Trading places: New faces dot clubhouse
Moves address current club, but with eye toward future
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Young faces adorn the inside of the Rays' clubhouse this spring. Many are the return, or the prospects the club received in trades for Major Leaguers.
Making deals addressing the present with an eye toward the future has always been the Rays' mantra. And the regenerative threads of such deals are everywhere.
Recently, the Rays traded Jake Odorizzi, Steven Souza Jr. and Corey Dickerson, and many Rays fans did not take the news well.
What's forgotten is the fact many of the players the organization trades initially came to the team in deals before they were Major Leaguers and popular with Rays fans.
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Take Benjamin Zobrist. There's never been a more beloved player in the history of the franchise than Zobrist, yet he, along with Yunel Escobar, got traded to the A's for John Jaso, Boog Powell and Daniel Robertson. What's forgotten is the fact Zobrist came to the team as a no-name shortstop in the deal that sent Aubrey Huff to the Astros.
Robertson remains the lone leftover from the Zobrist deal.
"For me [being part of that trade] was like an honor," Robertson said. "I knew how much Zobrist meant to this team, to this community."
Robertson said most players don't understand the thread until they've experienced being traded.
"I know I look at it different now when I see guys come over," Robertson said. "You learn about the trade, who the people are, all the pieces, and it puts the trade in perspective."
Jake Bauers, the Rays' No. 6 prospect, came to the team in the three-way deal that sent William Myers to the Padres, and Souza from the Nationals to the Rays.
"It kind of gives you a sense of, 'OK, they believe in me enough to bring me over here. I need to make it pay off,'" Bauers said.
Fledgling slugger Justin Williams came to the Rays in the deal that sent Jeremy Hellickson to the D-backs.
"Being that prospect, I feel like that added pressure and pushed me to work that much harder," Williams said.
Nate Solak, who came to the Rays from the Yankees in a three-way deal that sent Souza to the D-backs, played second for the Rays on Wednesday in Fort Myers. Meanwhile, appearing later in the game was shortstop Jermaine Palacios, who came to Tampa Bay in the deal that sent Odorizzi to the Twins.
Remember the outcry when James Shields and Wade Davis were traded to the Royals? Odorizzi was one of the players the Rays received in return.
Willy Adames came to the Rays in the deal that sent David Price to the Tigers.
"I think [getting traded] was the best thing for me," said Adames, who is ranked as the Rays' No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline. "I was so young, nobody knew me. All of a sudden, everybody in the baseball business knew me."
Adames smiled and added: "Of course, you don't want to be remembered as the guy that got traded for David Price, Cy Young Award winner."