in the league.  Kaz is slotted to make $10 mill next year.  He says he signed the contract to give the Rays a “bargain” and ensure that he would be able to play out his contract in Tampa Bay. 

I say let him.  I know it sounds crazy, but this guy has talent.  It is just off a bit.  I have ranted and railed at how sick of his ineffectiveness I am, but he could come back next year and become the All Star he was last year.  He is one of the guys who got it all started here, and I respect that.  He wanted to stay with the Rays before they were good.  I doubly respect that.  I want nothing more than to see him return to form.  I’ll have to hope for that. 


See what Ginny  thinks.



Wade Davis RH Starter (currently at Durham)

2009 Stats (at Durham):  8-6   3.22 ERA   114.2 IP   103 K   47 BB   1.29 WHIP   .229 BAA 

Keep or Cut?

I’ll be honest, I don’t know a great deal about the Rays’ top pitching prospect.  I know that when the Rays drafted him, Davis was supposed to be part of the new wave of Rays pitchers who would arrive in the majors and dominate.  He was supposed to team up with Jeff Nieman and Mitch Talbot to form the best homegrown 1-3 of any rotation in the league.  Nieman is here.  Talbot is hurt.  It’s Davis’ turn.

If the Rays make any deal for a substantial return (Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez anyone?) then Davis is more than likely going to have to be part of the package.  My gut says “do it.”  I believe in NOW in alot of ways, and this season is the NOW for the Rays.  Contracts are going to start kicking in soon and it won’t be long before the Rays and owner Stuart Sternberg have to dump some salary.  We’ve got to do it now.  If there is a way to make a deal for people who will get us to October this year, then do it.

I don’t know if that deal really exists.  If we get a pitcher, it will be for about 7-8 starts the rest of the season.  If we get a catcher, he’ll have to learn the staff and adjust his hitting to our stadium.  In the end, a deal for a pitcher and catcher might not help us as much as we might think.  And it would be stupid for a team with cash restrictions to give up an uber-talented and VERY cheap pitcher for that.   


See what Ginny thinks



  1. santosis

    I think the best move the Rays could make is to acquire a second baseman, and then move Zobrist to RF. I think I already mentioned that Zobrist’s infield skills are costly to the Rays, so they could upgrade the pitching staff by moving Zobrist to the outfield.

    The question becomes: who is available? The obvious answer is Freddie Sanchez. But acquiring Sanchez would not only be costly in the short term, it would present the Rays with a costly off-season decision. A less expensive option would be the Brave’s Kelley Johnson. He got off to a rough start this season, but and could probably use a change of scenery (similar to Navarro). I don’t see the Rays trading Navarro, because they still have financial control over him for a few years.

  2. southernbelle

    raysfanboy: Don’t worry about the blowout. A loss is a loss. My Yankees are REALLY HOT right now, but they can’t stay this way all year. I honestly think the Rays are an incredible club. The players are all class-acts, especially Carlos Pena. And Maddon is a great manager. It’s interesting about some of your trade ideas. I remember when Navarro was a Yankee. I have his rookie card! Who do you think is better: Shawn Riggans or Michel Hernandez? (I like Riggans cuz I have his rookie card, too!) Get back to me if you want. I hope you take over the Wild Card! Good luck against CC!

  3. raysfanboy

    Julia–I think we were a little conservative on some of our picks, but it would be cool to see how accurate we are.

    Gonzo–I hope it is interesting. MLB has something that no other sport can boast–a significant trade deadline. People look forward to it. Networks plan all day special programming around it. I’m excited.

    Ginny–Yes, you know you LUUUUV him…

    Cat–Ah, another Luuuuuver.

    Emma–I, on the other hand, have a crooked head. Comes from being dropped on it so many times. Which is why I’m so off on predicting things.

    Marc–Navi is a cheap catcher, but he is a huge hole in the offense. And somehow he keeps coming up in crucial situations. I would love to see Sanchez here. I love that guy. Johnson I’m not so keen on. I have agreed all along with you that Z belongs in RF. He has a strong arm and decent range for a RFer. However, Akinori Iwamura should be returning and he is exactly the type of 2B the Rays need.

    DG–We could have a party, but it would be one sad sad time.

