Ask Gary: Is it time for the Bolts to trade Bishop?

by Gary Shelton on June 18, 2016 · 1 comment

in general

Readers want to know: Is it time for the Lightning to trade Bishop?

Readers want to know: Is it time for the Lightning to trade Bishop?

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Saturday, 6 a.m.

Sounds like it's time to trade Ben Bishop even though he's been great for the Lightning the last two seasons. Your opinion?

Rick Martin

This is a very popular topic this week, which would thrill Times' columnist Tom Jones endlessly. It means people are reading, and people are discussing. That's a big deal for any columnist. You have to make sure people are paying attention.

My response is that it may be time to let the league know he can be had, just to check out to see what price Bishop might draw. He's one

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of the best players in the world at the most important position, so if I found out that I could get rich in return, I might be convinced to pull the trigger.

That's the key with any player: What can you get in return for him? I've always thought it was silly to declare that you have to trade a guy, or that there is no way you would trade a guy until you know the price. I certainly wouldn't sell my SUV unless I knew what someone was offering.

That said, I wouldn't be in a hurry to trade Bishop. The Lightning needs more stars, not less. Trading Bishop would drastically reduce the chances of the Lightning going deep into next year's playoffs. Remember, Bishop's absence led to the team's elimination from the playoffs the last two years.

I'd hold onto him. In fact, if I could extend him by 2-3 years at a reasonable price, I'd do it.

A columnist in today's paper made the case for the Lightning trading Ben Bishop at this time due to his high cost and unavailability at key times due to injuries. What say you? Keep him or trade him?

Howard Powders

Howard, as I just said, I'd hang onto him. With Bishop, I think it's fair to say the Bolts would be a top four team again next year. Without him, I don't think they are.

Andrei Vasilevskiy may someday be a great goalie. We don't know that yet. He's 4-5 in the playoffs. But I'm not ready to put the rest of the team on hold to let him catch up.

If I were general manager Steve Yzerman, yes, I'd check out the potential return for Ben Bishop. But unless someone was just going to make an offer so stinking rich that I couldn't turn it down, I'd stand pat for now. Maybe halfway through the year, at the trading deadline, I reconsider. Maybe teams will have a trade option before the expansion draft next year.

This team is elite because Bishop is elite. I'm not trading that away easily despite his age (30) and his contract (one year left).

Do you think the Lightning will trade Bish this summer? Or, do you think the Lightning should trade Bish this summer?

Cecil DeBald

Cecil, I wouldn't unless the return is so great I couldn't say no. This season, remember, the entire dynamic of the Bolts changed; they went from a high-scoring team to a team that relied on Bishop to hold the team to two goals or less.

Trusting that to a 22-year-old (in July) would essentially throw next season away. Who could expect a team with a first-year starter in goal to go deep into the playoffs.

Bishop has one more year on his contract. As I've said, I would check out the price,but unless the return was amazing, I'd certainly start the season with both goalies and see what happens.

Bishop is an asset, one of the key assets on the roster. I'd treat him that way. If another team wants him, they're going to have to pay a steep price. Maybe more than that.

It's been 1.5 years more or less, so how do you like the job Matt Silverman has done during his time as President of Baseball Ops for the Rays?

Cecil DeBald

I don't think a lot of people realized how much work the Rays needed when Silverman took over. The last year that Andy Friedman and Joe Maddon were here wasn't a good one.

I do think the offense has come on since the start of June. I would like the team to be more athletic, however, and better defensively. But I think the Rays would be eight games, maybe 10 games, better off if the starting pitching had been as good as it would supposed to be. To me, that's the crushing disappointment to this team.

When healthy, I love the outfield, for instance. The infield is good at the corners, and Logan Forsythe has become a terrific player. But I wish the shortstop was better, and I wish the catching was better.

Matt is in the same situation that Friedman was in for years. He has to compete with nickels against twenty-dollar bills. That's harder all the time. Franchises are very reluctant to give away their stars.

I think the real judgment of Silverman will be if some of the players in the minors blossom into stars. If that happens, the Rays can get back to the wild-card level. If not, it's going to be a struggle.

