Tuesday, 6 a.m.
As other teams try to kick the tires on Matt Moore, as they consider how much of their farm system they would be willing to trade, as they envision how Moore would fit on their mound, the Rays' response should be simple.
No. You can't have him.
Moore has graduated from being healthy enough to trade. These days, he's healthy enough to keep. He's healthy enough to nod at the first trade offer, to shrug at the second and to decline the third. Yes, the Rays could get someone who might be a quality player in 2019 for Moore. But why make the trade?
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Anymore, Moore is the most consistent pitcher in the Rays' rotation. He has gone six straight games where he has pitched six or more innings. He has won back-to-back games. In his last five starts, he is 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA. He's allowed three runs or less in 12 of his last 14 starts.
Yeah, other teams are going to want Moore.
This one should want Moore more.
Moore had yet another good outing Monday in a rare victory over the Los Angeles Angels. His season, maybe his career, has been righted for the moment. He is as close as this team has to a stopper. So why trade him away? Because another team wants him? Because he makes decent coin in a season that is ready for the discount bin.
We have seen this team after James Shields left, and after David Price left, and after Matt Garza left, and after Fernando Rodney and Rafael Soriano and Jake McGee and Wade Davis and the rest of them. Now comes Moore's turn. Evidently, the Royals and the Rangers are checking Moore's price tag.
If it's me, I say they can't have him. I say that starting pitching has been too hard to come by this season. I say that I'm hanging onto Moore, thank you very much.
What is it about bad baseball teams that makes them give away what's good? Just because you're playing like a minor league team doesn't mean the big boys get to call you up.
The truth is that the trade deadline has rarely done the Rays any good. It's usually a chance for the Rays to dump a salary or two. But as far as getting better in the season at hand, that doesn't really happen. The Rays aren't going to trade their way out of the cellar.
So what should the Rays seek at the trade deadline?
Personally, I only have a few non-touchables. Moore. Archer. Longoria. Kiermaier. Snell. After that, anyone can be had. Hey, last place is last place.
A few guesses:
Chris Archer, pitcher. Supposedly, the Dodgers are checking on Archer. But with a friendly contract, and with a limited return, I think the odds are that he can finally grow into his stuff. Decision: Keep.
Blake Snell, pitcher: He just got here. I'm still not sure that Snell has grown into his abilities yet, but I'm going to give him the chance. Decision: Keep.
Drew Smyly, pitcher: He's lost nine games in a year where he has often deserved more. But if I think I'm going to need a slot when Alex Cobb comes back, this may be the one. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Jake Odorizzi, pitcher: Could it be Odorizzi instead of Smyly? He has three seasons of control left, which would be a big temptation for a team such as Texas. The price would have to be higher than with Smyly, however. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Matt Andriese, pitcher: The Rays bumped Andriese to the bullpen to bring up Snell, but the right team could be interested. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Erasmo Ramirez, pitcher: There has been some interest in Ramirez, who seems to have suffered from overuse with the Rays. Still, a good guy who can fill many roles. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Ryan Garton, pitcher: Not likely to draw a lot of interest.
Danny Farquhar, pitcher: Not likely to draw a lot of interest.
Alex Colome, pitcher: Has succeeded as a closer. Would be tempting as a setup man. Decisions: Depends on what you can get.
Dana Eveland: Not likely to draw a lot of interest,
Xavier Cedeno, pitcher: Still has an ERA under 4.00, which will make some teams look. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Enny Romero, pitcher: Not likely to draw a lot of interest.
Logan Morrison, first base: Despite a slow start, he's been better lately. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Logan Forsythe, second base: The team MVP a year ago, and a candidate this year. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Brad Miller, shortstop: Has shown a little pop. Decision: Depends on what you can get for him.
Evan Longoria, third base: An all-star candidate with a good bounce-back this year. Decision: Keep.
Steve Pearce, utility: Has had a fine year for the Rays. It would cost a price for another team. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Desmond Jennings, outfield. Is hitting only .202. Yes, I trade him.
Brandon Guyer, outfield: Seems he has hit better than .264. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Kevin Kiermaier, outfield: One of the players who excites Rays fans the most. Decision: Keep.
Steven Souza, outfield: Despite his strikeouts, can grow into a good player. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Corey Dickerson, dh: Has shown some pop despite a .215 average. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Taylor Motter, utility: Has had some moments. Decision: Depends on what you can get.
Mikie Mahtook, outfielder: Still like his future. Decision: Depends on what you can get.