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Julio Lugo To The Braves

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.

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The Devil Rays a contender in 2007? Who is the person that wrote that trying to kid?

If the Devil Rays get to 3rd place by 2015, it will be a shocker.

Contender in 2007? HA, don't make me laugh too hard!

I wrote it dude! Tell me why I'm wrong.

You've got a #1 pitcher (Kazmir) and tons of young talent (Upton, Young, Gomes, Cantu, etc.). I think it's an awesome foundation. A few FAs and trades and the '07 team should be able to win 85+ games.

Scott Kazmir a #1? He may be a number 1, by default, in Tampa Bay. On most MLB teams, he would barely make the MLB roster.

85+ games, HA, don't make me laugh any more than I already am. Has Tampa Bay won 70 in their existence? Have they gotten above 5th place in the division? What free agent is going to want to sign there and if Chuck LaMar keeps requesting these outlandish trade demands, the D-Rays will remain the same team they always have been.

Face it, Tampa Bay isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and they sure aren't going to be playoff contenders by 2007. If they make it to 3rd place, that would shock me.

Lamar is gone. Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker are in charge now. They've already shown change by sitting down to talk with Delmon Young about this future.

Kazmir, barely make the MLB roster? Dude's 21 years old with the 3rd best strikeout rate in the league. C'mon now.

Does Tampa Bay's past under old management really have any bearing on the future? Maybe in that the inept management brought them many top draft picks that they used well.

Why are you so anti-D-Rays?

Why am I so anti-D-Rays? Because what do they have and/or what have they shown to make anyone think they are going to be any kind of contender whatsoever?

They are talking about trading the one legitimate power hitter they have in Aubrey Huff and one of their legitimate bullpen guys in Dany Baez.

Scott Kazmir is the #1 in Tampa Bay only by default, because Tampa Bay has squat pitching wise. On any other team in baseball, maybe outside of Kansas City, who has nothing as well, he'd be a #3 or #4 at best. When he is your ace, it doesn't say much for your team.

Plus, is management going to bump the payroll up to the 60-70 million they are going to need in order to be even remotely competitive? NO!

So what gives you any reason to think Tampa Bay is going to compete with the Yankees and the Red Sox, and even Baltimore for that matter? Even if guys like Upton or Delmon Young get good, they will be gone when they become free agents because the D-Rays won't be able to afford them.

Face it, Tampa Bay is nothing more than a 5th place team, 4th at best. I question why they even still have a MLB franchise because if I were in charge, and contraction was an option, they'd be the first team to go. They have absolutely no committment to winning whatsoever. It's pretty obvious by where they have finished year in and year out.

Trading Huff and Baez is a great move for the D-Rays. They are trying to build a young, cheap foundation and it's working.

I guarantee you the Red Sox and Yankees would trade any of their starters straight up for Kazmir. To put up these numbers at age 21 means ace in the making:

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/K/scott-kazmir.shtml

If you're going to be oblivious to new management and an incredible young core, so be it.

Well then I guess we might as well not have the Cy Young award next year. We should just hand it to Scott Kazmir, because he is so amazing. Give me a break!

If that is Tampa's best pitcher, then it doesn't say a whole lot! Scott Kazmir, Mark Hendrickson, Casey Fossum, Seth McClung, Doug Waechter? If you think that is going to take Tampa Bay to the promise land, I've got some ocean front property in Oklahoma that I'll sell you.

You may fall into the trap of what Tampa Bay is doing, but I'm not. They have shown me absolutely nothing and have given me no reason to believe that they will be any more than a 5th place team, 4th at best, young core or not.

Doesn't matter that he's the best in Tampa's rotation. He's also #1 in MANY rotations, including the Yankees and Red Sox. Can you dispute that? Can you name a better pitcher on either staff?

Their rotation needs improvement, that's why they can contend in '07. Again, what they've shown in the past is irrelevant here.

And I will add this too: Even if these guys like BJ Upton, Delmon Young, Scott Kazmir end up as good as you say, what makes anyone think they won't be gone when they hit free agency? Do you honestly believe that Tampa Bay is going to be able to compete with the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Mets, Cardinals, etc if they were to have to get into a bidding war? I don't think so!

From what I have seen in Tampa Bay's history, they have only kept one person from going to free agency, and that was Carl Crawford.

Let's say for sake of argument that Kazmir does do well and goes to free agency, and the Yankees offer him a Carl Pavano-like 4 year deal worth 40 million. Tampa isn't going to be able to match that; that would account for almost a third of their payroll.

Being a Marlins fan, I see it all the time with my team, and they have a 60+ million payroll. They lost Carl Pavano and Ivan Rodriguez not because they didn't want them back, but because they didn't have the resources to get into bidding wars. And that was with a payroll over 60 million. Tampa's is what, 35 at most?

Tampa Bay has to go young because they aren't able to attract free agent, based both on money and record. And as I said before, even if these guys were to do well in Tampa, they won't stay. They'll be gone for the cold hard cash faster than you can say Devil Ray!

I am sorry buddy, Scott Kazmir would not be a #1 on the Yankees. He wouldn't be ahead of Randy Johnson; he wouldn't be ahead of Mike Mussina; and I am not even sure he'd be ahead of Carl Pavano. He'd be a #4 on the Yankees, AT BEST!

As for the Red Sox, he wouldn't be ahead of Schilling or David Wells, and it's close whether he'd be ahead of Tim Wakefield. He may be a #3 on Boston, AT BEST!

Down the road a few years, who knows, but right now, there is no chance he'd be any more than a #3 or #4 on the Yankees or Red Sox.

Well, given that the D-Rays have a 5-6 year window to compete while they retain the rights to their rookies, I don't think it's a big deal right now. I don't know of any young players the Rays let get away because of money - they never shied away from the best draft picks over money.

I don't know why Marlins fans don't come out to the ballpark. But with a good young core and some key pickups, the team won the 2003 World Series. No reason the D-Rays can't use that model.

Letting Pavano and Pudge go were great decisions by the way. The Tigers and Yankees are desperate to get out from those contracts.

I don't think FAs care about record that much. The Rays signed Greg Vaughn and Wilson Alvarez in the 90s, and those were big names at the time. Payroll needs to increase to compete, but who are we to know whether it will? Increasing it in 2006 would be pointless anyway.

Kazmir's age 21 season was very close to where RJ and Wakefield were at in '05. Those two won't make gains in 2006, that's fairly certain.

He's easily better than Wells, Mussina, and Pavano right now.

Schilling is a huge question mark.

I guess this is one discussion that you and I will always disagree on. Tampa Bay just has not shown me anything in their existence to give hope that they are going to do anything. It's just the way I feel.

And then when you add to the mix the high spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox, it doesn't help the cause either. And if Baltimore adds a pitcher or two, they are going to be right in it. As bad as this sounds, and I know I will get blasted, Toronto may be the only team right now that Tampa has any shot of staying close to, and even then, that is marginal.

Alright, we can agree to disagree. They are in the most competitive division, so it will be tough for them.

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