ST. PETERSBURG – Another “11th hour” trade deadline deal for the Tampa Bay Rays sends LHP Matt Moore to the San Francisco Giants for 25-year old 3B Matt Duffy (MLB), INF Lucious Fox (prospect) and RHP Michael Santos (prospect). In the same breath, they also parted ways with INF Steve Pearce, sending him back to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league catcher, Jonah Heim. Just an hour before that, they’d sent OF Brandon Guyer to the Cleveland Indians for OF and RHP prospects Nathan Lukes and Jhonleider Salinas.
All in a day’s work.
So who are the new faces coming over to the Rays? I’m glad you asked.
Let’s start with the big deal and talk about what this team hauled in for former 17-game winner, Matt Moore. Matt Duffy was in his third year at the MLB level, all with the Giants, and is coming off a 2015 campaign in which he played in 149 games and slugged 12 HR, drove in 77 and hit to a .295/.334/.428 clip with an OPS a modest .762. The 2016 season hasn’t been as kind to Duffy as he’s been nursing an Achilles injury. This year he’s hitting .253/.313/.358 with 4 HR and 21 driven in. At just 25 years old, some are saying the Rays could have found the successor to Evan Longoria at third. To those fans I say – pull back on those reigns a bit. Duffy can play, and has played, multiple positions in his career including short stop (10 G) and second base (18 G). While third is his primary position, saying he’s the shoe-in future at that position to replace Longo is a bit quick an assumption. The other two names in the deal are prospects at lower levels of the minors. Fox is a short stop who has struggled in A-ball this year (.207 avg in 75 G) while Santos shows plenty of promise with a career minor league ERA of 2.84 and is proven to be able to keep the ball in the yard with just five long balls off him in 37 games, 36 as a starter at the A-ball level.
Another catching prospect comes aboard in the Pearce deal from the Orioles. Heim isn’t going to impress with his bat (minor league career avg is .216) but plenty have touted his defense behind the plate as he’s also caught 33% of would-be base stealers in his minor league career.
Guyer was never an every-day player nor was he going to be with the Rays being loaded at the OF position at the MLB and MiLB levels. What they got in return for him was a minor league career .299 hitter in Lukes, 22, and a solid relief arm in Salinas, 20, who’s shown a lot of potential in rookie ball pitching to a career 2.93 ERA in 23 games, 13 as a spot-starter.
With the exception of Duffy, the Rays may need to wait a few years before seeing the true fruits of these deals. Then again, most trades follow that same rule. You’ll have fans singing the praises of Matt Silverman and then you’ll have those who will chastise him for not making “the right moves.” It’s impossible to truly tell what the “right” moves are until these prospects start to show what they’re worth. Duffy will be a solid acquisition for this team who can help them sooner rather than later once he’s recovered from his Achilles injury. He’s proven he can hit at this level and hit well.
As for who the Rays didn’t deal?
Chris Archer is still here as is Jake Odorizzi, Erasmo Ramirez, and Drew Smyly. All, at some point, were either highly sought after or mentioned in rumors over the last week yet here they all remain. Will that change come the Winter Meetings in December? Who knows. But the trade deadline has come and gone and the Rays – well they were the Rays. When the final bell sounded at 4:00 and it was time for “pencils down,” this team did what it usually does and drop a bomb on the baseball world.
Matt Moore, Brandon Guyer, and Steve Pearce will all be missed. They all contributed to this team in one way or another be it this year or in years past.
Now, each one of them has a chance to win a championship in 2016.
Let’s tip our cap and wish them well.
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