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The Range


   `Carl Crawford for Jason Hirsh and Hunter Pence', `Rocco Baldelli for Ricky Nolasco', and my personal favorite, launched just today by Dan Sileo and J.P. Peterson of Tampa`s local sports media scene, `Scott Kazmir, Carl Crawford, and Delmon Young for Alex Rodriguez'.
    Excuse me while I barf in my special, limited edition may I add, `Chad Harville choke bag'. It seems to me that even the media doesn't understand who on the Rays is as close to untouchable as possible with Andrew Friedman coming right out and saying, "He's untouchable."

So I took it upon myself, I present the `2006 Rays Trade Index' of the Rays, I'll give commentary where it's needed but the top 40 (in most cases if  players isn't listed, Derek Feldkamp for example, it means he's just not one of the 40, nothing else) Also if a player on the 25 man roster isn't listed, it just means I really couldn't find a good slot for him (Casey Fossum / Tim Corcoran come to mind)
    Note that I excluded FA's to be; Tomas Perez, Brian Meadows, and Greg Norton

40-35 - The (very) Movable Objects
Guys who if they can be moved as the main / only part of a deal we should jump up for joy, name Andrew Friedman pharaoh, and offer our first born children as sacrifice to the greatness that is Lord Friedman.

  1. Doug Waechter - Let's face it, even before we found out he had a torn labrum he wasn't worth much value. `Meatballs' career 5.62 ERA doesn't help at all, though he could find a role in middle relief, however the torn labrum puts the low beams on that hope.
  2. Travis Harper
  3. Josh Paul
  4. Dan Miceli
  5. Scott Dunn
  6. Tyler Walker - He's hurt and will be out until nearly mid-season next season, that severely lowers his value.
34-31 - Wait, he's still in baseball?
Guys who shouldn't be on any MLB team, though AAA attractions with stud numbers and constant hype all are acceptable in this category.
  1. Kevin Witt - So all that hype and it produced....nothing, no surprise he's never had success at the Major league level, why would that change now?
  2. Darnell McDonald - The former first round pick didn't have a bad season in Durham, but he's Kevin Witt, only replace the light tower power with fast feet.
  3. Damon Hollins - I'd advise Friedman if we could get a item that breathes for Hollins to pull the trigger, even it if turns out to be a plant.
  4. Kevin Cash - Oh Chad Gaudin
30-29 - The `Throw Ins'
Toolsy players with one or two traits that could be desired (pinch runner, flamethrower, ect.) just not at a major league level yet.
  1. Dale Thayer- old, kind of hittable, was considered the heir appearant to Trevor 'Hells Bells' Hoffman
  2. Fernando Perez - Speed and a good eye, looks a lot like Joey Gathright Jr., though I don't believe he jumps cars.
28-26 The Unheralded
Guys who get the job done at the minor league levels but will probably never arise to anything, low ceilings.
  1. Jim Magrane
  2. Jean Machi - The closer of the Biscuits he's got decent numbers, other than the .255 BA, in a reliever wasteland you could do worse than to acquire Machi if even as the `mop up' guy.
  3. John Jaso - We've been waiting for his huge breakout season, it's yet to happen and he's probably not going to become a major leaguer, at least with us,  if he's not picked up in the Rule V draft, then maybe next season will be his year.
25-10 The Meat of the Organization
These aren't exactly the prime cut but it's not like their the fat (note that the absence of Toby Hall = no fat)

Just Missed the Top 25
Guys who just fell shy of being a top 25 value, some because they are injured, produced averagely, have smaller ceilings, or just would provoke less interest, at least until seeing more action.
Chris Mason
Wade Townsend
Desmond Jennings
J.P. Howell
Elliot Johnson

