After weeks of speculation and "imminent" moves, the Rays finally completed a big time trade to add a young power hitter, while clearing roster space for pending signing UTIL Steve Pearce.
This is a huge deal, promising the Rays significant impact not only next year, but for years to come. There will be plenty of discussion until pitchers and catchers report, but for now, let's break down the official 2-for-2 deal between the Rockies and Rays..
RP Jake McGee - The centerpiece of the haul for Colorado, McGee has been an absolutely dominant relief pitcher in his time with the Rays. McGee has been with the organization since 2004, and it will be certainly tough to see him and his filthy high-90s fastball striking out hitters for somebody else. However, with just two years of control left before Free Agency, and another injury shortened season, it was a matter of when and not if Jake McGee's time in the Tampa/St Pete area would be coming to a close.
McGee in his six season in the majors holds a 2.77 ERA (259.2-IP). Last season, in an injury shortened 37.1-IP, he posted a 2.41 ERA with a .197 opponents’ average and 48 strikeouts. McGee made a club-record 297 appearances in a Rays uniform, passing Joel Peralta (296) with his final appearance last season. Among current Rays, only Evan Longoria has more service time with the team. He ranks first all-time among Rays relief pitchers in strikeouts (319) and wins (21, tied).
RHP German Marquez - Our freshly ranked No. 18 prospect in the community voting. Marquez was added to the 40-man roster after spending the 2015 season with Class-A Charlotte. He went 7-13 with a 3.56 ERA (139-IP, 55-ER) and led the Stone Crabs in starts (23), innings pitched and strikeouts (104). He is 14-27 with a 3.88 ERA over four minor league seasons, and was originally signed by the Rays as a free agent in 2011 out of Venezuela.
OF Corey Dickerson - The Rays have been tied to Dickerson for much of the off season, and there have already been a couple of articles about why the Rays should be interested in the 26 year old power hitter.
Dickerson is a career .299/.345/.534 hitter over parts of three major league seasons. Since 2013, his .299 avg. ranks seventh among major league outfielders (min. 800 plate appearances) and his .534 slugging percentage ranks fourth in baseball, tied with Bryce Harper and trailing only Mike Trout (.569), Giancarlo Stanton (.541) and Nelson Cruz (.535).
Over the last 10 years (since 2006), only three other outfielders have matched Dickerson's .534 SLG over their first three seasons (min. 800 PA): Trout (.544, 2011-13), Stanton (.553, 2010-12) and Ryan Braun (.574, 2007-09).
Dickerson hit .304/.333/.536 (68-for-224) with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 2015, but was limited to 65 games due to three stints on the disabled list: the first two due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot; the third due to broken ribs sustained after diving for a fly ball.
In 2014, he hit .312/.364/.567 (136-for-436), leading the Rockies in home runs (24) and extra-base hits (57) while ranking second in RBI (76). Among National League players with as many plate appearances, he ranked first in slugging percentage, fourth in batting average and fourth in on-base plus slugging (.931).
Dickerson was also named the winner of the MLB Alumni Association’s Rockies Heart and Hustle Award, which honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game.
While Corey Dickerson's bat is his best tool, it should be noted that he does provide some nice athleticism and range in the outfield, despite a poorly graded arm.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) January 28, 2016
3B Kevin Padlo - Padlo split his first full professional season between Class-A Asheville and Short-A Boise. He earned Northwest League midseason and postseason All-Star honors, ranking among league leaders in batting average (.294, fifth), home runs (9, tied for third), RBI (46, second), stolen bases (33, second), hits (75, tied for third), doubles (22, first), extra-base hits (33, first), on-base percentage (.404, third) and slugging percentage (.502, first).
Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 10 prospect in the Northwest League.
For a deep dive on the prospect, head over to Purple Row for their most recent breakdown. Here's what Baseball Prospectus had to say about him:
The 2014 fifth rounder utilizes a high-effort swing that generates above-average pop, but has also limited his ability to handle quality secondary offerings. Fortunately for Padlo, quality secondary offerings were in short supply in the Pioneer League, and the former San Diego commit capitalized on that fact, slashing .300/.420/.594 over his 48-game professional debut.
Because Padlo’s game comes with effort across the board, there is an extreme amount of risk tied to the profile. Still, the strong debut and presence of above-average raw power makes for an enticing 2015 follow. He should join Forrest Wall in Low-A Asheville as a worthy follow-up act to this year’s talented trio of Dahl, Tapia, and McMahon.
This is a big move for the Rays to add offense to the middle of an order that desperately needs more run producers. The Rays are built around fantastic pitching and stellar defense. To be sure, this trade is not without risk to that formula, but making moves with both 2016 in mind and beyond is always a tough tightrope to walk.
The Rays are making a wise bet on Dickerson being a long term answer to their struggles to find enough offense from the left side of the plate. Corey Dickerson will come into 2016 at 26 years old, with 4 years of team control left, and will not enter arbitration in 2017.
With the acquisition of Dickerson, the Rays now have 8 players on the 40-man roster that have/can play in the outfield. More moves are sure to come.