Tagged: Cleveland Indians

Rays Streakin’ Heading into Break

We’re Streakin’!!!!

I don’t know how today’s game will go. 

What I do know is that over the course of July, the Rays have been playing as well as they have all season long.

And that is saying something.



Heading into Interleague play, back in June, the Rays sat with a supberb record of 32-12.  They were 20 games over .500 and playing the best baseball in the league.  They were the talk of the league and considered a shoo-in for the playoffs. 

Then disaster hit.

The Rays became human.

They started to lose at a Devil Rays-esque pace.  Over the course of 30 games the Rays won only 12, falling out of first place in the AL East, out of the wildcard spot in the AL, and into the spot they finished in last season: 3rd.

It was heartbreaking.

Then something weird happened.



In the final game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, BJ Upton pulled a, well, BJ Upton, and loafed after a ball in the gap. 

After being called out by Evan Longoria on his lack of hustle, BJ threw a temper tantrum. 

Upton was removed from the starting lineup for the next handful of games, something that BJ and manager Joe Maddon said was because of injury, but the rest of the fans with any baseball acumen knew was an unpublished suspension.

And the Rays took off.



Since the fight, the Rays have gone 9-3 against some of the better competition in the league, the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox, and a team they SHOULD beat, the Cleveland Cav-, um, Indians.

A win today will move the Rays to 54-34, right back to where they were about a little over a month ago. 

20 games over .500 again.

They would have the second best record in the AL and (possibly) get to within 1 game of first place, behind the New York Yankees.


Jeff Nieman is on the mound today.  He is 16-4 since last July.  Pitchers cannot be much better than he has been the last year. 

The Cleveland Indians are, well, a team that is on the downturn, let’s say.

20 games over .500 would look pretty good going into a mid-season rest.

How much longer could this streak of good play go?

We’ll see…

Gradin’ the Tradin’: Part II

The first post I put out a few days ago was only to rate the trades that occurred on Friday, the trading deadline day. 

However, I got a few e-mails asking me why I left out one trade or the other.  They got me to thinking….why NOT go through the notable trades from the trading deadline and just before? 

I enjoyed arguing with some of you through comments and e-mail about what you thought of some of the trades.  Good times…

This post might be more for me than anybody since I LOVE trades and how they affect teams.  I think they are something that is utilized by baseball better than any other sport and is part of the reason why this game is so grand.

Again, I’m primarily looking at the team that is the bigger part of the deal, though in some cases I grade both teams.

So without further adieu….here is part deux. 


Deal:  Reds trade Edwin Encarcion et al to the Blue Jays for Scott Rolen

Analysis:  It seemed that Encarnacion never really got it going in Cincinnati.  He hit a load of dingers last year, but the average the last few years was never really what Dusty Baker wanted (.209 in 2009).  I don’t see him being the 3B of the future for the Jays, unfortunately.  However, from what I’ve read about the two young pitchers who were also sent to the Jays, the real value might be there.  These two pitchers might make an impact on Toronto this season, which would make the Jays winners here.  The Reds get an aging 3B who might be able to help out a little next year.  While the Reds play in a strong offensive park, the fact is that Rolen is 34 and has seen his best years pass him by.

Grade:  Reds–C+   Jays–B+


Deal:  Jerry Hairston, Jr. to the Yankees for a Single-A catcher

Analysis:  This just doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.  Of course, the Rays are notorious for making the “not a big deal” trades that end up getting them a bunch of wins.  Maybe the Yankees have been taking notes.  They already went into the Rays’ playbook to make a deal for Eric Hinske earlier in the year, after all.  Hairston, Jr. has speed and versatility.  For those reasons he might be a nice guy to have on a team.  A National League team.  I don’t see him helping the Yanks out too much.  Then again, New York didn’t give up much, either.

