The Tampa Bay Rays, having spent about $457 million fewer than the Giants this year, are contending. And while they would like to improve their roster, they aren’t set up to grab expensive players or trade prospects for rentals. They want quality players who will be cheap and around for a while.
Chris Haft is reporting that the Rays have been scouting Hunter Strickland, and that the scouts were on hand to watch him pitch effectively.
The trick, see, is to look at Hunter Strickland through the eyes of another team.
Whereas you see a pitcher whose struggles in the 2014 postseason were legendary, other teams see a pitcher whose struggles weren’t pronounced enough to keep the Giants from winning. And they also see a pitcher who has never allowed as many home runs in a full season as he allowed in eight postseason innings.
Whereas you see a pitcher who’s been a part of a failing bullpen, other teams see a pitcher with high velocity, a career 2.48 ERA, and the ability to strike out a batter per inning.
Whereas you see a pitcher who was indirectly responsible for a teammate getting a concussion that’s still keeping him away from the twilight of his career, other teams forgot about the Bryce Harper incident three days after it happened.
And where you see a pitcher who doesn’t turn a bad bullpen into a good one, other teams might see a pitcher who can turn a good bullpen into a better one, and do it for relative peanuts.
What would the Rays be willing to offer for Strickland? That’s an interesting q
Well, probably not, but the Rays had a farm system that rated in the top half of baseball according to Baseball America before the season, so I’m guessing they have more than a few projectable pitchers in the lower minors. They don’t have a host of power-hitting outfielders if you’re looking to fill an immediate hole, but they have starting pitchers who aren’t that far away, like Brent Honeywell, Taylor Guerrieri, Yonny Chirinos ... really, they grow them on trees.
There’s a Jacob Faria thriving for them in the majors right now, even though he didn’t exist before the season. They can do stuff like that.
That doesn’t mean that it’s likely, or that the Rays are actually interested in Strickland (his weird spike with walks would have me concerned), but it’s a rumor that makes a little sense. The Rays would want him because he’s cheap and around for a while. The Giants would listen because the Rays have starting pitchers who could help sooner rather than later.
It all depends on how much the Rays like a player the Giants are in no hurry to trade. If they’re smitten, the Giants will listen. And I’m guessing that if a deal is made, they would get back a little more than you might expect.