The Rays Interested In Ted Lilly?

So far all the trade rumors involving the Rays have made sense. Cliff Lee would have been an upgrade over any current starter on the staff. Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, Prince Fielder, or any bat really, would be a welcomed addition to the inconsistent lineup. However, this latest nugget from Boston writer, Nick Cafarado doesn't make much sense...

5. Matt Garza, RHP, Rays - It wouldn't be shocking to find out that the Rays would be willing to talk about Garza as a trade piece. Tampa Bay needs a hitter, and has righthander Jeremy Hellickson, who is 11-2 at Triple A Durham. The Rays were rumored to be in on Lee, but it appears they are more willing to deal players from their current roster instead of prospects. One NL scout said the Rays have been very willing to include B.J. Upton in trade talks, and would even consider moving Wade Davis in the right deal. The Rays would love to get an effective hitter, having been snakebit with Pat Burrell and Hank Blalock.

6. Ted Lilly, LHP, Cubs - Definitely one of the attractive second-tier pitching candidates available. The Rays have some interest, but he would also become a target for teams such as Texas, Minnesota, and perhaps Detroit.

I understand the part about Matt Garza and B.J. Upton being potential trade chips. If we can't sign either long-term, at some point we are going to have to move them. If we can improve now, and for the future, by moving one of them, so be it. On the other hand, having " some interest" in Ted Lilly is a head scratcher. Whether you prefer traditional or advanced metrics, Lilly is not that good.

He comes with a record of 3-8 and an ERA of 4.08. That is the definition of meh. Looking at advanced metrics, his FIP (fielding independent pitching) of 4.73 and xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) of 4.75 are even less impressive. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is .257, or 30 points below his career average suggesting he could be the bearer of negative regression.

Lilly's stuff is also mediocre. He barely touches 86 mph on his fastball these days, and generates a whiff less than 8% of the time overall. His strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) is below average - around 6.0 - while his walks per nine (BB/9) is an acceptable 2.22. His home run per nine innings (HR/9) of 1.48 seems high to the naked eye, but looking at his career rate of 1.34, not so much. His 10.4% home run-to-fly ball rate (HR/FB%) is slightly below his career number of 10.8%.

These marks would be slight improvement over Wade Davis, but again, marginal at best. Plus, these numbers come in the National League, not the division known at the American League (B)East. This move would be a reactionary move after losing out on Lee, and something that would stray far away from the Rays' line of thinking.

Oh, did I mention he makes around $6 million for the rest of the year and we have Jeremy Hellickson at Triple-A ? Yeah, pass.

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