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View Full Version : Rays looking for an outfielder, our old friend Marc suggests Freel



Tom Servo
03-16-2008, 12:57 PM
Rays Are Still Mulling Outfield Possibilities
By MARC LANCASTER

The Tampa Tribune

Published: March 16, 2008

LAKE BUENA VISTA - For now anyway, Rays manager Joe Maddon's right field/designated hitter triangle is missing a side. That might not be the case for long.

The Rays already were kicking the tires on additional outfield possibilities before Rocco Baldelli clarified his situation Wednesday. Now that everything is out in the open, the Rays can ramp up their efforts to bring in a player to join Jonny Gomes and Cliff Floyd at those positions - preferably someone who could back up B.J. Upton in center field.

"As Rocco's situation started to become clearer, we expedited some conversations to try to bring someone in from the outside," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said Saturday. "We're always looking to upgrade, and if we can upgrade over what we have internally, we'll do so. If we can't, obviously we won't."

Friedman said the Rays were more likely to seek an answer via trade than by signing a still-available free agent.

The team has discussed free agent Kenny Lofton at various points, and still could sign him without giving up anything but cash, but some outfielders figure to become available as teams near final cuts in the next couple of weeks.

The Angels could deal either Juan Rivera or Reggie Willits. In Boston, Coco Crisp won't be an everyday player after the emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury. But Crisp is banged up, and two other outfielders who might otherwise be good fits for the Rays - Toronto's Reed Johnson and Cincinnati's Ryan Freel - have had trouble staying healthy at times.

If the Rays find a player they like, they probably would be willing to part with one of their sudden surplus of young starting pitchers to get him. Keep in mind that Jason Hammel and Edwin Jackson are out of options and likely will make the Opening Day roster if they're still around, even though Andy Sonnanstine and J.P. Howell have looked very good this spring. There doesn't appear to be room for all four of them on the pitching staff - unless Scott Kazmir opens the season on the disabled list.

Even if the Rays hold onto all of those players, they might consider dealing from their stock of arms at the Double-A and Triple-A level for the proper return. It's just a matter of finding someone with the right blend of skills at the right price.

"We're going to continue over the next two-plus weeks to try to identify someone that can come in and help us both offensively and defensively," Friedman said.

For the time being, the Rays are giving more playing time to potential fifth outfielders John Rodriguez and Jon Weber. Baldelli's injury has opened the door for one of them potentially breaking camp with the team. With a new chance available, they're trying to state their cases.

"You have to come out here and try to impress everybody, because in this game you never know what could happen," Weber said. "You always want to impress everybody - not only our coaching staff and front office, but there's 30 other teams that are in the stands as well."

mlbtraderumors agrees that the Reds would probably be the best fit.

Joseph
03-16-2008, 01:02 PM
And WK has shown a proclivity to deal with them.

Dan
03-16-2008, 01:12 PM
I think J.P. Howell is probably the ceiling for Freel.

Matt700wlw
03-16-2008, 01:14 PM
I'm in

Highlifeman21
03-16-2008, 01:31 PM
Freel most likely has more trade value than Hopper, plus he makes more bank.

Freel seems to be the best candidate to be traded before Opening Day.

RedLegSuperStar
03-16-2008, 01:56 PM
Edwin Jackson for Ryan Freel, low-mid level prospect, and Cash

OnBaseMachine
03-16-2008, 01:58 PM
I think J.P. Howell is probably the ceiling for Freel.

If Wayne Krivsky could pull that off, he should be given an immediate contract extension. I like J.P. Howell a lot, I'd throw in a prospect like Jordan Smith or even someone like Chris Valaika for Howell.

lollipopcurve
03-16-2008, 02:22 PM
I'll take low-level prospect or two with no impact on the 40-man. Catchers Mike McCormick and Nevin Ashley sound intriguing enough.

KronoRed
03-16-2008, 03:54 PM
Freel most likely has more trade value than Hopper, plus he makes more bank.

Freel seems to be the best candidate to be traded before Opening Day.

Why can't it be Patterson? :(

jojo
03-16-2008, 03:59 PM
They can probably get a guy like Jeremy Reed without having to pay the salary of Freel. Or they could probably get a guy like Randy Winn for free by just taking his salary.

harangatang
03-16-2008, 04:53 PM
Edwin Jackson for Ryan Freel, low-mid level prospect, and CashOh Lordy, I remember when the Dodgers turned down a Dunn for Edwin Jackson swap.

M2
03-16-2008, 05:01 PM
They can probably get a guy like Jeremy Reed without having to pay the salary of Freel. Or they could probably get a guy like Randy Winn for free by just taking his salary.

I agree that would be the optimal move, but for the reason I put in bold, I doubt the Rays would do it. Winn's due $8M this year. That would be close to a 25% team salary increase for Tampa Bay. They're not doing that.

mth123
03-16-2008, 05:07 PM
I agree that would be the optimal move, but for the reason I put in bold, I doubt the Rays would do it. Winn's due $8M this year. That would be close to a 25% team salary increase for Tampa Bay. They're not doing that.

They probably won't want Freel for the same reason. They may have interest in Hopper. I'd prefer to keep Freel and deal Hopper anyway, since I don't think either brings back anything to help unless a prospect is packaged with them.

M2
03-16-2008, 05:18 PM
They probably won't want Freel for the same reason.

Freel only costs $3M this year and, unlike the Giants with Winn, I'll bet the Reds would be willing to eat most of that for a modest return.

OnBaseMachine
03-16-2008, 05:27 PM
Freel only costs $3M this year and, unlike the Giants with Winn, I'll bet the Reds would be willing to eat most of that for a modest return.

Ryan Freel (with the Reds picking up 1.5 million) plus Chris Valaika for LHP J.P. Howell. I would do it.

