Red Sox: Rays pitchers were not available trade targets


The Tampa Bay Rays reportedly had no interest in aiding the division rival Boston Red Sox with their quest to find a starting pitcher.

The decision to pull the trigger on a deal that brought Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox was met with some initial skepticism, but it appears to have been a wise move when you consider the team’s desperate need for another starting pitcher in a limited market.

Sure, there are options out there, while others could potentially pop up before the end of the month. But who was available that would have been a better option than the All-Star lefty?

Julio Teheran? The Atlanta Braves don’t appear to be eager to part with their ace and it would take a king’s ransom to get them to even listen. Pomeranz cost the Red Sox their best pitching prospect in Anderson Espinoza, but Teheran likely would have cost that and then some.

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A reunion with Rich Hill would be appealing, except the veteran is on a one-year deal. The Red Sox weren’t looking for a rental, as it would put them back in the same position this winter that they were in entering this month. Hill may not have cost Espinoza, but he wouldn’t be cheap. If the Red Sox couldn’t re-sign him after this season it would leave them overpaying for a starter in a weak free agent class or cashing in more prospects to make another trade.

The preference was to find a young pitcher that they could control at a reasonable cost beyond this season. That’s exactly what they are getting with Pomeranz, who will enter his first year of arbitration next season and won’t enter free agency until 2019.

If Dave Dombrowski hadn’t made the bold move to acquire Pomeranz, who else is out there that fits that criteria?

The Tampa Bay Rays have a trio of young starters that fit that mold. The only problem is, they have no interest in trading them to Boston.

"“A few pitchers that may have normally been considered by the Red Sox – Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi or Chris Archer – weren’t in the mix despite reportedly being on the block,” writes Rob Bradford on “The reason, according to a major league source, was that Tampa Bay  had no interest in dealing any of the group to it’s division rival.”"

So scratch those names off your wish list, now and likely in the offseason. The Rays aren’t giving up their best pitchers only for them to come back to haunt them on a regular basis by sending them to another team in the division.

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At least this presumably takes those three options off the board for the Baltimore Orioles, who could also use an upgrade in their rotation to help fend off the Red Sox for the division title. Boston set the market for what it will take to acquire a quality starting pitcher, making it more difficult for the O’s to find one in a dwindling market.

The Red Sox are likely better off getting Pomeranz over any of the three Rays pitchers anyway. Granted the Padres sold high on him, but it’s not as if the Rays were going to sell low on any of their pitchers, despite their struggles this season.

All three of those Rays pitchers have an ERA well north of 4.00 this season. Archer continues to be among the league leaders in strikeouts, but his 4.68 ERA is the highest of the bunch. His 49 walks are the second most in the league, while the other two have been generous with the free passes as well. All three have had trouble keeping the ball in the park, despite pitching half their games in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field.

All three of these Rays pitchers come with quality pedigrees and track records to suggest they are far better than this season’s numbers would suggest. However, there’s no assurance that a change of scenery would suddenly snap them out of this funk. They may have solid careers ahead of them, but the Red Sox need someone to help their rotation now. Pomeranz at his best is far more likely to help than any of these three Rays pitchers at their worst.

Even if the Rays were willing to trade their pitchers within the division, the price would be far too steep for what they are likely to contribute down the stretch. If you think the Red Sox could have gotten a steal by buying low on these high upside arms during a rough patch, well I have some beach side property in Kansas to sell you.

We knew the starting pitching trade market was going to be thin, but this report that the Rays pitchers were out of reach goes to show the importance of the Red Sox getting ahead of the market by bringing in a promising young pitcher having a breakout season.

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Will Pomeranz continue to pitch at an All-Star level here in Boston? Maybe not, but if he settles in as a solid No. 3 option, the Red Sox will take that. What was the alternative? With limited options on the trade market, passing on the Pomeranz deal would likely mean giving Clay Buchholz his rotation spot back. Put into that perspective, this trade seems brilliant.