The Boston Red Sox trade of Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox sparked trade deadline talk on The Commish Monday. With the deadline approaching, is it time for the Rays to start looking toward the playoffs, and start making big changes to boost their offense? “You could have a great pitching staff, like the Rays have, but if you have David Price and Justin Verlander pitching out there, David Price’s task is still going to be tougher than Verlander’s, because he is going up against a Tigers lineup that is very potent and can score runs,” said Justin Pawlowski.
Many fans have called for the Rays to trade for a “big bat,” but Pawlowski thinks that is not necessarily the solution. “We need to keep in consideration that the Rays aren’t going to pay big money for a big bat,” he said, “but they’re going to need somebody like a Cody Ross, like when he went to the Giants and got hot at the end of the year, and all of a sudden he had some big hits when the Giants went on to win the World Series.”
BJ Upton and James Shields have been the most frequent rumored names to be in the Rays trade talk. Upton is in the last year of his contract, and is very unlikely to re-sign with the Rays because of his price tag. “Do you trade BJ Upton for Major League talent this year, ultimately knowing that by next year he will be playing for another team?” Pawlowski asked. “If you are going to get that talent, in this season, in return (for BJ), I don’t see why you couldn’t pull the trigger even if you are still in playoff contention at the trade line,” he concluded.
James Shields has been rumored to be on the trade block due to the Rays bulk of pitching. He would also warrant the most in return out of all of the pitchers the Rays would be willing to trade.“Year in, and year out, the position that most teams are looking to fill are pitchers. If anything, James Shields is the one to go over Upton. The Rays will not just give up on Upton for nothing, you’ve got to have a huge price tag, and I don’t think they’re going to give up their huge price tag,” said Hollywood, producer for The Commish.
“With a guy like James Shields, where we’re seeing this depth in pitching, maybe it makes him expendable at the time,” said Pawlowski in reply to Hollywood, “but they’re not going to trade those guys unless they get the proper value back in return.”
The Rays have shown in the past that they will hold out unless they are offered the deal that they want. Former Ray Carl Crawford also heard many trade rumors in the final year of his contract. The Rays kept him on the team until his contract expired and he became a free agent.
“I don’t anticipate them trading a BJ Upton or trading a James Shields, those are just the names that come to mind first because they are probably guys that they can get something for,” Pawlowski said, “The Rays will never ever trade a player just to trade a player. They are never going to make a trade, unless they get a proper return on that trade.”