There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings. Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome, 3B Evan Longoria, starters Chris Archer and/or Jake Odorizzi and others. Another seemed to be the Orioles tossing Manny Machado into the market, understandably leading several teams to at least put aside what they were doing to look, including the Cardinals, with whom the Rays match up with very well and remain very much engaged on multiple trade scenarios. Beyond that, there is the remarkably slow pace of the overall market for trades and signings. Many attribute that to the high number of manager and staff changes and the two big early off-season deals — the signing of Shohei Ohtani and trade of Giancarlo Stanton — delaying other action. But there’s another reason, which could mean this is the new norm, in that all front offices have gotten smarter and homogenized in their thinking. They now value players much the same way, especially young, low-cost big-leaguers and top prospects; they are reluctant to give up big chunks of the future for any veteran; and it’s tougher to agree on big packages because even the players on the margin are debated. In short, it’s hard to deal like the Rays did with Matt Garza, James Shields and even Wil Myers. Also, though this is not universal, the Rays are among teams that prefer not to do business at the meetings. They’d rather gather info there, but wait until they get home — and aren’t going days with little or no sleep due to all-night discussions, don’t have people constantly pushing for face-to-face meetings — to make more rational and thoughtful decisions.
Several execs believe Longoria will be traded before April
Tampa Bay Times | Dec 17