Today the Tampa Tribune’s Scott Carter again brought up the idea of the Rays trading Julio Lugo. This time, he named names:
"While it remains too early to determine whether any of those players will be traded, Atlanta’s interest in Lugo appears real. Atlanta catcher Johnny Estrada, third baseman Andy Marte and pitcher John Thomson, who had his $4.75 million option for next season picked up recently, are all believed to be available. Meanwhile, Baez and Huff continue to surface in trade rumors with the Mets and Red Sox that erupted at last year’s trade deadline."
RotoAuthority has already busted out 2006 projections for Lugo, so we won’t go into detail about that here. But is the availability of Andy Marte legitimate? Marte was ranked the #1 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball Prospectus in 2005. I asked Scott Carter, the perpetrator of the rumor, to elaborate. He told me:
"I don’t think you would see any kind of trade straight-up for those two. I’m sure for Braves to depart with Marte, they would want Lugo and possibly Gathright/Gomes or more."
If I’m the Rays, I’m speed-dialing Schuerholz to offer Gathright and Lugo for Marte. Mark my words, the Devil Rays will be a contender by 2007.