Just days after unceremoniously dumping Corey Dickerson — grab him Tigers! — and trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Minnesota Twins, the Tampa Bay Rays are back at it. This time, they traded outfielder Steven Souza to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In return, they received lefthander Anthony Band and second baseman Nick Solak as part of a three-team trade with the New York Yankees.
While the return for Souza himself was rather strong, I can’t help but wonder why the Rays have once again decided to tear down and rebuild. Trading Evan Longoria earlier this offseason was understandable — though maybe not to Rays fans — especially as he moves into his mid-30s. However, Dickerson was only cut because of his $5.95 million salary this upcoming season. Ditto Odorizzi, who struggled with home runs last season but had been a three-win pitcher in the two seasons prior. Had the Rays received a stronger return or someone closer to major league ready than Jermaine Palacios, I’d be a little more forgiving. Their players certainly aren’t.
What is this— Brent Honeywell (@brent_honeywell) February 20, 2018
Damn my dawg— Blake Snell (@snellzilla11) February 21, 2018
Now, the rest of baseball is taking the Rays to task for this latest round of cost-cutting moves. SB Nation’s Marc Normandin called Tampa’s insistence on competing “cute,” while HardballTalk’s Craig Calcaterra and Ryan Romano of Beyond the Box Score both used the word “disgrace.”
I don’t know if I would go that far. Both Odorizzi and Dickerson are showing warning signs that their past production might not continue, while flipping Souza now might just be the Rays selling high on a player who doubled his career WAR total last season. Souza still struck out nearly 30 percent of the time last year, and had previously struggled to stay healthy. The timing of these moves isn’t great, especially as the Rays looked to be a team on the rise. However, they still have one of the stronger farm systems in baseball — Baseball America ranked them fifth even before these last couple trades — and will have close to $25 million coming off their books after the season.
Are the Rays just being cheap? Or are these legitimate moves that would be applauded in nearly any other situation? You be the judge.
Yesterday was Tigers photo day and the poses were wonderful
We don’t have access to Mike Mulholland’s phenomenal work in our photo tool, but you can see his pics at MLive.
Also, go follow him on Twitter and pay him money for his awesome work.
Speaking of Alex Faedo...
This video (also by Mulholland) is terrifying.
I about wet myself during the first pitch.
Can someone please explain this to me?
Because I don’t get it.
New on the scoreboard this year... pic.twitter.com/a8P22L0ayR— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) February 21, 2018
Here are actual things the Tigers are doing
Most of the stories out of Lakeland so far have been fun things about music in the back fields and Ron Gardenhire learning everyone’s name. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News broke down the actual drills, and they sound like the baseball version of burpees.
The drill starts with coaches dropping balls in front of the plate for the catchers. They throw to first, then to second, then to third. Quick fire. On the throws to second, the shortstops pivot and throw to first. The third basemen throw across the diamond to first.
Next come the fungos. Four coaches hitting ground balls to all four positions simultaneously — starting in at the edge of the grass, then moving back to normal depth and then deeper. They take a few rounds catching balls hit directly at them, then they move to their right and to their left and they take a round backhand.
Okay, nothing is as bad as burpees, but at least we know the infielders will be ready.
Are the Tigers still looking for pitching?
MLive’s Evan Woodberry didn’t get a clear answer on that front, but I imagine the Tigers wouldn’t say no to the right deal. We know that someone offered Tim Lincecum a contract, and the Tigers were at his showcase last week.
Around the horn
What’s it like to get traded? Baseball players admit it’s a logistical nightmare. FanGraphs resident Sung Ming Kim knows all about the KBO and is a treasure trove of information. Your daily Grant Brisbee reading, this time about J.D. Martinez. More J.D. Martinez analysis. Astros prospect Forrest Whitley has been suspended for 50 games. Our friends at Maize n Brew are selling shirts to benefit the ChadTough foundation. Johnny Weir is winning the Olympics.
Baseball is awesome
Brady Singer, Two Seamer Movement. pic.twitter.com/Y9kUC3yXjc— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 17, 2018