DRBFC: A look at selling

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

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With the Rays recent miserable run of performances I haven’t been able to avoid thinking about whether the Rays should be sellers this year instead of potential buyers. Not because they aren’t a good team, they certainly are, but they are a team who have been decimated by injury and this is a strong sellers’ market. However, unless they are bold I am not sure the Rays have the pieces to make it worth giving up on this season.

Asdrubal Cabrera

The key issue is that the only major contract expiring at the end of the season is that of Asdrubal Cabrera. He has been worth just under 1 win in the first half of the season and can realisticalluy be projected for a similar amount going forwards. There is upside here though that a team may be willing to buy into. His defense has improved drastically this season and if a team thinks his first half with the bat was a mere slump and not a new normal he could be a very valuable player. Alternatively his defense slumps down to prior levels and his bat doesn’t improve providing you with a below replacement player.

The Rays will probably believe they could replace him with Franklin or Beckham and not lose too much while saving salary and adding a prospect. Unfortunately, I don’t see Asdrubal as a big upgrade for any contending side but that is always subject to change with injuries etc.

Last year the Indians managed to pick up Zach Walters a potential high power utility infielder who strikes out a lot. Similar would not be a bad return for the Rays. Could get a top 20 organisational prospect from a contender

James Loney

Similar to Cabrera in that he won’t be a big upgrade for any contender. With his strong defense a team struggling at first like the Cardinals may be willing to pounce for a small enough cost. There is also the incentive for the Rays to move him and his $8million contract for next year. $8million would be about market value so shouldn’t decrease the value for Loney. The real reason I think he could be available is that it would open up a spot for Richie Schaffer who is showing he can flat out hit in Durham. Give him this year to adjust to major league pitching and see what he can do. I am a big fan of Loney but if the Rays start selling the cap space for next season could be invaluable in building a contender for next year.

Worth at least a top 20 organisational prospect

John Jaso/David DeJesus

These two can provide teams with a left handed bat off the bench or perhaps an occasional outfielder/DH. Both are on very reasonable contracts with Jaso a free agent after the season and DeJesus having a team option that could be activated. DeJesus has a 318 wOBA so far this year and while Jaso is projected for a 339wOBA by ZiPS he comes with a much higher risk due to his injury history. Either of these player could be on the Rays next year, but it is unlikely there will be space for both.

Once again there is probably little trade value but the Rays could possibly achieve an organisational prospect and gain some more roster flexibility with players coming back from injuries. Optimistically Gerrado Parra fetched two high upside low minors pitchers from Milwaukee at the deadline last year for a similar skillset to DeJesus.


Kevin Jepsen

Follows last year’s 2.63 ERA with a solid 3.34 ERA. Add in 5 saves and 17 holds this year his traditional metrics look good. However the strikeout rate has collapsed from 10.38/9 to 7.71/9. Walks have risen from 3.18/9 to 4.63 giving a FIP of 4.39. Contenders are always looking for bullpen arms though and teams may be tricked by his good results this year into giving something of value for him especially with an additional year of control after this season.

Jepsen is a tough one as I am not sure how his value would be perceived. Would be after a middle reliever with years of control and upside or a good level prospect.

Jake McGee

He has a 27 K/BB this season. 14.02 K/9. He is one of the best in baseball at what he does. He has two years of control left after this season. He has a 27 K/BB this season. He doesn’t qualify but that would be over double of the 1st qualifying reliever. His fastball is a thing of beauty. I don’t want to trade him ever. It is something worth thinking about.

I don’t know what he is worth. I know it’s an awful lot. Last year, an expensive Soria, in his last year of control fetched two high upside pitchers from Detroit including Corry Knebel the Tiger’s No.7 prospect. The Red Sox got Eduardo Rodriguez who looks very good for half a year of Miller. McGee would be on your team for three playoff runs. He is still cheap. This is the one player who so far who I think would be truly giving up on this year. But he could get one hell of a return, maybe a good player with a lot of team control and a top prospect.

Jake Odorizzi

If we sell all of the above I would possibly float Odorizzi as well. I know this will be very contentious. Imagine Moore and Smyly are what we know they can be when back from injury, you still have Archer. If Erasmo and Karns carry on as they have been both look like legitimate no.4s. That gives you Archer, Smyly, Moore, Erasmo and Karns to start next year. Smith and Colome at 6 and 7. Cobb coming back midseason and possibly even Snell on his way up with him. That’s too many pitchers for the 5 spots. This is all very optimistic.

But the projection systems don’t believe in his sub 3 ERA and FIP thinking he will be much closer to 4. If, and only if, you can get teams to buy him as an ace. An ace with so much team control who hasn’t proven himself in the long term and hasn’t topped 200 innings. If you can convince the Cubs that he is worth Russell and a lot more I would possibly do it. Young, cost controlled elite positional talent is the game’s premier currency. We would have to get some of that.

Overall, I don’t think the Rays have much to sell. But if it is done well there is a chance to gain a lot of flexibility going into next season while bringing in some very good players from McGee and Odorizzi. Add that in to what you can get for Cabrera, Loney, DeJesus and Jepsen I think you can improve the Rays for the future without also sacrificing 2016. Even if the Rays aren’t giving up on this year I would be tempted to trade DeJesus and Jepsen the keep some flexibility and maximize assets.

This post was written by a member of the DRaysBay community and does not necessarily express the views or opinions of DRaysBay staff.