Recent Seattle-Cleveland-Tampa Bay Trade Rumors

 


Steve Nesius / AP

Usually when I get a call at 5 am EST in involves the following items: money, a bail bondsman, or a ride somewhere. But this ring tone told me it was from a far away source, a pretty good drive and leap away. It came from the west coast, and in Seattle it was only 1 am PST in the morning. So with a million things racing through my mind that could be wrong for this person to be calling me at this time, baseball was not very high on the list at that hour.

So I answered the phone to a loud scream of : “Tell me it is true, Frickin (I cleaned the language up) tell me this is a true rumor. you see, while most of us were sleeping on the east coast, the websites and the bloggers on the other side of the country were just getting settled into their homes after a blowout by the Cleveland Indians over the Mariners. So as they were driving home or even listening online to the M’s flagship radio station KIRO 710 AM was spilling out some fodder that the Rays, Tribe and M’s had something cooking on the back burner.

So I decided to check my first reliable source by popping onto the website www.seattlepi.com/mariners and seeing if the bloggers had gotten a hold of such a rumor. Now I was not even aware of the players involved yet, but I did have reason to believe the two coming to the Rays would be the hot and much wanted starter Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez.

And so I hit the M’s blog section and was greeted by the following headline: “Potential huuuge deal w/M’s, Tribe and Rays”. What was so amazing is that at this time two of the team involved in this trade were currently in a 3-game series in Seattle. What was even more amazing was the 4 other players linked to this rumor. The Seattle side of the equation had former starter/reliever/closer and current Triple-A player Brandon Morrow and back-up catcher Jeff Clement going to the Indians.


Ted S. Warren / AP

On the Seattle side of the trade aspect they were getting rid of a pitcher who needed a change of scenery and who could re-invent himself correctly with his next team. The M’s had used Morrow in every pitching situation and never let him get totally settled into one segment of their pitching staff.  Clements was another guy who was stuck behind two starters and was learning to play first base to get his bat into the line-up down in Triple-A. He had played for the M’s in both 2007 and 2008, but lost out this season to back-up Rob Johnson because of his MLB experience.

Both guys needed a break from the M’s way of doing business, and the trade route seemed like the perfect answer. But because the Rays needed a third party to get some of the needed pieces to Cleveland like a catcher and a quality pitcher who could assume any spot, both Clements and Morrow were perfect candidates for the possible trade. But what had the M’s bloggers all giddy and excited. What member of the Rays might have fallen into their laps and gotten such a great response.


Chris O’Meara / AP

Well, the Rays were willing to send left-handed starter Scott Kazmir and shortstop prospect Reid Brignac to the Emerald City. But early on in this trade situation, some wires did get crossed, and some mixed signals did get thrown out over the web. At one point this afternoon, Tampa Tribune sportswriter Marc Lancaster had to get some needed information to calm the Rays faithful. Here are a few of his Tweets from Sat to explain the Brignac episode:

@TBORays “Reid Brignac pulled from Durham game before top of third inning. Definitely a potential trade chip, so something might be up”


@TBORays From what I can gather, doesn’t sound like a trade is imminent with Brignac. Still not sure why he’s out, though.

@TBORays Word from Durham is Reid Brignac was pulled from the game for not hustling to first base.

@TBORays Per Durham manager, Reid Brignac will play 2nd game today. Right leg was bothering him.


So after that I decided to do some detective work and see if
www.cleveland.com was sporting any interesting gossip. But all was silent on the Indians local papers website and in the blog regions. Hopefully by morning we will know more about what might be going on with this entire situation. But before I go, let me also let you in on some of the speculation coming from another source in the Seattle area.


Brian Blanco / AP

It seems that Geoff Baker, who writes for the Seattle Times also had gotten wind of this potential trade. So I wandered over to wwwseattletimes.nwsource/marinersblog and took a look at what he was saying about the potential trade. Here is a small sampling of his take on the whole trade situation concerning all three teams:

“Here’s something to think about, completely my speculation right now, but showing you how this stuff works. Let’s say there really was a three-way deal in the works between Tampa Bay, Cleveland and the Mariners and that Zduriencik was going to acquire Brignac and Scott Kazmir in a deal that would send Brandon Morrow, Jeff Clement and pocket change to the Indians. Maybe the M’s were all set to pull the trigger and that’s why Brignac was pulled.”

