Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scotty Noooo!

And just like that, in the blink of an eye, the Rays all time leader in wins, strikeouts, and ERA is gone. I can't say I didn't see this coming, but I can say I didn't see it coming NOW. 3.5 games out of the wild card with 3 days left in August seems like an odd time to trade away your #2 starter and most reliable pitcher over the past months. But it was a move that needed to be made for the future of this franchise, and I am pretty confident that Kazmir wasn't going to carry us to the playoffs on his back.

So lets dissect this deal a little more. First the negatives, and there really aren't that many other then the timing. Trading a team player like Kazmir, someone that I consider an "old school" D-Ray, pretty much out of nowhere is going to take it's toll on the locker room. Players know it is part of the business of baseball, but I don't think anyone saw this one coming and it is going to affect the locker room atmosphere no doubt. Kazmir is only 25, but I think it's pretty safe to say he has reached his prime in Tampa Bay. He was a great player, but never really developed in to the player we thought he would be when we traded for him with the Mets. That doesn't mean he won't be, it just means he won't be here. I think Kaz needed a change of sceanery much like Edwin Jackson, who has done very well in his first year with Detroit.

The pros definately outweigh the cons in this deal. For one, we have $22 million of Kazmir's salary off the books. 22 Million. That is a lot of money, money that we desperately need if we want to re-sign the face of this franchise, Carl Crawford. I was almost sure that either Crawford or Kazmir was going to have to be traded in the offseason because of payroll restrictions, and when it comes to it, Crawford is a much more essential part of this team. The rays are loaded with minor league talent at the pitching position, and can afford to take their chances now on another young arm like Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson.

Joe Maddon seems excited about the prospects we are getting in return for Kazmir, Matthew Sweeney and Alexander Torres. On paper, these guys look good. Torres as done great this year, going 12-4 between high A and AA. Sweeney is a power hitting 3rd baseman who we could maybe transition into a first baseman. But the real prize seems to be the PTBNL, who Maddon said was a key piece in this deal (Brandon Wood?). Getting 3 good prospects for Kazmir is about as much as you can ask for when your payroll is as restricited as it is in Tampa.

It's sad to see Kazmir go, he was an integral part in the turnaround of this franchise. He was very active around the community and liked by everyone in Tampa Bay. However, this is part of the game. 5 years from now this team is going to look completely different other then Longoria and Price. Kazmir came in as the savior of this franchise, did his job, and now its time for him to move on. He has a long career ahead of him still and i think i speak for all rays fans when i say we wish you the best of luck, Kaz.

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