Howell becomes the Reds #5 starter.

mth123
03-16-2008, 05:28 PM
Freel only costs $3M this year and, unlike the Giants with Winn, I'll bet the Reds would be willing to eat most of that for a modest return.

Yeah, but the $4 Million in 2009 is the problem, and if the Reds need to eat that, they may as well keep him unless a real solid bullpen arm is included in the deal.

Highlifeman21
03-16-2008, 05:32 PM
Why can't it be Patterson? :(

Hopper has little to no trade value, so I have a feeling for most of the season we'll see him platoon with Patterson in CF. Freel can do more things than Hopper, and can do them better, so while I'd rather see Hopper leave town, it just won't happen due to him having less value than Freel.

Believe me, I'd rather see Freel and Patterson platoon than Hopper and Patterson, but one of Freel or Hopper will be gone before Opening Day and unfortunately it won't be Hopper.

As for Patterson, as long as he hits no higher than 6th in the lineup, he gives us actual defense in CF than the smoke and mirrors defense we'd get from Hopper or Freel. I'm fine with Patterson as a slightly better version of Dickerson or Denorfia, which is exactly what we need up the middle. I'm not ok if we're stuck with Hopper exclusively in CF. At least Patterson gives us an above average glove.

mth123
03-16-2008, 05:42 PM
Ryan Freel is owed $3 Millon in 2008 and $4 Million in 2009. Some team may take that on (like the Mets or maybe the Red Sox) but Tampa Bay won't unless the Reds eat about $5 Million of that and even then they won't offer more than a fringe prospect IMO.

I like Howell too, but with Cueto and Volquez already in the rotation I don't want another young guy who is likely to leave a tired pen and cause the Reds to go too long with the other youngsters. I'd rather have a guy like Fogg or Belisle that can be ridden hard without fear of damaging a long term asset. Obviously if the Reds could get Howell in a reasonable deal that is great. He'd go to the pen or AAA.

jojo
03-16-2008, 05:51 PM
I can't imagine Freel is even Tampa's plan B. Howell isn't coming to Cincy. At worst he'll populate their pen given his stuff and "lefthandedness". Jackson is pluckable but the Reds would probably be in line if Freel is the headliner.

M2
03-16-2008, 06:01 PM
The only five guys who've started for TB this spring are Shields, Niemann, Garza, Jackson and Hammel. It's hard to be sure if they're tipping a potential blind spot, but it looks like they came int ST with a preconceived notion and have yet to veer from it.

Jpup
03-16-2008, 06:53 PM
The only five guys who've started for TB this spring are Shields, Niemann, Garza, Jackson and Hammel. It's hard to be sure if they're tipping a potential blind spot, but it looks like they came int ST with a preconceived notion and have yet to veer from it.

what about the split squads? BTW, Matt Garza is a stud. They stole him.

IslandRed
03-17-2008, 01:40 PM
Ryan Freel is owed $3 Millon in 2008 and $4 Million in 2009. Some team may take that on (like the Mets or maybe the Red Sox) but Tampa Bay won't unless the Reds eat about $5 Million of that and even then they won't offer more than a fringe prospect IMO.

It depends. The Rays are swimming in prospects, so they may be open to dealing a good one (not necessarily from the top shelf, though) if the Reds kicked in enough cash to make it worthwhile.

Chip R
03-17-2008, 02:58 PM
With a guy like Freel, clubs can afford to play a waiting game with him. Why trade a guy when you can pick him up after he's been released? You don't have to pay his full salary and you don't have to give up anything either. I'm sure Wayne's burning up the phone lines trying to get someone to take Freel off his hands but probably the best offers he's getting is someone in a similar situation as Frel is in. No options, fair to middling deal, surplus at a position you already have, etc.

BRM
03-17-2008, 05:27 PM
Speaking of Freel...the Cubs are looking for a RH centerfielder.



So if the season started today, would general manager Jim Hendry be satisfied with his roster?

''No,'' Hendry told the Sun-Times on Sunday. ''We're going to have to add somebody before Opening Day. I can't say for sure because you are going to have to acquire somebody from somewhere else, but we are going to have to add at least another outfielder to be in the mix off the bench -- from the right side.''

It's rare for a GM to be so candid about his needs, but the worst-kept secret of spring training is the Cubs' desire to make one or more trades before Opening Day.

''You try to hold off and try to get the best guy you can,'' Hendry said. ''And that's what we're still going to try to do. And the other things, you don't know whether they are going to happen.''

The ''other things'' likely center on the Cubs' hunt for Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, though sources from both sides indicate a deal probably wouldn't be struck until the final days of camp. The Cubs also have interest in Boston Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp, a switch hitter, and the Texas Rangers' Marlon Byrd, a righty-swinging outfielder who could play center.

The need for another outfielder has become so great, manager Lou Piniella will give right fielder Kosuke Fukudome some looks in center this week.

''One thing we don't have here is a backup center fielder,'' Piniella said. ''I said we weren't going to keep both young center fielders [Felix Pie and Sam Fuld] here. I'm going to have to play Fukudome in center a little bit this week.''


http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/845965,CST-SPT-cub17.article

Chip R
03-17-2008, 05:39 PM
Speaking of Freel...the Cubs are looking for a RH centerfielder.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/845965,CST-SPT-cub17.article


Ryan Freel and brick walls are not a good mix. :eek:

REDREAD
03-17-2008, 06:08 PM
I don't see the Rays paying Freel's salary to be a back up player.

Lofton would come cheaper and cost them nothing.

Heck, they're much more likely to just sign a Buck Coats or Reggie Taylor type guy for close to the minimum. Why give up a prospect for Freel and pay his salary when they aren't going to contend?