That does make sense, but also what make more sense to me is that Scott Kazmir needs a fresh start somewhere. I can see him having a 2010 that would rival Edwin Jackson’s current season up in Detroit. Sometimes you just need to get away and let the stress flow to begin again. And that is what both Kazmir and Brignac need right now. Solid foundation and a chance to play again at their top levels. For Kazmir to be away from Rays Pitching Coach Jim Hickey might be the best medicine for him right now.

He has not gotten the program fully that Hickey is trying to teach in Tampa Bay. Kazmir was a success here  ion Tampa Bay before Hickey was hired in November 2006. His style is more centered on “contact” or spot pitching sytle to minimize offensive damage. It is not a system Kazmir can not learn, it just takes away from his power pitching side and makes him rely on location and change of speed on his pitches. 

Brignac is stuck behind a log-jam that is only going to get more crowded at Triple-A, and this opportunity would give him more of a chance to show his stuff at the major league level. With current shortstop Jason Bartlett hitting over .350, and back-up Ben Zobrist becoming the super uber sub of the American League, Brignac is stuck waiting for a chance because of injuries and not abilities. In Seattle he would have a chance to show his stuff and even get noticed by other teams the rest of the season.

And last, but not least is the upgrade the Rays would get with a quality catcher who can also hit for average and power that is currently lacking in Tampa Bay. Sure there might have to be some attitude adjustments before Martinez comes to show he is here for the team and that his “Old Man” comment to Rays Manager Joe Maddon was just in the heat of battle. But the pitching upgrade of Lee could easily be the difference in getting a chance at a playoff spot in 2009.


Duane Burleson / AP

And if all else fails and it is not a success, you know teams will be eager to entertain a trade with the Rays for Lee in the offseason if they feel he is not a solid fit to the rotation for the team. But I still do not see this happening without a single Rays farm system player going to Cleveland. The guy that has been mentioned most in trade chatter has been pitcher Wade Davis. But like Kazmir and Brignac, he has been  a bit stymied the last season waiing for his shot at the MLB level.

No matter what happens between now and the end of the trade deadline, you can be sure you will hear more of these names flashed around on the bottom of your television screens. The tell-tale sign of something brewing behind the scenes in Seattle might be if Cliff Lee doesn’t start on Sunday against the Mariners. If this happens, it is a fair indicator that someone might be making a huge push at getting the former Cy Young leftie for their own……..hopefully in Tampa Bay.

16 Comments

You’re a really good reporter, Renegade. I love how you did the legwork and tracked down all the sources of the rumors. Great detective work! If you guys do get Lee, it’ll send shivers through the AL East.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

I’ve been anticipating the Rays doing something to get Lee and Martinez for quite some time now. I’m not surprised that things are in the works. I don’t want to lose Kaz, but I think that is inevitable. He’s just not getting it done here. And it is not really an up and down scenario as with Morrow–he’s doing the same thing every time out. Brignac is expendable to me since we have Bartlett, Z, and, hopefully, Aki to man the middle infield. I would feel bad for Navi if we acquired Martinez, but he has had his chances to produce. He isn’t.
http://raysfanboy.mlblogs.com/

Hi, Rays Renegade …

The other day in New York, it was rumored that the Yankees inquired about getting Cliff Lee … But, the Indians wanted either Joba Chamberalin or Phil Hughes as part of any deal, and that basically ended trade discussions as far as the Yanks were concerned … It is interesting, though, as it was also reported, the Yankees would be willing to include Joba or Hughes in a deal for “Doc” Halladay … I would say, it looks like the Yankees will not be making any major deals before the trading deadline ends !!!
.
It seems like both the Rays and Red Sox are interested in Victor Martinez … It would be a great move by either team to add Martinez, and, or, Lee [who is pitching in his scheduled start vs. the Mariners, as I'm sure you already know] … Certainly, any move by the Rays or Sox will make the AL East race even more interesting !!! … By the way, great 10-9 comeback extra innings win for the Rays in Saturday’s game vs the Blue Jays !!!
.
I look forward to the upcoming Yankees vs. Rays series starting tomorrow in Tampa Bay !!! … All games are “big” the rest of the way, especially, between the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox !!!
.
Take care, Rays Renegade !!!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend !!!
— Jimmy, “BY&L”
http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.com/

