Last year the Rays made a duo of moves with Ned Colleti and his Los Angeles Dodgers; Lance Carter and Danys Baez for Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany, and Toby Hall and Mark Hendrick for Jae Seo, Dioner Navarro, and Justin Ruggiano. As it turns out, they wanted to make one more this off-season, at least according to Ken Rosenthal, via Marc Topkin:
While it doesn't suprise me that the Rays would offer Rocco to the Dodgers, and that they'd ask for Billingsley in return, I am suprised the price would've included Andre Ethier, Ned Colleti's prized acquisition from the Milton Bradley trade.
Personally I like Ethier more than Baldelli for his on-base skills, posting a line of .308/.355/.477, although he has fallen back to Earth some this season; .280/.337/.431 he's still only 25, same as Rocco, who's career line is .282/.324/.443, and in about 100 games last year had a career high in OBP, .339. Baldelli of course was on a 1-40 slump before aggravating his hamstring, twice, and is going to be out for at least another three weeks, it is important to note that his 60 day disabled list transfer is retroactive to May, therefore he's all ready served a good amount of time.
Billinglsey is a fine young arm, and this year, in mostly relief work, although he did make one start, has a 3.26 ERA. It's unclear if the Rays would've kept Billingsley as a starter, or made the move to the pen, although I can't imagine he wouldn't have been on the opening day roster one way or the other.
What speaks volumes to me is that the Rays seemingly wanted to rid themselves of Baldelli before another injury popped up. Even more interesting is that the asking price included another corner outfielder. It seems as if the thought of Elijah Dukes being on the roster wasn't a sure thing at that point, although I wonder who the DRO had in mind to play center if Rocco was dealt.
Some have said his value will never be higher than this past off-season, and it appears the Rays were willing to try and cash those chips in. Although I wrote it off back during the Winter Meetings, there were rumors that when the Texas Rangers called on Baldelli's price they were told it would take Mark Teixiera.
Matt asked yesterday if the Rays were willing to pay market price, not their price for free agents, today we find out it's a shame the Dodgers weren't willing to pay our price for the cheapest alternative on the market, and prevent them from signing Juan Pierre to a massive deal that he definitely does not deserve.