Reflecting on the Rays’ trade of Adames

by Gary Shelton on May 29, 2021

in general

Adames brought intangibles to the Rays../CHUCK MULLER

Saturday, 4 a.m.

At the time of the deal, I hated the Willy Adames trade.

A few days later, I still dislike it. Supposedly, it's getting better.

I hated the Adames trade because he was a terrific teammate. I hated it because he was a proven defensive player. I hated it because he was capable of surprising you with his bat, especially on the road.

But, mainly, I hated the Adames trade because, like most of the Rays' trades, it came with the reminder that the Rays' regulars all come with an expiration date.

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In all of baseball, but especially around here, you follow a player at your own risk. They come, and they go. Evan Longoria. David Price. James Shields. Ben Zobrist. Carl Crawford. Blake Snell. There is rarely enough time between hello and goodbye.

Again, part of it is the nature of the sport. Heck, Hank Aaron changed teams. Willie Mays. Ken Griffey Jr.

Around here, though, most of the time the reason for the departure of the franchise's most valuable players is because of one reason: money. Here, a fan always has his eyes on the payroll -- either today's or tomorrow's.

Granted, Adames hadn't hit the big paycheck yet, but his problem was the logjam of talented kids who were pushing at the major leagues. You get the feeling the trade wasn't so much to acquire J.P. Feyereisen as to get Adames out of the way.

Let's agree on this: For almost a week, it's been a good trade. Feyereisen is 1-0 in three games with an ERA of 2.55. Drew Rasmussen is in the minors, where he hasn't given up a run in two appearances.

But don't discount the presence of shortstop Taylor Walls in the trade. The Rays needed to promote Walls, and there are only so many slots on a major league roster. In six games, he has five hits, and he's played solid defense.

Look, it will happen more often. Both Wander Franco and Vidal Brujan are knocking at the door. Xavier Edwards isn't far behind.

You can almost look at the roster now and wonder where those slots will come from. Hint: It probably won't be from the bench. When the Rays bring those guys up, they're going to have to play.

Then, if you look at their history, you look at the higher paid players.

Is Kevin Kiermaier in trouble? Maybe. Kiermaier is a wonder in centerfield. But he's making more than $11 million a year, and the Rays are on the hook for $25 million over the next two years. That's a lot to pay to an outfielder who is hitting .216 (he hasn't been above .230 for four years).

How about Brandon Lowe? He's making $2.5 million, and he has almost $39 million left on his contract (five more years). He's hitting.196.

On the Rays, that creates a pressure point. The team is always looking to get cheaper, and eventually, it's going to have to move players out of the way of rising stars.

So, yeah, you can hate the trade of Adames. You can wonder if they got enough in return. You can wonder if the team will miss his intangibles.

But be patient.

There is more hate to come.

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