Grade:  B-


Deal:  Brewers deal to get Claudio Vargas from the Dodgers

Analysis:  The Brewers needed a starter.  A good starter.  They needed somebody to help them contend with the Cubs, Cardinals, and, suddenly, the Astros.  Instead they dealt for a bullpen guy in LA who they actually had not that long ago and dumped because of his ineffectiveness.  They didn’t give up much, but they didn’t get much, either.

Grade:  D-


Deal:  Cubs get John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny from Pirates

Analysis:  This is a case where I think both teams won out.  The Pirates got a young hurler in Kevin Hart and a strong piece of the bullpen in Jose Ascanio.  The Cubs needed a starter in Gorzelanny (he’ll start this week) to fill in for Ted Lilly and they needed a strong lefty in the ‘pen in Grabow who will take the place of the Tommy John-bit Neal Cotts.  Grabow will complement Sean Marshall in the bullpen and add some stability to a shakey group.

Grade:  A for both teams (especially because of the mad kung fu skills of Gorzelanny)


Deal:  Royals get Josh Anderson from the Tigers

Analysis:  This guy was got for cash.  That’s it.  Typically these deals are non-issues.  This one fits in with that characterization.  So why are we talking about it?

Grade:  Who cares?


Deal:  The Giants get Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates

Analysis:  The Pirates are becoming to be old hat in these trade discussions.  With that said, the Bucs are doing the right thing.  Sanchez was scheduled to make $8 mill next year.  That’s too rich for a team with so many holes.  I was hoping that the Rays would get this guy–he’s one of my faves–so that they could move Ben Zobrist’s rocket arm and huge bat to right field.  Alas, not to be.  This move will probably lead to the Giants releasing Rich Aurelia and his salary.  Sanchez will help the Giants.  The Pirates got a pitcher in Tim Alderson who will help them–in the future.

Grade: B+


Deal:  Phillies land Cliff Lee from Indians 

Analysis:  C’mon, do we have to talk about this one?  I was hoping the Rays might get active here, and they were, but not as active as the Series champs.  They got Lee, gave up some guys they’ll miss, and promptly saw him throw a complete game shutout.  ‘Nuff said.

Grade:  A


Deal:  Mariners get Jack Wilson from Pirates for a bunch o’ guys

Analysis:  The M’s got the shortstop they had hoped they had in Yuniesky Betancourt.  When they realized Betancourt was a flop defensively, they shipped him to Kansas City–where he’s struggled.  Wilson is a solid piece of the future puzzle for the M’s and will get them some wins in the future.  The guys the Pirates got will be helpful, but not too helpful right away.  Ronny Cedeno is flopping right now and catcher Jeff Clement was not sparking the way the Mariners wanted.  I thought that the addition of Clement might lead to the Bucs moving Ryan Doumit–to the Rays.  Not so.  Oh well.

Grade:  Mariners–B+    Pirates–B


Deal:  White Sox get Mark Kotsay, Red Sox get Brian Anderson


Analysis:  No doubt, the White Sox won this trade–right now.  The White Stockings got a premiere pinch hitter who can play almost any corner position.  He is a veteran who can fit in immediately with is new team and pay dividends as they push for October.  The Red Stockings got a supreme underachiever in Anderson.  He might develop, though, into a guy who might be the utility outfielder Rocco Baldelli is supposed to be.  With JD Drew on his way out (c’mon, folks, he’s hurt, like, ALL THE TIME) this might be a good add–next year.

Grade:  White Sox–B+    Red Sox–B+ (potentially)


Deal:  Giants get Ryan Garko for Single-A pitcher

Analysis:  Garko was a fan fave in Cleveland, but he was going to be up for big money in the off season.  So he was shipped.  He was taking playing time away from guys the Indians really wanted to see and they did not view him as a piece of the future.  He has a gift for being offensive–in a good way–and should help the Giants offense get going.  The guy Cleveland got will be good two years from now.  That’s something to be happy about in Clevelend–and there isn’t much these days.  However, the move will give more AB’s to superstar-in-the-making Matt LaPorta

Grade:  B


Deal:  Matt Holliday goes to St. Louis

Analysis:  Waste of time to talk about.  He’s hitting .529!!! 

