Silverman gains flexibility with DeJesus deal
Trade not indicating Rays are sellers at Deadline
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman took a proactive approach to an approaching logjam by trading David DeJesus to the Angels before Tuesday's 10-2 win over the Tigers for Eduar Lopez, a 20-year-old Minor League right-hander.
"Given our team's improving health, the opportunity for David was a little more limited," Silverman said. "We were challenged to find at-bats for him. Especially given [Desmond] Jennings' potential return in a couple of weeks."
Already, John Jaso's return cut into DeJesus' playing time, and when Jennings returns some time in mid-August -- if all goes well in his rehab assignment that begins Friday -- DeJesus' playing time would be cut further.
Silverman also said that the trade brought the team some financial flexibility since DeJesus will make approximately $3 million for the remainder of the season.
"And that's certainly a positive and played a role," Silverman said. "We were also able to get back a young pitcher into our system and add him to the arms that we have and see how we can develop over the next couple of years."
Though DeJesus' offensive numbers are not eye-popping -- .259 batting average with five home runs and 26 RBIs -- they are decent numbers amid the Rays' underachieving offense. Given that fact, Silverman was asked what kind of message the trade sent to the fans and to the clubhouse.
"The message to the fans is, we believe in this club," Silverman said. "We believe in the players that we have. And the ones who are going to be coming back. The at-bats were limited, just given the crunch.
"Going back to Spring Training, we didn't think it was too functional of a roster to have both DeJesus and Jaso on this club. But we were able to accommodate it. At this point we thought it was the right move to look forward to redistribute those at-bats to a different group of players."
The Rays' roster stood a man short on Tuesday with 24. They will make a roster move prior to Wednesday afternoon's game against the Tigers, then decide on Thursday's off-day if they will go forward with that move or make another.
Silverman told reporters one can never anticipate deals happening.
"This obviously is the first one," Silverman said. "It's hard to predict whether another one, two or three will happen. There are several conversations going. The hit rate on those conversations is historically low. But we'll continue to have those conversations over the next several days."
Silverman called the Rays' situation with the Trade Deadline approaching a "two-way street" and clearly he didn't indicate that the Rays were planning on becoming sellers and looking toward next season.
"We make calls, we receive calls," Silverman said. "We have players that we're interested in. At the same time teams call us with interest in players. Some of it's new interest. Some of it's old interest. Conversations that have gone back six months or even years ago. But this is a good time for all teams to focus and have dialogue to see if there are ways to help each other's organizations."
The Rays do have depth in their pitching, which might be an area of strength from which they can deal, but Silverman added that the team has pitching depth "until we don't have depth."
"And we've seen that happen, that depth erased rather quickly," Silverman said. "But we're open to listening to other ideas. At the same time, there's not a strong motivation to do anything. We believe if our club plays up to its potential it's going to be in the race. And should be an exciting couple of months of baseball."