The Major League Baseball trade deadline has now passed, and the future of certain baseball clubs has become all but solidified. Some of those futures are bright. Some of those futures are bleak. The Tampa Bay Rays happen to have one of those bleak futures.
The Rays’ future came to screeching halt at the trade deadline. August 1, 2016, should be a day that Tampa Bay fans remember forever. That was the day that Matt Silverman, Tampa Bay’s President of Baseball Operations, showed his true train of thought. Unfortunately for Rays fans, his focus isn’t on winning baseball games. Before the trade deadline was all said and done, Silverman made some questionable moves.
Brandon Guyer (OF) was sent to Cleveland. In return, the Rays picked up Nathan Lukes (OF) and Jhonleider Salinas (RHP). These guys were just playing Class-A and Rookie-level ball. Don’t expect them to make any impact for the club in the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t expect to see Lukes or Salinas even be considered for a spot on the Major League roster until after the All-Star break of 2018.
While trading away Guyer does no real harm to the club; the return wasn’t worth it. Guyer was the franchise’s leader in HBP. Is that a sexy stat? No. However, that does mean he gets on base a lot. If you want runs, you have to get people on base. Frankly, the Rays can’t depend on Evan Longoria forever. Someone else has to contribute to the offense. At least Guyer was doing that, albeit in a way that isn’t ideal.
The Rays also dealt Steve Pearce (OF) to Baltimore, for Jonah Heim (C). This move sounds good when you hear that Pearce is gone. At 33 years old, and on a one-year deal, it was smart for the Rays to get something for him. A Class-A catcher wasn’t exactly what I was thinking. Baseball America rated Heim as the best defensive catching prospect, entering the 2016 season. The fact that he still plays Class-A bothers me. The club can, yet again, expect to wait until 2018 to even start thinking about putting Heim into Major League play.
The closest the Rays got to a decent trade happened to involve Matt Moore, possibly the club’s best pitcher. Moore was sent to San Francisco. Matt Duffy (3B/SS), Lucius Fox (SS) and Michael Santos (RHP). Duffy is the best of the three. He’s 25 years old, will be shifting from third base back to his original spot and shortstop and provides the replacement for Brad Miller, who is just completely terrible. Now, Duffy is also coming to the club on the DL, with an Achilles strain. The key word there is a strain. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but with the Rays’ luck, who knows.
Fox was recently playing Low-A ball. He looks to be a very long term investment at just 19 years old. He plays at short, and will hopefully be able to step in when Duffy is past his prime. Santos is 21 years old and coming off a rehab assignment. In 59 innings pitched, he carries a 44/5 K/BB and has allowed just 61 hits. Again, these two guys look okay but have yet to prove themselves at a worthier level. I can’t say when they will make it to the MLB squad, but I can say it probably won’t be soon.
All in all, the Rays lost out at this trade deadline. Matt Silverman didn’t make a move to truly impact the club for this season. After glancing at these prospects, it doesn’t look like Silverman made a move to impact the team’s future either.
What is truly at the front of Silverman’s mind? Is it finding a location for a new stadium? It seems that moving the Trop gets more air time than an actual Rays game. Does he think the fans are going to forget how bad he is hurting the team, as soon as they have a fancy new venue? I hate to be the one to say it, but fans aren’t going to care about the stadium after a year or two. What will keep them interested is a success. If Silverman can’t find a way to bring long-term success to the Tampa Bay Rays, then he needs to go.
I implore Matt Silverman to get his head out of the gutter.
Please, Mr. Silverman.
Please start turning this club around.
I fear for the future if you don’t.