Grade: A+ (and it sickens me to say that)


Sorry if the pics got a little weird there at times.  I’m as distracted by the strange moments of our favorite sport as anybody.

I think that runs down most of the more notable trades that have occurred the last few weeks (and a couple of not-so-notable trades). 

I think that this time of year is the most captivating of any sport out there.  Teams are fighting for division titles.  Others are scrambling for wildcard berths.  Franchises are deciding whether to buy or sell.  Squads are scouting for both this and next year–and with a do-or-die attitude.

It’s just great.

And the waiver-wire trades are going to get going soon too.  Teams have to make waiver deals before August 30th if they want that guy to be eligible for the post season.

And the countdown begins.


And if anybody asks me about the Julio Lugo deal……..

Gradin’ the Tradin’

Ah, well.  The Rays did not make any moves at the trade deadline.  Despite two glaring needs, the team was unable to do that trade that might have helped to shore up some weaknesses for the final playoff push.

I don’t know that moves HAD to be made.  This team stood pat last year and was able to utilize the huge talent it had to make it to October.  This year’s iteration of the Rays is not much different, and should be able to ride its talent–both here in the majors and in the minors–to a division crown or wildcard berth. 

It ain’t gonna be easy, though.

Even though I can’t look at any moves the Rays made, I wanted to take a look at the multitude of moves made yesterday and grade how each move should help each team.


Deal: Red Sox trade for Victor Martinez

Analysis: Jason Varitek has not been what the Sox have needed this year.  Sure, he’s led the team as an old grizzled veteran should, but little more than that.  Add in the fact that Mike Lowell’s hip is not long for this season and you have a need at catcher and first base.  Well, the Red Sox filled those needs with the addition of Martinez.  One of the more coveted players available at the deadline, the versatile Martinez might just be the piece that complete the playoff puzzle for the Sox

Grade: A+


Deal:  White Sox trade lots of young arms for Jake Peavy

Analysis:  Initially this looks like a great deal.  The White Sox were able to rekindle interest in moving Peavy late Friday (interest that waned early in the season) and finally consummated the deal.  Why Peavy would want to pitch in hitter-friendly US Cellular Field in a new league is beyond me, but he had his reasons to waive his no trade clause.  The Sox got a pitcher who is not ready to pitch now and might not be ready for several more weeks.  The Padres got a plethora of arms that should help them long term.



Deal:  Twins acquire Orlando Cabrera

Analysis:  I don’t like Cabrera.  Let’s get that out of the way.  I don’t like the way he tried to make some lame point in the playoffs last year against the Rays.  I am glad Grant Balfour struck him out, though.  Why do I say all this pointless blather?  Because this is a perfect move for the Twins.  And if I’m saying that with the way I feel, then you know it is good.  The Twinkies needed a strong shortstop, and they got it.  He will hit 2nd in the lineup ahead of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer and will help that offense really get going.  And his defense will be welcome in the Metrodome–especially if you saw the bumbling of Brendon Harris in last night’s game.



Deal:  Tigers get Jarrod Washburn

Analysis:  Washburn was not going to be able to help the Mariners make the playoffs this year.  And he was going to ask for more money than the M’s would be willing to pay him after the end of this season.  For them, this is a great move.  For the Tigers, this move makes sense.  They will now have a solid 1-3 in the rotation.  Plus, the move enabled them to keep pace with the moves the Sox and Twins made within the division.  But can Washburn keep up his torrid pitching?  I don’t think so.

Grade:  B-


Deal:  Braves and Red Sox exchange 1B: Adam Laroche and Casey Kotchman


Analysis:  The Braves have fallen out of love with the guy they acquired for Mark Teixeira not that long ago.  Why?  They want more home runs.  Kotchman has just 6 this year.  But the guy is hitting .283 and plays a decent 1B.  Laroche, on the other hand, struggles to hit .250 and only has 13 dingers this year.  Each guy has only around 40 RBIs.  This is kind of a non-deal–much like the Jeff Francoeur for Ryan Church deal earlier.  What are the Braves thinking?

