Noting the changing in the baseball market and teams reluctance to part with prospects (i.e. team-controlled cheap seasons) for veterans, I was curious to see if there were any Rays deals that made sense. And one came to mind that I thought would be fun discussing.
Looking at the Rays across the board, there are two areas that seem to have the potential for surplus: outfield and starting pitching. Fernando Perez (injured), Desmond Jennings (AA), and Matt Joyce (AAA) round out the top outfield prospects in the near future. On the mound, Wade Davis (AAA), and Hellickson (AA) along with a lot of promising arms in the lower minors (see Moore, Barnese, etc). When looking at areas the Rays are in need of long-term help, one position sticks out like a sore thumb: catching. With no disrespect to Navarro, Rays fans are left wondering which Navarro is more true to the norm--last year's or this year's? And which end of the spectrum is he more likely to fall on.
But good catching prospects? Get in line. There are very few dominant young catchers. Victor Martinez (who also gets time at 1B) and Joe Mauer stick out right now. Brian McCann, Russell Martin, and Geovonny Soto(although he's slumping) are apart of the younger wave, with Matt Wieters appearing ready to join the ranks. Salty in Texas and Jeff Clement are two that appear on the fence who could go either way, although Salty is starting to make a name for himself at the Ballpark in Arlington. There is another name that is worthy of being mentioned: San Francisco's Buster Posey.
Posey is dominating in the minors and most expect him to be big-league ready next year. Since he's yet to make a major league debut, he is under complete team control for many years. Of all the catchers, he makes the most sense for the Rays to target. The question is, what is the price?
If the Rays truly wanted to get Posey, I think the asking price would be extremely high...like a Upton or Wade Davis, high. Now, before there is a no way in hell, what are you thinking, not even worth considering response, consider these options: How many more seasons will the Rays retain Upton? Do you think he'd be willing to sign an extension even for his arb seasons? He appears to have his eyes set on a major money deal as soon as it's possible. Do the Rays have enough starting pitching to warrant trading Davis? Is the potential trade of Davis for Posey the best way to deal from strength to get an impact player at an area of need?
If there was any way for the Rays to get Matt Cain along in the deal, I think it would be one heck of a trade, but probably unrealistic. It may already be unrealistic to pry Posey from the Giants hands, but it's worth a shot to try.
Knowing where the Rays stand, their minor league depth, their on-field needs, what would you be willing to pay?