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The Rumor Mill

An occasional roundup of Rays-related rumors from various sources.

Well, the sources don't really vary today, as it pretty much encompasses just one source, and that one source is writer Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal has a pretty meaty tidbit on the Rays in his column today, and covers several bases in the writer-up. First, a bit of information on the Rays' apparent failed pursuit of Marcus Giles.

Free-agent second baseman Marcus Giles, who is close to signing with the Padres, rejected a three-year offer from the Devil Rays, according to major-league sources.

Apparently the Rays' intent in pursuing Giles was to further increase their depth of position players; they've got Jorge Cantu at second and also could use Akinori Iwamura at that position.

That is very interesting that talks progressed to the point where the Rays actually made Giles a contract offer, and somewhat disturbing as well. A three year contract offer? Last I checked, Marcus Giles was not a pitcher. We don't need to be building up middle infield depth, and doing so on multiyear contracts can actually work to the team's disadvantage, especially when the players invested in aren't that good. Marcus Giles fits in that category.

The differences with the Akinori Iwamura signing

  1. Iwamura has a track record of stellar hitting in Japan
  2. Giles presumably would have cost more; he was reportedly asking for $5-6 million
  3. Iwamura offers more versatility than Giles, as he can play third base as well
  4. The chicken came before the egg, Iwamura was already here!
I can't for the life of me figure this out. Does it free up Cantu even more for a trade? Yes, but at what cost? The team cedes some of their bargaining power by loading up on players at that position, because it becomes apparent that they won't be able to keep them all and must deal one. And really, looking at Iwamura, Cantu, and Giles, I'm not so sure I'd rather have Giles over Cantu, once you factor in price and age. It just doesn't make much sense to me why we would want to sign Marcus Giles. In any case, he was unlikely to sign here anyway, and it worked out for the best that he was able to return to his home area in San Diego and be with his brother on a one year deal for a good price. In doing this, he may have saved us from ourselves.

Next, we have some trade talk...

The Rays remain engaged in various trade discussions regarding their young outfielders and infielder B.J. Upton. Recent talks with the Dodgers about outfielder Rocco Baldelli failed to advance.

The Marlins' pursuit of Upton also went nowhere; the Rays rejected the Marlins' offer of right-hander Ricky Nolasco, prompting the Marlins to kick around the idea of building a three-way deal around those players.

The Mets would have been the third club, giving up young pitching to go to the Rays along with Nolasco in exchange for Cantu.

The talks never progressed to the point where they involved the Rays.

Damn, we're going to keep milking that Los Angeles well until it runs dry, eh? It would be interesting to see what the Dodgers were dangling as bait for Baldelli and/or B.J. Upton. You've gotta figure that Chad Billingsly was part of the discussion at some point, and maybe even James Loney was involved. Alas, useless speculation gets us nowhere. But this raises the question, where would they play Baldelli? They already signed Juan Pierre to the dumbest contract of the offseason to play center, and this assumes that Rocco would move to left or right field. In this case, what happens to Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp? Seems like another case of Los Angeles going after a player with no real plan for how to play him, like what happened with Julio Lugo at the deadline. Oh well, time to add another name to the sweepstakes.

The second paragraph brought a smile to my face. I'm glad to see that Ricky Nolasco is not an acceptable yield in any deal, and have seen similar comments published by "insiders" elsewhere. The comment about the Mets being dragged in is very, very interesting. The young pitching mentioned is very wide open. The Mets have one of the weaker farm systems in the minor leagues, so this was probably a collection of multiple pitchers, hence the plural pitch*ing*. Brian Bannister? Phil Humber (just so we can say we have every single Rice trio pitcher with a blown out arm)? Alay Soler? Everyone's favorite perennial trade rumor Aaron Heilman? Perhaps even Mike Pelfrey? I gotta say, I honestly do not like any of those choices too much, save for Pelfrey, and the Mets probably wouldn't package him with anyone, if they were willing to trade him at all. Interesting comment by Rosenthal, but I can't see such a deal working to the Rays' advantage. If Florida wants to get a deal done, they need to stop being greedy and fork over some of their young talent, don't use a middleman to do your dirty work.