Grade:  Braves–C             Red Sox–B


Deal:  Marlins trade for the Nats’ Nick Johnson

Analysis:  Everybody seems to love Nick Johnson.  I don’t get it.  He’s a marginal hitter, and ok fielder, and he might actually be slower than our own Pat Burrell.  What’s the deal?  When the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez was told of the trade, he reportedly pumped his fist and yelled “YES!”  Why?  This might help the Marlins shore up their infield by moving Jorge Cantu to 3B and allowing Johnson to man 1B, but that’s about it.  But, the Fish did not give up much for him so…

Grade:  B


Deal:  Rockies get Joe Beimel from the Nats

Analysis:  Make fun of the Pirates all you want, at least it seems they are getting a direction in mind for the franchise.  The Nationals don’t have a clue.  They dumped a solid lefty bullpen guy in Beimel to get two youngsters–one of which, I read, is recovering from surgery.  Ugh.  This deal should help the Rox, but not that much.

Grade:  B


Deal:  Dodgers send minor leaguer 3B Josh Bell to O’s for closer George Sherrill

Analysis:  I’m looking at both sides of the coin on this one.  The Dodgers acquire a solid closer who has been more and more consistent as the season has gone on.  Thus, right now the Dodgers have one of the more potent 8th- and 9th-inning guys out there.  The Orioles got a guy I hadn’t heard much about, but about whom I read is something special at 3B.  Melvin Mora won’t be long in an O’s uni, so getting Bell, who might get a callup sometime next year, plays out perfectly for Baltimore.  This team is going to be pretty exciting come next season. 

Grade:  D’s–B+        O’s–B


As with any trade that went down in the last few days, we will have to wait and see how things go.  Of course, the Cardinals have gotten immediate returns on their move as Matt Holliday has TORN IT UP since his arrival in St. Louis.

Lots of the deals above included young minor leaguers.  Their value is not entirely quanitfiable just yet, but it may be sooner rather than later.

Either way, Friday was lots of fun.

Even if the Rays did do nothing.

Perfect Follow-Up for the Rays


The Rays got a hit and a walk in the first inning.

So that drama is over now.

What is more important is that they got a bloop single from Evan Longoria in the 10th inning to drive in two runs and give the Rays the final margin in a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays and Roy Halladay.

It was perfect.


Good Ol’ Fashioned Shootout

Both Halladay and the Rays’ Matt Garza fought hard throughout the game.  Their stats were nearly identical, with both guys throwing 9 innings, giving up 2 runs, and only giving up a handful of hits.  Garza walked none and struck out 9, earning the win, while Halladay struck out 10 and walked 3 in a no decision.

It was like a shootout at the OK Corral, as Doc Halladay and Garza stared each other down, waiting to see who would blink first.  Neither did.

But Scott Downs did.  He took the loss after giving up a hit to BJ Upton, walking Carl Crawford, and then allowing a bloop hit to Longoria.

Longo had been worked into a 2-strike count at the time, but he put good wood on the ball to drop it in front of a diving Joe Inglett.

Sometimes I think that Longo literally has ice water in his veins.  He does not get rattled.  He is one cool cat when it counts.


(This guy is cool)

JP Howell dominated the bottom of the 10th to get his 10th save in his first game as the Rays’ official closer.


Curtains for the Doc?

The entire game played out as if it were the last for Halladay in a Toronto uniform.  He received standing ovations after every inning and the crowd would cheer him on in every big–and medium, for that matter–situation that arose.

While nobody knows the fate of Halladay right now, there was plenty of speculation during the broadcast and plenty on the blogs and websites out there. 

Lots of people were holding signs.


Every tv shot of General Manager JP Ricciardi on the phone was met with thoughts of what deal he might be listening to.

