Joey Gathright Rumors

New Manny Scenario Discussed?

A source close to the Mets organization has supplied me with a possible trade scenario that is being discussed.  It’s complicated, but I thought I’d put it out there.

Mets trade: Aaron Heilman, Cliff Floyd, Victor Diaz, Brian Bannister
Mets get: Manny Ramirez

TB trades: Julio Lugo, Joey Gathright
TB receives: Aaron Heilman, Victor Diaz, Bronson Arroyo

Red Sox trade: Manny Ramirez, Bronson Arroyo
Red Sox receive: Julio Lugo, Joey Gathright, Cliff Floyd, Brian Bannister

Wow.  I’m not sure if this is any more plausible than the other complicated possibilities floating around, but this is a solid source.  Let’s see if it passes the reality test.

The Mets give up Heilman, Floyd, Diaz, and Bannister for Manny.  That’s a huge bounty, but the only real gem there is Heilman.  Plus, Manny is still a superstar.  Diaz is a good outfield prospect, and Bannister is a B level starter with a low ceiling.  Floyd is a year away from free agency and expendable if Manny is acquired.  The Mets could always try to get Manny and keep Floyd, but Floyd hasn’t played RF since 2002.  I would say this portion is not too far-fetched.

How about Tampa Bay’s side of things?  First off, my guess is that upper management would be reluctant to package Lugo and Gathright together.  As with the Huff/Baez rumors, why not just trade them separately and maximize the return?  The demand is certainly there.  Lugo is a hot commodity right now, and the Rays have been asking for a lot of Gathright (Scott Olsen?).  Arroyo would make a great #2 for TB; I’ve projected him to lead the Red Sox in wins in 2006.  The team doesn’t have a need for Diaz in a stacked outfield.  Then again, he’d be a decent fit at first base.  They’d probably love to have Heilman in the rotation or closing games.  Overall, I’d label this part of the trade as somewhat questionable.

The Red Sox are basically getting three quality Major Leaguers in return for a superstar and a promising young starter.  Given Floyd’s injury record and impending free agency, I can see his inclusion.  Gathright hasn’t proven anything at the Major League level yet; only Lugo is a known quantity, and he’s also got free agency looming.  So if you look at it that way, things seem fair for the Red Sox.  The Mets might even have to throw in some cash to make this work for the Sox.       

Marlins Still After Gathright

Today, a source close to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays updated me on their efforts to trade Joey Gathright.  The word is that the Marlins and Dodgers are the frontrunners, while the Rangers and Cubs are still "in the mix."

Three days ago, Joe Frisaro of mentioned that the Marlins could send Scott Olsen to the Rays for Gathright.  Gathright essentially is Juan Pierre, and the Marlins would have a formidable 1-5 in their order, believe it or not.  Call me crazy, but the Fish are a few well-timed breakouts, reliever success stories, and a couple of miracles away from sniffing .500 in ’06.  I know you’re probably bookmarking this story right now to disparage me at the end of the season for hinting that the Marlins could be a .500 team.

Anyway, it’s unclear to my source whether the Marlins actually offered Olsen for Gathright.  He did mention that the Devil Rays like Olsen a lot, despite his late-season elbow inflammation.  Olsen flashed huge strikeout potential in the minors, and jumped past Triple A this year to start four games for the Marlins.

The Dodgers’ interest probably hinges on Kenny Lofton‘s decision, as L.A. has an offer out to him.  The Cubs seem an unlikely destination.  Plugging in Gathright could result in a severely power-deficient outfield.  Gathright would be a nice fit for Texas, and could score a boatload of runs fronting that lineup.   

Angels Pursuing Joey Gathright, Toby Hall

According to Ken Rosenthal, "The Angels are believed to be talking to the Devil Rays about a deal for center fielder Joey Gathright and/or catcher Toby Hall."

We reported yesterday that the Angels were hot on the trail of Tampa Bay outfielders.  While our source named Ervin Santana as likely trade bait, Rosenthal thinks young infielders and/or catchers would be sent over.  It does make sense that Jeff Mathis would go to the Rays if Hall is dealt.  Mathis had a great age 22 season for a catcher at Triple A Salt Lake.  It is expected that Steve Finley will be benched or traded to clear a spot for an imported outfielder like Gathright.

Rosenthal also mentions, "acquisition of Hall almost certainly would end the chances of free-agent catcher Bengie Molina remaining with the Angels."  An interesting scenario could develop if Molina decides to play it safe and accept arbitration, which is still a possibility.  Last year, Placido Polanco unexpectedly accepted arbitration with the Phillies, creating an awkward situation with Chase Utley ready to play every day.  Polanco was quickly dealt for just Ugueth Urbina

Carl Crawford On The Block?

A source close to the Devil Rays’ scouting department filled me in recently on their outfielder extravaganza. 

It’s well known Joey Gathright is on the block.  If you’re looking for a scrappy player with no power who runs real fast, Gathright is your man.  It’s unknown whether Gathright can make his on-base skills shown at Triple A Durham translate to the big leagues, but some team besides the Rays will find out soon enough.  I’m not yet able to narrow down the list of his suitors to a single digit number.

Infinitely more interesting than Gathright is the possibility (albeit slim) that Carl Crawford could be dealt.  Crawford was "a little shocked" by Rocco Baldelli‘s deal, and rightfully so.  After all, where was Baldelli while Crawford was busy being the 10th best LF in the game in ’05?  2006 could be the year Crawford busts out and hits 20 HR.

According to my source, the Angels are hot on the trail of Baldelli, Gathright, and Crawford.  The Rays are quite enamored with 22 year-old righthander Ervin Santana.  Santana had a solid rookie season in ’05, winning 12 games for the Angels.

Another team in the running for Crawford is the White Sox.  They’re not entirely sold on Brian Anderson in center field for a defending World Champion, and the Devil Rays are asking for Brandon McCarthy and/or Josh Fields

McCarthy pitched with a vengeance in September and October of 2005, tossing 43 innings of 1.69 ERA ball.  He led the Minor Leagues in strikeouts in 2004. 

Third baseman Josh Fields is in the Sox’s top ten prospect list for sure.  However, he was just OK at Double A Birmingham in ’05, hitting .252/.341/.409 in 477 at-bats.  Fields is a hard worker, but still needs plenty of seasoning in the minors.

Thanks to Matt