MLB Trade Rumors: Rays Interested in Anthony Rizzo


By now, you’ve all become very weary of any rumor involving Anthony Rizzo.  Half of you are alright with the idea of dealing Rizzo.  The other half hate the idea.  Yet eventually something is going to happen.  Perhaps that something is a move to the Sunshine State.  Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune expects the Padres to trade Rizzo within the next week.  He also said he expects the Rays to be interested in a trade that would send Rizzo to Tampa Bay, then the Rays would flip Rizzo to the Cubs.

In thinking about that suggestion, my first reaction was “great, the Rays have an awesome farm system and Major League-ready players.”  Then I started thinking about the flip to the Cubs.  Why would the Rays do that?  The Cubs have some talent they can give up, but overall right now, they have a weak farm system, large un-movable contracts, and Major League players with a lot of question marks.  In researching the thoughts coming out of Tampa, I don’t seem to be the only one questioning the logic.

Devon Rogers of Rays Colored Glasses wrote about the illogical assumption that Rizzo would be flipped to Chicago.

"I would love to see the Rays get Rizzo from the Padres, as I mentioned last week. I just am not sure the Rays should then flip him to the Cubs. Rizzo is a bit of an unknown, since he did so well in the Minors but has yet to hit well in the Big Leagues. It would all depend on what the Rays scouting department thinks of Rizzo as a player and whether he can be a successful hitter at the Major League level. If the Rays like him, Rizzo could be a great fit for the Rays and could be around for many years."

Whether Center’s prediction comes true is up in the air.  The Padres have been quiet for a couple weeks now after a flurry of moves had the world actually focused on San Diego.  However, Byrnes has not been shy to tell the public he is not against making more moves.  He’s already pegged Yonder Alonso as the Padres first baseman, so Rizzo no doubt starts in Triple-A.  With that in mind, Byrnes is surely listening to every offer for Rizzo very carefully.

The most urgent need for the Padres is middle infield help.  In a perfect world, the Padres would be able to package up a deal that sent Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett somewhere while getting a solid second baseman and short-stop in return for Rizzo.  However, it’s unlikely both Hudson and Bartlett will be dealt.  In fact, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that either gets dealt.  The lack of interest from teams means both might have to finish their contracts in San Diego.

Anthony Rizzo is such a hot button issue, it’s hard to find a consensus on what the team should do with him.  Many point to the Adrian Gonzalez trade in their desire for the Padres to hold onto Rizzo.  The thought is if the Padres gave up such a big part of their success in Gonzalez, they had to have had some confidence in what they were getting in return.

I do not disagree with this thinking, but teams have to flexible with their planning.  The best thing a team can do is change the plan when they need to.  Opportunity came knocking and allowed the Padres to get three prospects and a starting pitcher in the Mat Latos trade.  It just so happens one of those prospects may be a Major League ready first baseman.  With that in mind, the Padres are in the enviable position of being able to trade Rizzo for more talent or keep him as a fail-safe.

If I had to guess, I’d bet Rizzo is going to be dealt.  He may be dealt to the Rays, he may be dealt to the Cubs, or he may be dealt somewhere else altogether.  But in the end, don’t expect Rizzo to be in the Padres organization much longer.