To his credit, none of it fazed Halladay.  He went out there and threw an amazing ballgame.  However, it may very well be these types of ballgames that are the impetus for his desire to leave.  How often can you throw 9 innings and strike out 10, giving up only 2 runs the whole time only to walk away with a no decision?

(I hope that you are taking notes on this Rays, ahem James Shields!)


Where’s the Offense, Guys?

The Rays have been struggling mightily in the run-scoring department. 

In the month of July, the Rays have scored more than 3 runs only 7 times in 19 games!  That is beyond inept. 

During that time the offensive stalwarts of the team have been beyond horrible: 

–Evan Longoria has managed to hit only .179 with 3 homers

–Carlos Pena has hit .183 with 30 strikeouts and 2 homers

–BJ has hit .223 with 2 homers 

–Jason Bartlett has hit .262 while riding high around .350 and up most of the year

This will not get it done down the stretch, no doubt.


Final Thoughts

The Rays got a nice win tonight, but so did the Red Sox and the Yankees.  That leaves Tampa Bay still 6 1/2 out. 

The pressure on our guys will only get worse with every passing game, and if the offense does not get in gear they will find themselves watching the playoffs on tv instead of from the field.




Next Up:

The Rays play Saturday at 1:00 pm.  Early game.   Kind of different for our guys.

We will send out David Price, who owned the Blue Jays the last time he saw them. 

He will be opposed by Brian Tallet, who was owned by the Rays offense.

Hmmmmm, should be interesting.


Odds and Ends

–According to MLB.com the Rays may be interested in shipping Scott Kazmir in order to free up their money situation for the acquisition of Indians pitcher Cliff Lee.

–Another rumor has the Rays inquiring on the availability of Indians C Victor Martinez (this deal would make sense considering the extreme lack of offense coming from behind the plate these days–Sorry Tribe Chick).

–The Rays are giving away t-shirts to the first 10,000 fans wearing Rays gear to 5 games during the next home stand.  I am really excited for Monday’s game against the Yanks because I need me one of these:

Rays and MLB Mid-Season Report–Looking Ahead to the Second Half

It is hard to believe that the second half of the baseball season starts today.  It seems as if the first half flew by so quickly.  But the first pitch of post-All Star Break baseball will be thrown tonight at 7 by Derek Lowe of the Atlanta Braves to the New York Mets. 

The Rays don’t get going until tomorrow against the Kansas City Royals, unfortunately.  So it will be a day of reflection on what has happened and guessing on what is to come this season.


Rays’ Mid-Season Awards


When you look at this Rays team as a whole, and at the season as a whole, not one guy stands out.  That was one of the hallmarks of last season’s team and one of the big reasons why it was so successful.  They literally are “One Team” as the ads proclaim, and it is not a bad trait to have. 

BUT, I’m not going to be lame and say that the award goes to the whole team.  Not everybody gets trophies here, so I’ll be narrowing my pick to one guy.

That guy is Carl Crawford.


With all due respect to Evan Longoria, Jason Bartlett, and Ben Zobrist, Crawford has been the most dependable player on the team.  He does not strike out alot, he is hitting .309, he has scored the second most runs on the team (58 behind Carlos Pena’s 62), and he has stolen a league leading 44 bases. 

When CC gets a hit, defenses shudder.  He is more disruptive on the basepaths than any other guy in the league.  HIs SB% is top-tier stuff and he even stole over 20 bases in a row to start the season.

Plus, just ask the guys on the AL All-Star squad how they feel about him. 


Best Starter

The rotation for the Rays has been hit and miss.  Unfortunately, this team could depend on its starters alot more last season, and things could get hairy the remainder of the 2009 campaign if these guys do not step up. 

The most consistent starter this season has to be “Big Game” James Shields


He goes out there every 5th day and throws excellent baseball games.  Period.  He leads all starters in ERA and innings pitched.  If he could get some run support from his offense he could be an 11-game winner and an easy pick for the All-Star team.  Alas, his hitters have scored more than 3 runs in a game for Shields only 8 out of 19 starts.  Tough to win when you have to be near perfect every start. 