Bottom of the 6th …

Cleveland 11, Seattle 2 … (Lee still pitching)
.
It’s been a long day. Wrong URL above !!!
Should read …

http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/
.
— Jimmy, “BY&L”

Jane,
I wish I could take all the credit, but my journalism school at the University of Florida prepared me well.
Also have to throw kudos to Mike Flanagan, my editor at the “Evening Independent” who was a strict AP Style book guy.
It just becomes second nature after a while.
And yes, it will send shock waves abd instant credibility to the team and the front office with such a trade.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Raysfanboy,
Do not forget Aybar. He might not the perfect second baseman, but he adds another level of power to the equation.
I like this deal a lot, even with the addition of Wade Davis and another prospect to the list.
If it means we have to lose 4 guys to get 2 All Stars, then 4 it is going to have to be!
Davis might be the next one to hit the major leagues, but that doesn’t mean it will be here. Brignac is expendable, but talented. Even if a lower level pitcher currently with Bowling Green or Charlotte has to be a kicker, than so be it.
The Rays have a small window to produce another championship team before they have to rebuild, this is the year………..

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Now the News is that the Dodgers were talking, but both sides are denying that anything was serious. The Report was the tribe would send Lee and Martinez to the Dodgers.
http://clevelandbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Jimmy,
As you might have noticed by the time stamp, I posted this at 6-ish this morning after searching the web for a few hours to confirm to deny a few of the sides of this rumor.
But my friend was right on so many levels.
The trade would have been a masterpiece for Seattle to get rid of two cogs that do not fit their puzzle and bring in two cogs that could form a great duo with Kazmir and Felix Hernandez throwing arrows back-to-back in a rotation.
I did check out and saw that Lee did start his game, so maybe the Eric Bedard injury put this trade on the back burner or delayed it entirely right now.
We shall see.

And Jimmy, I always look forward to NY coming into our house to play us, even back in 1998.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Aero,
Wow, guess it is true that the Dodgers are falling out of love with Martin like they did Dioner Navarro and ex-Ray Toby Hall.
It is almost like there is a two-year shelf life right now for LA catchers.
The Dodgers have the pieces of the puzzle, and might dangle Juan Pierre in that package.
It will be fun to see how this all turns out.
Thanks for the new information.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Well, sounds good, but I don’t think the Indians are going to give up both of those guys. The fans would revolt and maybe never come back.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Yeah, I agree with Jeff. I would seriously consider going on strike. Great entry, but I sure hope these are just rumors. Also, we swept! I’m so glad. & Yeah, I think that is just what we are doing. The record is 0-0 from now on ;)
http://tribechick.mlblogs.com/
-TC

Well, if you guys don’t want Kazmir or Bringac, I know a certain team that could use a power pitcher and **** prospect…-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.blogspot.com

Oops, I mean Brignac. Spelling FAIL.

Jeff,
Spoken like the guy who has seen Matt Holliday and Julio Lugo bang the boards lately.
You know something, I think the fans in the Rustbelt actually know that they will be gone soon, but who is the one to go first.
I do not think the Rays will get both of them, but either of them is an upgrade right now.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

TC,
That is the great thing about rumors, some work out, and some just keep working until they get a conclusion.
I still think we could run enough good vibes and energy, plus some great prospects to pry one of them and leave all of you Indians fans happy as clams.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Erin,
It is okay to not get the name right. The Seattle Times had his name as “Reed”, not “Reid” when they first reported it yesterday.
First rule of journalism taught to students the first day: Acurracy, Accuracy, Accuracy, then get a confirmation on the spelling.
I do not think the Rays are thinking towards the Twins unless you want to give us Nick Blackburn and Denard Span. Then maybe.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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