Rays want you to believe in the braintrust

by Gary Shelton on December 29, 2020

in general

Snell has 10 wins since his Cy Young season./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

The point isn't what they gave away. The point isn't what they got in return.

For the Rays, the issue -- once again -- is trust.

With this team, the major league leaders in trade-today-for-tomorrow deals, that is always the issue. As Blake Snell walks away, the way so many high-priced talents have walked away, it begs the question all over again. Do you trust this team to be baseball's smartest? Do you trust those who oversee the prospect.

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They test us, these Rays. You get comfortable with a player, and they send them away for a bunch of minor leaguers. Unswayed by success they have seen, they trade players for the privilege of not having the pay them,

It is happened again. The Rays have traded Blake Snell -- and his contract -- for promises. They have made this season's team weaker to make next season's stronger. They want you to swallow hard and to believe that the team that forged last year's overachieving bunch can do it again.

But can they?

Look, you hate this trade, don't you? Most off-seasons, at first glance, you have hated the Rays' trades.That's because they trade the proven away for the unproven, quality you know vs. quality you read about. The last time we saw Snell, he was being jerked from a World Series game in the worst in-game move in the history of the franchise.

Despite what the Rays said -- then, and now -- I thought that move said a lot about the lack of confidence the Rays had in Snell. It greatly feared him going against a lineup for the third straight time, and it cost them.

This move is kind of like that game. What you think of this move largely depends on what you think of Snell. If you think he is still a contender for the Cy Young -- well, the Rays didn't get enough. But if you have been frustrated with his failure to get out of the fourth inning, you might nod at the potential of the return.

There is this: the Rays have shed pitching before, and it hasn't come back to haunt them very often. Chris Archer has been a mess. David Price was better here than he was elsewhere. And so on.

Now, with Snell gone -- and with Charlie Morton gone -- you wonder if the team has traded away any claim it has on last year's American League championship.

Sure, Snell could be frustrating -- he's won just 10 games in the two seasons since his Cy Young win -- but you could be reasonably sure you were going to get a decent start out of him when he went to the mound. In hindsight, Snell was a more talented Chris Archer, who was in love with his variety of pitches more than the game plan of using them.

But are the Rays better without him than with him? You tell me.

Now , he has been replaced by pitcher Luis Patino, catcher Francisco Mejia, pitcher Cole Wilcox and and catcher Blake Hunt. It is as if the Rays are building a minor league system at the cost of a major league roster.

And because this team spends so little in comparison to other major league teams, you still fear the moves that may yet come. Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, maybe second baseball Brandon Lowe. Anyone who makes decent coin.

Look, you can read nice reports on the Rays' return. But the Padres are the same team that sent the Rays Hunter Renfroe last year, and that was a dud.

The goal here is to replicate the Archer trade in which the Rays pulled in Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows. but have they done that? We'll see.

You know who should love this trade? No, not the Padres, not even the Rays. The Yankees should love it. They aren't going to fear the Rays' lineup as they used to.

And for the Rays' fan?

All he is left with is the feeling that this front office has put together rosters before. Perhaps it can do it one more time... eventually.

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