If the Rays score runs for him in the second half, look for Shields to put up some amazing numbers.


Best Reliever

This might not be the sexiest award out there, but you don’t win without a solid bullpen.  The Rays are second to Boston in the AL in bullpen ERA (3.56 to 3.42) which is a big reason why they are in the running for the division lead.  Guys like Lance Cormier, Randy Choate, and Chad Bradford have helped to stabilize a ‘pen whose ERA was 6.16 just two years ago.

The top Reliever thus far, though, has to be JP Howell.


Howell has become the team’s defunct closer, and he has thrived in the role.  He has a 2.11 ERA, 5 wins, 6 saves, and sports an incredible strikeout ratio (50:42.2 innings!).  When he comes into the game, teams don’t hit.  And, more importantly, teams don’t score.  He has protected many leads for the Rays thus far, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joe Maddon officially name Howell as the closer for the remainder of the year.


Top Bench Player

If a team’s bench can be a strength, then a team will be successful.  The Rays had a strong bench last year with role players such as Eric Hinske, Cliff Floyd, and Jonny Gomes playing a big part in the World Series run.  This year is no different.

The Top Bench Player so far this year has to be Gabe Kapler.


Don’t get upset that it isn’t Ben Zobrist.  He became a starter a long time ago and thus does not qualify for this award.

Kapler has done it all.  He has played great defense, throwing guys out at will.  He has been a force at the plate, knocking 4 BIG home runs this year and doubling 13 times (7th on the team) in only 113 at bats!!!  To put it in perspective, no other Ray has that kind of production in so few at bats.  If he projected as a full time starter with numbers such as these, he would have gotten All Star consideration.


Best Acquisition

The Rays have not made many moves, but it looks right now that Randy Choate is the best addition to the team thus far. 

He has been a steadying influence on the bullpen and his 1.84 ERA has shown that he can be counted on to get the job done.  And his cheap contract means that he is just the type of guy the Rays love to get.


Most Disappointing Player

Unfortunately, there are many contenders for this award.  There are some Rays players who have underachieved in a big way in 2009.  BJ Upton would have been a lock for this award, but he has really turned it on as of late.  The same can be said for Pat Burrell

One guy who has not been able to improve at all has been Dioner Navarro


His .223 average, 13 doubles, .254 OB%, and 7 walks in 69 games this year have been bleak.  There are few teams that can succeed getting that kind of production from such an important position.  Sure, he calls a great game, but you have to get some offense from your catcher.  Let’s hope he turns it on in the second half as he did in 2007.


Rays’ Mid-Season Report Card

Hitting  C+

I’m not happy that this offense, which can be so potent, has been shut down left and right by inexperienced pitchers the last 2-3 weeks.  That cannot be.  When rookie takes the mound, he has to be dealt with accordingly.  The Rays’ hitters do not have that killer instinct right now.

Defense   A

This has been a part of the Rays’ game that can be counted on at all times.  Zobrist may lack the Aki range at 2B, but he has done fine there.  Kapler and Gross have platooned well in RF.  And Longo, Bartlett, Crawford, and Pena are among the best at their positions.

Pitching    B-  

Inconsistency among the starters have plagued this team all year.  An improvement there will lead to a serious run at the division.

Managing   B

Joe has done a nice job keeping guys focused through injuries.  But some of his moves have been perplexing. 

Front Office   B+

The guys up front have gotten the players to help the team at a low cost–something they are pros at and something that resulted in Andy Friedman getting Executive of the Year last season.  Burrell might have been a bust so far, but he will turn it around.  We’ll see if the Rays try to add anybody at the trade deadline–don’t count on it, though.


Fun Stuff 

Best Moment of the First Half

I had a great time watching BJ Upton go yard at the Trop in the bottom of the 9th against the Cleveland Indians in May. 

