On December 19th, 2014, the Tampa Bay Rays made a decision that sent shock waves throughout all of baseball as they traded away the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year, Wil Myers, as part of a massive three-team deal with the San Diego Padres.
Myers was sent to San Diego, along with C Ryan Hanigan, and two pitching prospects (LHP Jose Castillo & RHP Gerardo Reyes). In return, the Rays received a slew of prospects from San Diego as well as C Rene Rivera. The group of prospects consisted of RHP Burch Smith, 1B Jake Bauers, RHP Joe Ross, and a player to be named later (Trea Turner).
The Rays would then flip Ross and Turner to the Washington Nationals in exchange for a couple of prospects, OF Steven Souza Jr and LHP Travis Ott.
How has it worked out thus far?
Wil Myers has shown flashes of greatness in San Diego, but has also struggled with similar issues that he was plagued with during his days with the Rays. He had a breakout season in 2016 and was rewarded with a long-term extension. His durability has improved as well, playing full seasons each of the past two years.
Ryan Hanigan was actually traded later on in the same day as the massive three-team deal, this time from the Padres to the Boston Red Sox for 3B Will Middlebrooks. Hanigan had been plagued with injuries throughout his career and the past three seasons have not been a different story. He finished the 2017 season with the Colorado Rockies and is currently a free agent.
The two prospects shipped to San Diego, Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo, are still with the Padres. Reyes finished his second straight season in High-A, meanwhile Castillo has moved just as slowly, finally getting some time in Double-A, but most of the season in High-A alongside Reyes.
Steven Souza Jr. took some time getting adjusted to the major leagues with the Rays as he struggled with an extravagant strikeout rate as well as injury concerns. However, in 2017, Souza went through major improvements as he had his best year in the majors, setting a new career high in home runs, game played, wRC+, and fWAR, as well as the best walk and strikeout rates of his career.
Rene Rivea meanwhile struggled during his time with the Rays and eventually lost his job during spring training in 2016, leading to his release from the team. He has since moved on to play with the New York Mets and most recently with the Chicago Cubs, with whom he finished the 2017 season.
The prospects that landed in Tampa Bay are led by Jake Bauers, who has become one of the top prospects in all baseball and one of the top three in the Rays system. Just 21 years old, he spent the 2017 season with the Durham Bulls and looks primed to reach the majors at some point in 2018.
Burch Smith looked ready to join the Rays major league rotation during the spring of 2015, before having to undergo Tommy John surgery, effectively costing him his chance. He would spend all of 2015 and 2016 rehabbing the injury, before finally returning to a mound in 2017, but would not reach the majors. Smith would be taken by the New York Mets and then flipped to the Kansas City Royals during the 2017 Rule 5 draft.
Travis Ott would be stuck in short-season ball for two seasons before finally progressing through the Rays system in 2017. Although his development took awhile, there is reason to be excited about the southpaw as he has produced excellent results. He looks set to join the Montgomery Biscuits during the 2018 season.
As for the players sent to Washington that the Rays flipped in order to get Steven Souza Jr and Travis Ott.
Trea Turner’s part of the deal led to the Rays being criticized as he came up during the 2016 seasons and immediately flashed stardom as he quickly became one of the most exciting players in baseball, combining plus speed with a decent bat. So far in just 200 major league games, he has accrued 6.4 fWAR.
Joe Ross meanwhile has been tremendous for the Nationals — when healthy. The right-handed starting pitcher would produce fantastic results for the Nationals in 2015 and 2016, but missed parts of the season due to injury. Then in 2017, he would plagued by elbow soreness throughout the year before ultimately having to undergo Tommy John surgery this past July.