Sunday, July 5, 2009

Minnesota columnist blames Rays for Twins woes

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.



16 Comments:

Bud Light said...

Ridiculous post...Its tough when someone else points out your (Rays) mistakes...
The point is the Rays "gave" away a top notch starting pitcher for what.....
The result being is that Tigers are on the way up with Jackson and the Rays are worse off with out Him!!

Anonymous said...

Funny comment... It is evident you did not watch Jackson's every start last year, otherwise you would have made the same trade. Furthermore, as past moves from the Rays have shown, they rarely make talent evaluation mistakes.
This was a trade for "the future"... let me type it slower for you... the fffuuuutttuuuuuurrre. Crawford is likely gone next year because we can't affort to pay him market price, that is when Joyce would - hopefully - come in.

Bud Light said...

I can see why you are "Anonymous"..
I watched every one of EJ 14 wins last year...
and I would have NEVER trade him for some "prospect"...
If the Rays miss the playoffs THIS year at least you can sit at home and wait for the
fffuuuutttturre.....Have fun!!!!!!!!!!

Corbitt said...

All 14 wins? That include the blown lead in the ninth he picked up a win for because we came back in the 10th?

Bud Light said...

Ok then..go ahead and give him away...

Michael_Rays Rev said...

I'll submit this for you approval: Aubrey Huff for Mitch Talbot and Ben Zobrist. Huff has put up some pretty good numbers the past couple of years, but who would you take right now? The guy playing way above his salary or the guy on the decline. Buy low, sell high. E-jax was on the high end of his worth and there were people behind him to take his place. Don't worry, I'll dredge all this up again when Joyce starts making an impact.

Anonymous said...

Well, if we're going to play the near-sighted, small-sample-set game...

Matt Joyce's first season in MLB (age 23): 12 HRs in 242 ABs, which if projected to the 500 ABs a regular player might get for a whole season gives you 25 HRs. I'm only looking at HRs because we're playing the near-sighted game, but he also showed above-average defense.

Edwin Jackson's first full season in MLB as a starter (age 24): 5-15 with a 5.76 ERA.

Even playing the near-sighted game, I think I'll take Joyce. Once you add in Jackson's many years of mediocrity versus a half-season of stellar play, Joyce's promise and the Rays' needs and surpluses - well, it's a no-brainer.

It amazes me how people continue to not get how MLB teams are built, especially with a tight budget. The DEVIL Rays probably would not have made the Joyce/Jackson trade - if you're going to tell me the old organization made better decisions than this one, I can't help you.

Bud Light said...

E-Jax's "high end of worth" was Matt Joyce...
Boy would I like to do some trading with you!

"there were people behind him to take his place"
Price and Niemann have years to get where EJ is NOW...they should have been given the time/experience before giving a proven starter away!!!

Mark Sakalosky said...

History tells us we won't know who got the better of the Jackson-Joyce trade for a couple of years. The Tigers acquired Doyle Alexander for minor-league prospect John Smoltz in August, 1987 to make a playoff push and, according to The Hardball Times, '...Alexander started 11 of the Tigers' 51 remaining games, going 9-0 with three shutouts and a 1.53 ERA.' The Tigers went on to win the AL East. At the time it looked like a good trade for the Tigers. And it looked the same after the 1988 season when Smoltz posted a 2-7 record with a 5.48 ERA with the Braves while Alexander went 14-11 with a 4.32 ERA for the Tigers.

Today the Alexander-Smoltz deal is considered one of the worst trades in MLB history. But even 18-months after the deal was completed, nobody was sure who got the better of the trade. Surely nobody was saying the Braves had ripped off the Tigers, and there were probably plenty of people saying the opposite.

We'll be able to judge the Jackson-Joyce trade much better given time. I'm guessing we'll know better once the 2010 season is completed.

Michael_Rays Rev said...

Bud Light, you're missing the point. The "small-market" Rays can't afford to keep everyone. If they played your version of front office, they would be the Florida Marlins all over again. Win for a year or two and then fire sale. The Rays FO tries to get value where they can.

The fact of the matter is that Jackson was the #5 starter last year and pretty much left off the post season roster. If the Rays could get some value out of him, why wouldn't they? They had a logjam at pitcher. They had to get rid of someone. If you listed last year's starters off, who would you have traded?

It's easy to criticize the Rays management half-way through the season. Let's see how it plays out after a year or two. I still believe Matt Joyce will have a more long term impact for the Rays than Edwin Jackson will have for the Tigers.

9equals8.com said...

Jackson would have commanded $2.5mm+ and would not have started for the Rays this year (he would have been in the pen). He may have gotten an opportunity to start when Kazmir went down or maybe when Sonny struggled. But, he still would have been an unproven bullpen guy at $2.5 million and they could not afford that. I like Matt Joyce's upside and am willing to wait to see how things shake out with this trade. Especially given the Rays track record of making solid deals in the past.

Bud Light said...

1) If I had to trade one starter off last years team...It would have been Kazmir...
(which would have been before this years mental collapse)
and I would have got a top notch outfielder to play right...thus a new 5th pitcher..who?

2) I haven't criticized management 1/2 thru the season....I criticized them the DAY I heard about the trade as posted on as many web sites that I could..scream about the decision!

Joel said...

Edwin Jackson's career averages, including this half-season: 4.64 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .273 BAA. This season so far: 2.59 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .215 BAA.

Now I'm not guaranteeing that he's just having a lucky season so far, and that his numbers will sink closer to his career averages soon; however I am saying that calling this deal a rip-off based on that wildly out of place half-season is a ludicrous statement that should be coming from some anonymous doofus reader of a blog, not a supposedly informed writer for a major metropolitan newspaper.

There is plenty of reason to believe Jackon's turnaround is for real, considering his still-young age and the fact that he added a whole new pitch this year (of course that still wouldn't make this deal a rip-off). But I think it's just as likely that Jackson is on a new-home high, and that his underwhelming days are soon to return - even as early as the second half. The Tigers don't exactly have a positive history of pitching evaluation and development outside of Verlander and maybe Galarraga.

Joel said...

Bud Light - again, you don't seem to understand the concept of value in personnel decisions for a small market team.

Why you don't trade Kazmir:

1) He was signed to an extension in May of 2008 - you don't trade a guy less than one year after signing him to an extension, small market team or not.

2) He was an All-Star in 2006 and 2008; he led the AL in strikeouts in 2007. He did all of this before turning 25 (Edwin Jackson is 25)

3) But despite those accomplishments, he was coming off a below-average season; that means that we would have been selling him at a price below his market value, which meant we wouldn't be getting the kind of bat you'd like to think we would have gotten. Nevermind the fact that the OF class was pretty much bunk.

A small market team cannot trade proven high-end pitching talent - no exceptions. A small market team with a surplus of pitching however HAS to take whatever they can get for an underwhelming pitcher who has at least some value to someone. Again, even IF Jackson pitches like this for the next 10 years, it just doesn't matter; the Rays cannot afford to keep 8 major-league starters just to wait on them all.

And if they can get a bat with some major upside at a position where there might soon be a MAJOR need (because, again, small market team can't compete with the big boys for a veteran guy like Crawford), we're all the better for it.

Bud Light said...

I've got a headache from this one..there is no way I can respond to all the idiot statements
in ole Joel's post...but if you really think that way....How about taking up soccer..that would be a good small Market for you!

Michael_Rays Rev said...

Or you could become a Yankees fan. They seem to play by "your rules" ;)

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