This post was meant to be done yesterday, but due to computer and server errors...It got deleted and couldn't be recovered. However, I'm here to try it again and get it posted.
Thoughts on the Huff Trade
Had this trade been made in the offseason or during the last trading deadline, all Rays fans(including me) would be calling the DRO's head. We had ample time to make trades during Winter Meetings, but it seemed that we were content with sitting on our hands instead of pulling the trigger on any major deals when our players' values were at their highest. However we waited and injuries & Huff's 1st Half Suckingness dragged his trade value down. I wonder if we would've gotten this deal had he not turned into a Interleague Dynamo...
What I don't get about the NDRO right now through all these 3 latest trades, is how we can go from "stand pat" to the polar opposite of "trigger-happy". Did the Rays try for Houston's top prospects(Patton, Pence & Hirsch) or did they have their sights on Zobrist and Talbot the entire time? I'm hoping that we were talked down and this offer that we accepted was some sort of "middle ground" between Friedman and Purpura.
I have nothing against what we got in this trade, hell I actually like what I see from Z and Talbot's stats. I just have a problem that we look like we're so much in dire need of ending the stigma that LaMar gave this franchise that we're rushing to make offers without getting the best offer available. Just my thoughts....
I'm personally glad Huff is gone. Since I started really following the Rays, I've never liked him. He came off to me as a "fool's gold" type of player. If you look at his overall season stats, you'd think he's a great player. Yet, if you looked deeper, you'd see that he's a very streaky hitter. To go with that streakiness, he's got a huge ego that makes him come off as a total a-hole. Let's not forget that he called up a country music station to rant about the devil rays past ineptitute....a country music station? How about calling Duemig??? He may be a total idiot, but at least listeners would hear your rants.
Surprising Minor Moves
Did you ever think the Rays would finally force Upton off the idea that he's a shortstop? I sure didn't...especially after he totally passed up an offer to move in the offseason. However, it seems that Friedman talked Upton into moving from SS to the "hot corner". I also remember that Upton has said that he's even willing to play the outfield if the Rays needed him to.
What came over Lil' Melvin to cause this totally unexpected change of heart?
Was it the guarantee of him getting called up within the next 2 weeks?
Was it the statement that this move may be short-term and he'd be moved to SS if someone were to get traded?
Hrm, very interesting....
Upton has shown maturity beyond his years before(like pulling Delmon aside after he threw the bat), but never the willingness to "take one for the team" and move off SS. Maybe the DUI has caused another positive change in Upton...added maturity, perhaps.
In another strange move, the NDRO pretty much righted a major wrong that they committed. Going into Spring Training, it was almost implied in fans' brains that Wes Bankston was going to start the year in AAA and eventually get called up to replace Lee at 1B. Then, we all were thrown for a loop when Friedman announced that Wesley would move across the diamond to play 3B and start the year in AA so that there wasn't added pressure for him to learn the position too quickly. After an oblique injury and 18 errors made this move seem foolish, Bankston was moved back to 1B and promoted to AAA(where he should've been). That caught me for a loop that the NDRO quickly admitted a mistake and righted their wrong.
What do to with Lugo?
To put it bluntly, it'd be stupid for us to do anything not involving him getting traded. Yes I said it, STUPID. If we were to resign him, that would be INCREDIBLY STUPID.
You ask why?
Basically, when you're a small-statured SS going into your 1st years of your 30's...you're prone to dramatic drop-offs in production unless you're a superstar-calibur player. Basically, Lugo's best days are numbered and 2006 is probably going to be the peak of his career. We can't see what's on the other side of this year, but I'd be willing to put good money on him not repeating this year's performance.
I'm not saying that I'd actively shop him to guarantee that he's traded, but I wouldn't do anything that would give an indication that we're trying to lock him up to a long-term deal. Not a chance in hell that I'd be happy with giving a player over 30 a 4 year deal in which we'd have to pay over 6 MIL a season...
I've noticed that people lately think of Lugo as a team leader and a catalyst in the improvements of this team's production for the last few years, but does anyone realistically believe he'll be better than Upton, now or in his mid-20s? I don't... I think that Upton and even Zobrist(looking at his minor league stats for his career) could easily duplicated Lugo's current stats, if we were forced to start them right now.