The game had everything: great defense (Upton gunning down a guy at the plate), a big comeback (they were down 7), and the capper (Upton’s walkoff).  It was the biggest come back victory in Rays’ history. 

Biggest Question in the Second Half

Can the Rays’ rotation calm down and pitch the way they did in 2008?  The offense will come around–too much talent there not to–but the rotation is too shakey.  You know Shields and Matt Garza will pitch well most of the time.  That’s it.  Jeff Nieman, Scott Kazmir, and David Price cannot be counted on right now.  If the rotation does not improve, they will not be able to keep pace with the Sox and Yankees.

Series to Pay Attention to in the Second Half

I am going to ignore the obvious Boston and New York series.  Of course those could be big.

However, I argue that if the Rays cannot do well in their 6 games against Kansas City, 9 games against Toronto, and 10 games against Baltimore the Sox and Yankees’ series will not matter.  The Rays have to beat the guys they are supposed to beat.  Nothing short of .600 baseball against those three falling teams will do.


My Playoff Picks

AL East:  Boston

AL Central: Detroit

AL West: Texas

Wildcard: Tampa Bay


NL East: Philadelphia

NL Central: St. Louis

NL West: Los Angeles

Wildcard: Chicago


That’s as far as I’m going to go with my predictions.  As you saw with my Home Run Derby and All-Star Game MVP predictions, I’m not all that good at it. 

I’ll leave that for the professional prognosticators.

What I will predict is that I–and hopefully you–will have alot of fun cheering for my team and going to the ballpark. 

What more could you ask for?


Rays Make a Typical “Ray Deal”

It looks like the Rays and Indians made a trade nobody cares about. 

The Rays make those types of deals all the time.  You lean forward in your seat only to sigh and slump back again upon hearing who the Rays dealt, and who they got in return.

Those are the types of moves that have made this Rays team what it is today, though, aren’t they? 

What has characterized the Rays’ move towards success the last four plus years have been moves just as this one.  They aren’t always trades, but they are almost always small moves that nobody really notices but make the team much better in the future. 

As a smaller market team, they are almost forced to resort to these under-the-radar transactions.  Luckily, we have the type of braintrust to make these moves positive events.

Remember the Aubrey Huff trade.  The Rays got a guy who was king of a throw-in type of player.  That guy has been quite the second baseman this season and should make his first All-Star Game appearance, Ben Zobrist.

Dioner Navarro, despite his low numbers this season, and Edwin Jackson came over in a minor deal with the Dodgers.  Jackson then went to Detroit with the hopes of bringing in the Rays’ right fielder of the future, Matt Joyce.  That Jackson/Joyce deal might not look great now, but it will soon. 

And do we need to mention Victor Zambrano for Scotty Kaz?  Whoops, I just did.

This deal has the potential to be one of those high-impact low-risk deals the Rays are famous for.

The Rays, I think, come out very well in this deal, moving a 32-year-old pitcher who was not going to help the team in the near future in Winston Abreu to get a young righty John Meloan.  In fact, Meloan’s youth must have been a big motivator in this deal–he is seven years younger than Abreu.

Meloan has the potential to be that closer the Rays desperately need.  Unfortunately, he won’t be that closer this season, as he needs a little more season-ing, so to speak, in the minors. 

Be that as it may, he is a guy who throws strikes and can blow people away, as his 10+ K/9 indicates. 

So why not take a flyer on the guy?  He has seven years to develop before we can call this deal a mistake or this guy a bust, as Abreu is slowly becoming.

I wish Abreu nothing but the best in Cleveland.  He might be able to turn it on when he knows he has a spot on a major-league roster secured (assuming the Indians keep him in the majors to help their beleagured bullpen).  He has the stuff for it.

He didn’t show that stuff here, that’s for sure. 

Hopefully we’ll see Meloan soon closing games for the big club.

For now, he can continue to marinade in the minors.

He’s got the time.