    Southernbelle–Great question! I would say that Riggs is better than Hernandez only because he has more power and can hit for a little better average. Unfortunately, he is hurt and we are stuck with Navi and Michel. I like Michel, but he has a similar offensive approach to Navi–get out. But defensively I don’t know many teams that are better at C than we are. And that is one area where Riggs suffers.

  4. matttan7

    Why trade D. Navarro when he knows the pitching staff. I think trading him is going to cause a big hole. I know M. Hernandez is a good catcher but he has big shoes to fill. I think Andy Sonnastine deserves to come back to the Rays right about now.

    Matthew T.

  5. Jane Heller

    I think you two teaming up was a great idea. You guys have been following the Rays so you know the pros and cons well. I have to think the Rays will keep Kazmir and Navarro, but I also know that baseball is a cold business and the GMs do whatever they think will help the team. We shall see!

  6. devilabrit

    Nice idea… now I gotta go check out the other blog….. what the hell was happening last night… you let the Yankees hit 4 homers… wow… tonights another night… time to start winning…
    Outside the Phillies looking In

  7. jonnnnnn

    thanks for the support but Tim Lincecum dominated us last night. I guess it’s hard to be “scrappy and hustling” when you only get 4 hits all night. haha. It’s alright it was rather fun watching Lincecum pitch… he’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.

  8. raysfanboy

    Matt–Your point about Navi is the only reason I would argue that we should not trade him. But if we get a deal for a stronger offensive catcher then Ihope the Rays will make the deal.

    TC–I know Garko was a fave of alot of Indians fans. GM’s should have to clear all deals with the fans, you know?

    Jane–Word just came in that the Rays are assuring Kaz that he will stick around. I forget sometimes that he is just 25. It feels like he’s been around forever! If he stays, he needs to work harder.

    Outside–I’d like to say the hrs killed us, but it was pretty much everything. We blew.

    Jonestein–This could be the next big thing!

    Eastsleepmlb–Yeah, sorry. I was trying to be supportive, but I saw he struck out 15. Ouch. Sounds like we both had a tough night.

  9. santosis

    How much do you think the Rays would give up to get Freddie Sanchez? That’s the real question…

    From what I read, Iwamura’s contract is complicated. While the Rays have an option for next year, the contract requires that they sign him to an advanced extension before they can exercise the option–so essentially, this is his free agency year. Iwamura is scheduled to return to play in September, so the Rays should get a look at him before having to make that decision.

  10. raysfanboy

    I don’t think that the Bucs want much. Sanchez (if memory serves) is scheduled to make $8 mill next year and they don’t want to pay it. Then again, if the Pirates trade Jack Wilson to the BoSox then they’ll have a little extra money. I bet that Pitt would want nothing more than a decent AA prospect or two, and that’s it. The Rays are stocked, so it shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe throw in Shouse (not that the Pirates would want him since they have Grabow) for good measure.

    This stuff is fun.

  11. raysfanboy

    I don’t think that the Bucs want much. Sanchez (if memory serves) is scheduled to make $8 mill next year and they don’t want to pay it. Then again, if the Pirates trade Jack Wilson to the BoSox then they’ll have a little extra money. I bet that Pitt would want nothing more than a decent AA prospect or two, and that’s it. The Rays are stocked, so it shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe throw in Shouse (not that the Pirates would want him since they have Grabow) for good measure.

    This stuff is fun.

  12. crazy19canuck

    Bob…are you SEEING this game? Maybe we should make sure that Kaz is up against the opposing Aces more often. He’s really looking confident! (and the Rays announcers are even praising him…wow) I’m glad that he’s going to stay!!! I’ll feel better on Aug 1st for sure.
    btw, I’d had my “thing” for Kaz since 04…the blogosphere is just going to have to deal with it! LOL!
    GO RAYS!!!

  13. southernbelle

    raysfanboy: Don’t take credit away from the Rays! Sure the Yankees played sloppy baseball, but it only mattered cuz the Rays took advantage of it. The Yankees put the game out there for the Rays, and they quickly took it. The Yankees were completely dead in all areas last night. The Rays seem like they are always in the game to me. Didn’t they come back when down by 8 runs a few days ago? The Yankees felt like that in every game in the second half EXCEPT last night’s. And that is what worries me!

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