I was surfing through the Rays blogsphere this afternoon, when I came across a link from Rays Index about a column that appeared in a Minneapolis newspaper. Basically colunist Patrick Reusse blames the Rays for helping the Detroit Tigers and hurting the Minnesota Twins. His contention is that the Tigers "ripped the Rays off" in their trade of Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce. On the other hand, the Twins were unable to "rip the Rays off" when it came to the Matt Garza/Jason Bartlett Deal for Delmon Young/Brendon Harris.
He says quote:
[A 2009 Minnesota pitching staff that included Matt Garza had the trade not happened] Such a staff is something Tampa Bay possessed,before making the horrific trade with Detroit that could wind up determining the finish in the AL Central.
Reusse, get your head on straight. Learn more about the Rays before you try to blame them for your team's woes. The trade to Detroit was hardly horrific. The Rays did not get ripped off. They made a good business decision when they traded a pitcher they could replace for a future starting outfielder.
1. The Rays had too many starting pitchers and needed to trade one of them in the off-season. Coming into the season the Rays were stocked at starting pitcher and facing a logjam. David Price was on the verge of cracking the starting lineup. They also had Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann waiting in the wings. Someone had to go. Up until 2008, Jackson was not a solid pitcher for the Rays. Even last year, he only pitched one inning in the playoffs and World Series.
The Rays knew he was talented, but he was never going to be worth more than he was this off-season. While Jackson may be pitching better than expected, he was still the odd man out of the rotation.
2. The Rays never planned for Matt Joyce to be the starter this year anyways. The Rays already had Gabe Gross under contract when the trade went down. Theoretically, they fill the same hole in the roster: left-handed batting platoon right-fielder. The Rays also signed Gabe Kaplar after the trade as the right-handed part of the platoon. I believe that if the Rays really planned on starting Joyce this year, the Gabe-platoon never would've materialized. Joyce did get on the opening day roster because of the injury to B.J. Upton. Joyce is on the roster as a future outfield, not one for this year.
3. Last I checked, the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays have the same record... so who ripped who. If the Rays were truly robbed of a solid starting pitcher, then why are they sporting the same record as the Tigers. In fact, the Rays would be in real good shape if they were in the AL Central. I don't think the loss of Edwin Jackson seriously knocked the Rays down a peg.
4. At the half-way point last year, the Minnesota/Tampa Bay trade didn't quite look as bad as it does now. So, why not wait another year before you compare that trade to the Edwin Jackson trade. Last year at this time, Matt Garza was the Rays' resident head case. In early June, he had a serious exchange with Dionar Narvarro that had everyone questioning his head. Meanwhile, Delmon Young was batting .300 with 42 RBI's in the first half of last season. Who's kidding who?
Look, I'm sorry that the Twinkies are having trouble with the Tigers this year. But, blaming it on the Rays is totally uncalled for. The Rays aren't the team you described anymore. They're a team that's coming off a World Series appearance that's making serious in-roads this season. A healthy starting rotation of James Shields, Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir, David Price, and Jeff Niemann is the envy of many teams. Don't make it sound like they sold a quality #1 starter to Detroit for peanuts.