Winter Meetings and The Rule Five Draft: Day Four

ST. PETERSBURG FL - AUGUST 17: (FILE PHOTO) Outfielder Carl Crawford #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays fouls off a pitch against the Texas Rangers during the game at Tropicana Field on August 17 2010 in St. Petersburg Florida. The Boston Red Sox reached an agreement on December 8 2010 with Crawford for a seven-year $142 million dollar contract. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Today's the last day of the Winter Meetings and while there will likely be some big action (Cliff Lee signing with the Yankees, anyone?), I don't think anything can top yesterday for Rays fans. Pena signed with the Cubs, Navarro left for the Dodgers, Bartlett got traded to the Padres, and Crawford signed with the Red Sox. Talk about crazy.

As always, check in back here throughout the day for updates.

10:33pm: Well, that was a lot of fuss over nothing. According to Dan Hayes, the only thing holding up the Bartlett trade is physicals for each player. As long as there are no medical issues, the trade will go through.

If this is actually the case, why couldn't someone have commented on this before instead of making a big deal out of it? I know the Rays have a policy of not commenting on deals until they're completed, but this seems a bit over the top.

8:15pm: According to Marc Topkin, the Bartlett - Padres deal is still not officially completed, but it is still in the works and very much a possibility. There's no mention as to what's causing the hold-up, though.

1:55pm: Of course, as soon as I say that, Craig Calcaterra mentions that according to his sources, the Rays and Cubs are working on a Matt Garza swap. Again, this could be nothing, but I trust Craig more than I do many other reporters. He's collaborating a rumor that was heard earlier, so although the Rays have publicly chuckled at the rumors, this seems more and more legit.

1:46pm: The day is slowing down. The Winter Meetings are officially drawing to a close, and I think teams are trying to collect themselves after the insanity of the past couple of days. There has been no update on the Bartlett situation, and it still appears that the deal isn't complete yet.

That said, things could easily pick back up again at any time; you never know with these things. We'll keep you updated if any news breaks. 

12:19pm: Andrew Friedman shared some words with Marc Topkin about Carl Crawford's contract, and they're as brilliant as always. I'd quote the entire thing if I could, but here are some of the golden moments:

It's certainly a big loss for us. We knew it was coming, but obviously when it happens, there's a feeling of disappointment. It's the way the structure in this sport is set up - we get it, we recognize it, we operate within it. We relish in the fact that we have to swim against the tide - it's just that the current's getting stronger.

So while I think the fans will be disappointed that it was that team specificially, they'll  be appreciative of everything he did for us and be ready to root against him 18 times.    

11:57am: We're a little late with this news...sorry about that. But Buster Olney and Jerry Crasnick are reporting that the Bartlett - Padres trade from yesterday is now in "limbo":

A trade sending shortstop Jason Bartlett of the Tampa Bay Rays to the San Diego Padres is off, at least for now, because the teams couldn't finalize the deal, sources tell ESPN.com.

Can't this saga just be finished already? This is like a bad breakup that just goes on and on and doesn't stop. Not to mention, now that the Orioles have traded for J.J. Hardy, the Rays' list of suitors has dropped significantly. If this deal doesn't go through, I'm afraid Bartlett's value may only drop.

10:56am: Provided by firemangreg below, here are some more comments from Bruce Levine on a possible Garza - Cubs trade:

Bruce Levine was on XM Radio tonight with Mike Ferrin and Jeff Nelson, and he told them that the deal on the table does include Cubs top catching prospect Robinson Chirinos, and one of their top shortstop prospects along with two other top prospects in the Cubs organization.

10:40am: While you're getting over the collective shock from all the departures yesterday, here's another trade rumor to mull over: Bruce Levine from ESPN is reporting that the Chicago Cubs met with the Rays last night to discuss a Matt Garza trade. Supposedly the deal would send Matt Garza to the Cubs, while bringing back, "...a number of the Cubs' top prospects."

If Garza were to be traded sometime soon, I feel like my brain would overload. I'm having a tough enough time processing the Jason Bartlett trade and Carl Crawford contract...wow. But again, these rumors are normally nothing and the Rays work in silence, so only time will tell.

10:08am: Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees have offered Cliff Lee a seven year deal. Unlike others, I don't believe that the Yankees have to sign Cliff Lee to make a statement to the Sox, or that they have to give him seven years, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they do.

It's just a matter of time with him: Lee will be a Yankee, the only question is for how long and how much.

9:13am: With their first pick in the draft, the Rays selected pitcher Cesar Cabral from Boston. He's a 22 year old relief pitcher that has never pitched above High-A. He has solid control, around a strikeout per inning, and can limit the homeruns. He's another name in the hat for our bullpen, and he looks like a promising candidate at first glance.

Jason Collette has a scouting report and video of Cabral up over at Dock of the Rays. 

9:07am: Aneury Rodriguez didn't last long, getting selected by the Astros with the ninth pick of the draft. I'm unfamiliar with the Astros' bullpen, but my gut feeling is that he has a good chance to make that roster. Their rotation is thin, they're rebuilding, they have a weak roster in general - at the least, he's going to get a flyer in Spring Training.

9:00am: Aaaaaand here we go! The Rays have the 29th pick in the draft, so we'll keep you up to date on who they take and which of our players get taken. 

8:11am: The Rule Five draft happens at 9 AM this morning, so get excited for that. This is a chance for the Rays to take a flyer on a minor-leaguer not protected on the 40-man roster of another team, so if the Rays don't sell their pick like in past years, they'll likely be targeting a reliever. Here's a list of all the players eligible to be taken, and here are all the Rays that could be selected:

Rays: Aneury Rodriguez, Paul Phillips, Brian Baker, Craig AlbernazHenry Wrigley, Rayner Oliveros, Heath Rollins, Matt Fields, Shawn O'Malley, John Matulia, Chris Andujar, Delvis Mavarez, Jairo De La Rosa, Will Kline, Ryan Royster, Stephen Vogt, Matthew Sweeney

Aneury Rodriguez is viewed by most analysts as the most likely name to be taken in the Rule Five draft this morning. He may not be the first to go, but it's unlikely that he stays. Since players taken in the draft need to stay on a team's major-league roster all season, it's possible that Anuery will come back to the Rays even if selected.  

For more on potential Rule Five draft choices, you can read some great analysis by RJ Anderson here and here. Also, our own MrNegative previewed Adam Miller, a player he'd like the Rays to take a flyer on in the draft.

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