Lady Mary Wortley Montagu said it best when she said, “The idle mind will sometimes fall into contemplations that serve for nothing but to ruin the health, destroy good humour, hasten old age and wrinkles, and bring on an habitual melancholy.” The 2009 baseball season is 99.8% over with only these long drawn out award announcements leaving fans and pundits with a lot of time to create news stories with trade rumors that drive fans crazy with anticipation. Already this off-season, we have heard about the Rays interest in trading Pat Burrell for Milton Bradley as well as some conjecture related to trading Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford, and even Carlos Pena. My best advice to you as we head up to the Winter Meetings is sit back, relax, and listen. In my experience of following the Rays, especially with Andrew Friedman running the club, is that the club rarely does what is talked about in papers, blogs, and talk shows.
Let’s work backwards with the transactions of the 2009 starting with Akinori Iwamura. It was rumored the club would likely do a sign and trade with his rather affordable final option but what was not known was when it would happen and where he would go. Iwamura’s option was indeed picked up and 24 hours later, he was dealt to the Pirates for Jesse Chavez. The Cubs, the Dodgers, and the White Sox were rumored to be looking at Iwamura but he ended up with a team that nobody mentioned. Gregg Zaun coming to the Rays came out of nowhere. The only mention you ever heard of Zaun was from R.J. Anderson at DRaysBay.com because he had a bromance about Zaun and would express it often as he, like all of us, lamented over Navarro’s poor play in 2009 and even he was stunned when I sent him the link from the Orioles radio site that broke the trade news. Scott Kazmir was traded to the Angels near the trade deadline in a deal that took many by surprise – not only because the Rays were still being considered contenders, but because the Kazmir trade rumors from earlier in the season were considered dead. Early in the 2009 trade rumor season, there were some talks about Kazmir to the Angels that were diagnosed as dead end rumors by pundits – yet a deal did eventually happen.
Those are just three examples from this past season where the Rays made moves either with players or with teams nobody was talking about. This is why I don’t let these Carl Crawford trade rumors bother me because the more and more a trade rumor with the Rays is discussed in the media, the less likely it is going to happen. Friedman and company seem to act when everyone else least expects it so when the trade rumors start to quiet down in the traditional and electronic press, then you can start acknowledging the unpleasant scenarios that your idle baseball mind is running through right now. If that brush-up this past weekend with the Crawford rumor taught us anything, it reminded us to take the knowledge and apply it within the context of the team. If anything, I still believe Bartlett would be traded before Crawford because of the open market demand for shortstops and the fact Bartlett is coming off a max value season and would be under a team’s control for three more season as he is not a free agent until after the 2012 season.
Try not let all of these rumors run you every day, just take some time, some time to get away…….