Yesterday on MLBN Peter Gammons talked about the Astros search for a top of the rotation starter. The Astros have been connected to the White Sox and the leaky front office talks are telling for the Rays:
At about 2:30 into the clip he talks about the reported rumor of the White Sox wanting RHP Francis Martes, OF Kyle Tucker, and RHP Joe Musgrove for Jose Quintana. Gammon states the Rays turned down a similar deal for Chris Archer:
Luhnow [Astro’s GM] went to Tampa, from what I’m told, and said alright this is what we’ll give you for Chris Archer. We’ll give you Tucker. We’ll give you Martes. We’ll give you David Paulino, who is their second best pitching prospect. We’ll give you two more prospects for Archer and Tampa Bay, which kinda surprised me, said ‘no we need more than that if we’re going to trade Chris Archer.’
That is a strong offer and if true shows how much the Rays value Chris Archer. Martes, Tucker, and Paulino are ranked the top three prospects in a good Astros system by Baseball America, Baseball Prospects, and John Sickles at minorleagueball.com. MLB.com ranks Pualino their fourth best prospect behind 2016 first round pick Forrest Whitley, but either way, that would give the Rays a really strong top six prospects when combined with Willy Adames, Brent Honeywell, and Jake Bauers, with all six competing for Top-100 honors.
In the Baseball America Top 100 midseason update all three made the top 50. Martes ranked #29, Tucker #35, and Paulino #47. I think the offer is slightly less than what the White Sox received for Chris Sale, where the main prospects in the deal were Yoan Moncada, #1 on that same list, and Michael Kopech at #93.
Kopech has ridden a lot of helium, but at best I think Martes and his trade value are equal as Martes should see his MLB debut in 2017 and Kopech only has thrown 52 innings in A+. So it comes down to would you prefer the top 5 prospect in Moncada or the combination of Tucker and Paulino. Moncada is near MLB ready and Tucker is a couple years away. If you believe in Tucker’s power projection I think you could argue for the Tucker and Paulino side. I’d take the Moncada side, but I think it’s closer than it looks like on a prospect list.
I expect the Rays would want a better headliner in order to force them to move Archer, such as the recently promoted Alex Bregman, but there is quality in what amounts to quantity in that Astros deal.
Of the teams rumored to be acquiring starting pitching, I hope something gets done with the Astros.
I don’t want to see Archer gone, but if the Rays can work something out for either OF Teoscar Hernandez or OF Ramon Laureano as a piece of a deal for one of the Rays lesser starting pitchers I think there is potential for a match to help both clubs.