Five Thoughts On The Rays – Padres Deal

Rays And Padres Agree To Blockbuster Deal

Late last night, the Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres agreed to a deal sending Tommy Pham and minor league infielder Jake Cronenworth to the San Diego Padres in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and minor league infielder Xavier Edwards. It should be noted that this trade is not official, although players have been notified. The trade is expected to be finalized after everyone passes their physical’s on Friday afternoon. It has also been reported that the Rays may be receiving an additional prospect in the deal.

Pham and Cronenworth Depart:

Rays Pham Homers Versus Indians
Tampa Bay Rays’ Tommy Pham (29) watches his two-run home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Catching for Cleveland is Roberto Perez. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Tommy Pham was a driving force for the Rays in 2019 as he encouraged every player in the clubhouse to step-up their game down the stretch in their quest to get to the post-season. Overall, he appeared in 145 games batting .273/.369/.450 with 21 homers and 25 stolen bases. Pham has two years of team control remaining and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $8.6MM. He will play next season at 32 years of age.

Jake Cronenworth, 25, is a right handed hitting infielder who also toils on the mound. In 2019 he batted .334/.429/.520 with 10 homers for the Triple-A Durham Bulls. He started 64 games at shortstop, 11 games at third base, and 3 games at third base. He also worked 7.1 innings pitching to a 0.00 ERA while striking out nine but walking eight.

Renfroe and Edwards Join Org:

San Diego Padres’ Hunter Renfroe bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Hunter Renfroe is a right handed hitting outfielder with immense power potential. In 2018 he appeared in 140 games logging 494 plate appearances batting .216/.289/.489 with 33 home runs. He is a career lifetime .235/.294/.494 hitter spanning 1450 plate appearances with 89 home run. Like Pham, he is also arbitration eligible and is projected to earn $3.4MM according to MLB Trade Rumors. He is under team control for four more seasons.

Xavier Edwards, 20, is a switch hitting infielder who was selected with the 38th pick in the 2018 draft out of North Broward Prep High School in Coconut Creek, Florida. In 123 games between Class A and High-A, Edwards hit .322/.375/.39 and swiped 34 bases spanning 561 plate appearances.

Five Thoughts About The Trade

  1. The Rays are not a better team in 2020 after this trade. Yes, Renfroe adds value defensively and bring power to the lineup, but Tommy Pham was a 4.0 fWAR player last year that brought a combination of power and speed to the lineup. He will be difficult to replace and Hunter Renfroe and Xavier Edwards is not the answer; therefore, additional moves, larger in magnitude need to be made in order to improve the Rays.
  2. Hunter Renfroe doesn’t need to play everyday. This may seem like an odd statement considering Tampa Bay just gave up an everyday player in Tommy Pham to get him. While Renfroe’s defense comes to the park everyday (22 defensive runs saved) his bat comes and goes like many power hitters. Additionally, in a division full of left-handed pitching, Renfroe does an admirable job against them. In his career, he has hit .269/.345/.579 against left-handed pitching while batting just .221/.271/.459 against righties.
  3. This trade wasn’t about the money. While Pham’s money is certainly a factor in the deal, the reason for trading him wasn’t to lighten the payroll burden heading into 2020.
  4. Despite the Rays being in a win-now period, they can’t turn down the chance to churn the roster with younger players (cost is a factor here) and years of control. With Pham, the Rays would have two more years of control with Renfroe they have four and with Edwards (under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement) they have at least six once he’s on the 40-man roster.
  5. When a prospect of the ilk of Xavier Edwards is offered in a trade, the Rays have to think long and hard about passing up. He passed on a scholarship to Vanderbilt and signed with the Padres for $2.6MM ($700,000 over slot) after being selected with the 38th pick in 2019. The switch hitting speedster has already moved up to High-A at just 19 years of age. He appeared in 46 games with Lake Elsinore batting .301/.349/.367 while stealing 14 bases and only being caught twice.

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