Will FSU continue to be the best team in Florida football this year, or will the Gators or Canes make a move on them?

Cecil DeBald

It's still early yet. Jim McElwain has had one full recruiting season and part of another. Mark Richt has had part of one. It's asking an awful lot of both coaches to have them fix all the flaws already.

I'll give Richt one advantage: he has a quarterback. That could allow UM to compete in the ACC pretty well. Of course, McElwain has a better roster. But can Luke Del Rio play? We don't know yet.

Right now, FSU has everything going for it. They've had the best recruiting season in the state for several years. They play a schedule that can be had. They have the best player in Dalvin Cook.

I think that Florida and Miami are both trending upward. But for now, I think it's FSU's world.

Will the shift ruin MLB?

Scott Myers

No, it won't. It hasn't since the 1920s, when it was first employed. It hasn't in the 1940s, when it was employed against Ted Williams.

True, it's more often seen these days, because hitters are stubborn about pulling the ball instead of taking an easy single to the opposite field.

In short, I'm not crazy about seeing so much of the shift, either. But I don't think it affects averages so much that it's going to ruin the game for me.

Who do you think will win game 7....Warriors or Cavs and why?

Jim Willson

I guess the fashionable pick is the Cavs. Lebron James has been a whale of a player, and the Cavs have momentum.

Despite all of that, I'm going with the Warriors, who were a more seamless team over the year. And Steph Curry's kid is still adorable, which has to mean a basket or two. Seriously, the Warriors are at home, and I think the crowd will make a difference. I read the other day that home teams are 15-3 in Game Sevens. Unless James uses this game to further establish his legacy, I think the Warriors win.

Then again, what do I know?

So on July 1st, do the Lightning no longer have control over Stamkos? Do you think that we should have traded him? Are there ANY rumors about the negotiations (if there are any)?

Jim Willson

It's easy to say that, in hindsight, the Lightning should have traded him. But no one knew Stamkos would get hurt or that he wouldn't have an impact on the playoffs.

As it is, I think a lot more people are willing to let Stammer go after this post-season. The Lightning did very well without him. Still, Stamkos has the singular ability of putting the puck in the net. I'd still like to see them bring him back, although the team doesn't act as if it's the No. 1 priority anymore.

Bottom line: I think the Lightning wants him back, and they're willing to pay him a lot of money. But some franchises will pay him more. I wouldn't be surprised if Jeff Vinik were to get involved and try ti keep him in Tampa. But, deep down, don't you wonder where Steve Yzerman and Jon Cooper rank him among the Lightning's best players? Stamkos has never been a guy to create his own shot; he one-times a lot of passes into the net.

I'd like him back. But does Yzerman as he looks at all the players he has to sign?

No, there are no rumors about Stamkos, really, which amazes me. Usually, you get rumors even if they're information thrown against the wall. To me, it comes down to this: If Stamkos really likes his teammates, and if he likes winning, I think he stays in Tampa Bay if it costs him a million dollars. If he likes money, well, there will be more out there. But that's not official rumor. Just a gut feeling.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Richard Wade June 24, 2016 at 10:15 am

It’s past time for the Rays to change team’s on field persona and demeanor. They gotta get meaner. Start by cutting ties with Cash, Hickey, and Shelton, ( not you Gary), and while they’re at it Baldelli and the rest of that spiritless, unemotional, wouldn’t say crap if they had a mouth full on field ” leaders”. Not one more post game interview with Cash looking like he’s going to cry. Not one more excuse for lackadaisical, don’t care style of play from most of these overpaid AA players. They should be playing their hearts out to stay in the big leagues for one more contract since the have no chance to be on a “40 man” for any other MLB team. Now here’s the starting point: steal Wally Backman from the Mets, who are hiding him in AAA until Collins has a health melt down. He’s already left a ” here’s how to get guys to play hard for you ” managerial video on YouTube. Just as Collins himself left a ” “here’s how to do a post game” video just this week. Further video of this style was also left on video this week by Clint Hurdle’s neck vein popping tirade at the game wide horrendous umpiring as he left the dugout following his team’s 11-4 loss. That’s what I’m talking about!


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