  1. Jeff Ridgeway - A near major league ready lefty specialist.
  2. Sergio Pedroza  - Surge has power and a good eye, projects to be a 4th outfielder but could also DH effectively, as well as play slightly below average C.
23  Wes Bankston - The time is coming soon where we will either commit to Wes as the first basemen of the future that is currently on the roster, or the odd man out.
  1. Chad Orvella - Mechanics got tweaked, you have a feeling he's the type of pitcher who if we dealt would come back to bite us.
  2. Tyree Hayes - Just think, he was barely 18 when his season ended.
  3. Juan Salas - The 'Juan' and only, has to prove he can become a steady major league reliever, but holds that mystique value that leads to 'projects'.
  4. Wade Davis Big power pitcher, is projected to become the total package of a pitcher, the type of minor league pitcher that can land big names in return .
  5. Matt Walker - Needs to develop a better changeup but could possibly be a future reliever, barely 20.
  6. Jeremy Hellickson  -Good fastball with two average pitches in his curve and changeup, has a small frame or could be even more valuable.
  7. Jake McGee -A lesser prospect than a few other D'Ray pitchers but still holds value after putting up great numbers in Southwest Michigan.
  8. Andrew Sonnanstine - The most productive pitcher in the Rays system this year, he lead and carried the Biscuits rotation , doesn't have anything that makes his ceiling fly through the roof, hence why he's a production / potential guy, and that costs him some trade value.
  9. Mitch Talbot - The K Bot, he was traded for Huff of course, so it shows he does have some value all ready, a spotless postseason obviously adds to his value and potential, some are now saying he could be a future ace or number two.
13 .Joel Guzman - Another player received through trade, the draw towards Guzman is his power producing frame, 6'6 230, and the fact he is figured to be a 30 homer hitting 1b/3b/OF. A disappointing finish at Durham has his value slip a little more than it would've been if he blew the cover off the ball.
  1. Ty Wigginton - Wiggy has value, he put up good numbers in limited time, as a backup he could provide some nice pop to a contender, but the idea he couldn't start on a few teams has been drowned out with semi impressive defense at 1b and 24 homers. One of the cheaper solutions available at third / first base.
  2. Jonny Gomes/ Jorge Cantu   - these two players rankings are based on the fact they had an impressive seasons or months before injuries cost them the majority of last year. Both have great power potential and teams can never get enough of that.
If your still reading (or if you just scrolled all the way down) Your probably anxious to see the top 10, here are the bottom 5.
  1. James Shields - Believe it or not Shields was being looked at by the White Sox near the deadline. He's not an ace, and probably not a front end rotation member, but he showed some impressive poise and ability this season and would make a nice back of the rotation pitcher for any team.
  2. Evan Longoria - I was hesitant to include Longoria, he's not trade eligible until June, and he's not going to get traded. Though his impressive performance so far gives him loads of value.
  3.  Elijah Dukes - Duke has all the potential in the world, and if he had say....a sane head on his shoulders I wouldn't doubt him being in the top 3 of this list. Neither of those two items are true however and that' why he finds himself behind 7 others. If Elijah shows up in the Dominican Republic Winter League, and /or Spring Training he could really help himself, by getting shipped out of St. Petersburg.
  4. Jeff Niemann - A possible ace / 2 starter, Niemann has all the skills you look for in pitchers. He should start in the major leagues next year and could possibly be the second slated starter, very impressive for a guy who has yet to throw a pitch above AA.
  5.  B.J. Upton - It's like groundhog's day, he has all the potential in the world, he should be amongst the top young hitters in the game, but he hasn't found a true position. Nobody knows if his future is at third, back at shortstop, or in the outfield, or possibly...out of Tampa.
Finally the top 5....
  1. Reid Brignac - What a difference a year makes, it's been said he can stay at SS, which adds to his value even more. A very good bat, decent glove, and that swagger that amplifies major league ballplayers, or at least successful ones, all make the Cajun God, a hot commodity.
  2. Rocco Baldelli - Started showing the promise of patience. A centerfielder who has a good glove, good speed, a developing eye, line drive power, bats leadoff, and just oozes baseball player, that sounds like a heck of a's all there, he's just got to keep up this progression. Signed through a comfortable deal, only 25, he projects to be an Ellis Burke's like player with the bat.
  3. Delmon Young - What a debut from Delmon, if he can learn to take a few pitches and draw more than one or two walks he's going to become what we all expected, a hybrid of Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera.
Now the final two, obviously there are only two realistic choices remaining, one is Carl Crawford, the other Scott Kazmir. I debated this for a while and almost decided to make you read this whole thing and then throw a `tie', but decided against it. The debate of course was this; is an everyday player more valuable than a starting pitcher. C.C. is very good, Kazmir is nearly great, I' couldn't decide how to honestly figure out who is more valuable. So I flipped a coin and it came out as follows.
  1. Carl Crawford - A top 10 position player, highly underrated, you have to feel bad for C.C. from a money standpoint, he's getting paid less than he earns, and he doesn't get juicy advertising contracts because he plays in Tampa. However I say this with the most sincerity, Carl Crawford is Mr. Devil Ray, he signifies everything you want in a ballplayer, he's a vocal leader, and to cap if off he is one of the most exciting, and most talented players you will ever see in your lifetime. There are no equals to Crawford in all of baseball, Jose Reyes may come close, but he's not a leader in his clubhouse, not necessarily his fault as the Mets have considerably more influential veterans. C.C. shouldn't be traded unless we get a king's ransom, and even then I'm not sure it's enough, none the less there is only one higher than Carl on the Rays....
  2. Scott Kazmir - Kid K, Zambrano for Kazmir will become the most lopsided deal this side of Babe Ruth. There may never be a `curse of Kazmir' but I believe us Rays fans will take the `products of Kazmir' well over any black magic. There are four, maybe five guys in the entire Major Leagues I would trade Kazmir straight up for; Pujols, Mauer, Cabrera, and Johan Santana. That's it folks, nobody else in the major, minors, Japanese, Cuban, Korean, or Dominican leagues  are as valuable in my views as Scott Kazmir. Though he only takes the mound every five days, Kazmir dominates when on, and is still really good when at average stuff. His slider is devastating, he throws hard, the only concern that one can conceive is his rather small frame.
Well that's all, 2,000 something words for me to practically say that Scott Kazmir is the most valuable player on the Rays,  please keep in mind these are just my opinions on who the valuables, and not so valuable players in the system are, I'd love to hear who many of you think ranks up there. Obviously a case can be made for any of the top 3, but I think most of us are looking at Crawford and Kazmir as the most valuable, as I stated before it came down to a coin flip to decide who was in the end, more valuable.