According to Ken Rosenthal, the Tampa Bay Rays have had discussions about Jermaine Dye and are one of several teams “balking” at the reported asking price.
“The White Sox are asking teams for a young starting pitcher plus additional players for right fielder Jermaine Dye. The Mets, Rays and Phillies are among the teams balking at such a price.”
Although the Rays have a need for a right-handed bat in a right field/DH-type role, Dye does not seem like a great fit. He had a nice bounce back season for the Chicago White Sox, batting .292/.344/.541/.885 OPS, with 34 home runs to help lead his team to the postseason. However, he is due around a little under $11.5-million in 2009, the last year of his current contract. This means that he is essentially a rent-a-player who is not exactly stellar defensively and would hurt the Rays’ excellent run prevention efforts. Considering the price, his bad knees and age (34), he is not the type of player who Andrew Friedman would seriously consider.
True, Dye is only two year’s removed from an MVP-caliber season in which he posted career highs in OBP (385), OPS (1.006), slugging percentage (.622) and wOBA (.412). He also put to rest any concerns from his dismal ’07 campaign (.338 wOBA), posting a .371 clip.
Regardless, Dye is likely to decline and would not be a good fit in the turf at Tropicana Field. In Bill James’ projections for ’09, he has Dye putting together a line .270/.334/.491, with a .357 wOBA. This, factoring in defense, would not be that much of an upgrade, anyway, considering the financial implications and cost of prospects.
“One potentially interested executive said his team was concerned that Dye batted only .210 with runners in scoring position and two outs last season — 36 points below the American League average.”
This was interesting to me. Of all the red flags, why focus on this? Dye certainly struggled with RISP and two outs, batting .210/.269/.306. Still, that line was based on 62 at-bats, which is not exactly a hefty sample size. The thought process of that unnamed executive is undoubtedly concerning, and, from where I am standing, makes it unlikely that they work for the Rays.
Rosenthal also touches on some other rumors regarding Tampa Bay, which is looking to upgrade at DH. Given the current state of the economy, he says, the Rays could end up finding a bargain in a short-term deal with one of the bigger free-agent bats available. One of the names listed is Jason Giambi, whose name also surfaced in a recent New York Post article (though it was essentially a rumor created by a single writer). It is unlikely that the Rays will be able to afford Giambi, who quietly put together a nice performance in his final go-around with the New York Yankees. The left-handed hitting slugger posted a .373 OBP, .502 slugging percentage and a 128 OPS+ while hitting 32 home runs. He finished with a .372 wOBA as well, as he continued to do three things consistently: draw a bunch of walks, hit home runs and strikeout.
With that being said, Giambi would provide a tremendous boost to a Tampa Bay lineup that was actually less productive than in 2007—when they finished in last place in the division. His on-base skills would be a welcome addition, and he would not have to play first base as frequently as he did in New York with Gold Glover Carlos Pena returning. In all honesty, whichever teams he signs with should tell him to put his glove away for good.
Still, a deal is unlikely. The Rays will wait to see what the market dictates before they make a move, if any. Barring a weak demand for Giambi, his agent will likely generate a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal that would obviously cancel out the Rays as a potential suitor. Plus, he is left-handed.
Cork Gaines dismissed this rumor in a recent post.
“Giambi's agent: [covers phone, giggles like a school girl] OK. Let's start at three years, $45 million.
World B. Friedman: [gulps] But...but your guy is old and we only had to pay Cliff Floyd $2.75 million for half of a season's worth of work. Giambi is one-dimensional and baseball gloves probably should get a restraining order against him. Even PECOTA says he was only worth $9-10 million in 2008. How about two years, $12 million?
Giambi's agent: Listen, my guy just posted an OPS+ of 130 which was just behind Vlad the Impaler and Miguel Cabrera and just ahead of Grady Sizemore, Magglio Ordonez and David Ortiz. That OPS+ was better than free agents Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez and Pat Burrell. He is only 37, and have you seen him recently? I don't want to say my boy is back on the juice, but have you seen his arms recently? He is bigger than when he got busted the first time...Uh, I mean the only time...or whatever it was that he apologized for and never admitted to...Three years, minimum. And he made $23 million in 2007. My client is used to a certain lifestyle.”
Also, Trever Miller reportedly agreed to a preliminary contract with the St. Louis Cardinals last Friday. The deal is still not yet official, however. Miller posted a 107 ERA+ in 43.3 innings and recorded some big outs for the Rays this past season.