Is there any possibility that Huntington puts together a trade for Jason Bartlett? I was just reading about the logjam of young talent the Rays have up the middle, with no place to put him once he returns from the DL: Briegnac, Rodriguez, with Zobrist also able to play up the middle if needed with their deep talent at OF as well. They also have Beckham in the minors, though he is a ways away.
I have touched on it before, but I think with our young pitchers, as well as young IF of Pedro, Walker, (Pearce/ Clement/Jones?) RonRon :(edeno is the one huge hole in our lineup that has no chance to improve anytime soon, and a young vet like Bartlett could go a long way in shoring things up on D, while plugging that black hole in the batting order. Many people point to :(edeno's D but even if he is a + glove at SS, his hitting is terrible. While this better than a no/ glove no bat, and common in MLB, as someone pointed out in the comments, it can be hidden on the best teams, a weak bat at SS is still a weakness and hurts teams without great lineups even more. On a weak hitting team it's just an automatic out. For every Vizquel or Ozzie Smith there are 50 :(edenos and Rey Ordonez's.
Look at the teams in the playoffs last year
Yankees (Jeter), Phillies (Rollins), Twins (acquired O Cabrera), Cardinals (had Lugo, used Ryan and his 340 OPS), Dodgers (Furcal), Angels (Aybar, 350 OPS ), Red Sox (Acquired Alex Gonzalez), Colorado (Tulo)
Can we get him?
Obviously there would be a lot of teams interested in adding a good, affordable, relatively young glove at SS who has hit at or near 300 the past few years, but I just think it would make us better in the immediate future and in the next few years without spending too much money or blocking anyone. I know most people would laugh at the idea of us being "buyers" around the trade deadline, but this wouldnt be in the traditional "rent-a-player" sense. We would be buying low on him as he was not hitting well this year and has been on the DL with a hamstring injury that may even keep him from helping too much this year. That may reduce competition for him, and we would be making the type of trade that you usually see in the offseason...during the season while they have a situation to deal with and his stock is low. It would be more of a move for the next 2-3 years than this year.
And no need to point out how our last trade for an injured Rays IF went. If anything they owe us a favor, but in all seriousness at least there is a precedent for making this sort of trade with the Rays.
Who do we trade?
The Ray's need relievers and obviously we have some of those to spare (well not really, but they're of value to other teams and we can just sign replacements in the offseason because this year is history). Possibly Dotel could be enough to pry Bartlett lose but I would be skeptical.
Our biggest trade chip appears to be Doumit. The Ray's have been looking for affordable production from the DH spot and Doumitt fits the bill perfectly. He has an affordable contract, a good bat and terrible glove. Everyone knows he's better off in the AL. However, a straight swap, many would argue, leaves the Buccos on the short end. In that sense we would need someone else in the package coming back...which would probably be too much. In which case my hypo-trade is this: Dotel, Doumit and cash for Bartlett and Matt Joyce.
Joyce is a classic Huntington target - great minor league track record, poor in brief stint in the majors. Potential (phantom ) power that has yet to develop and has fallen out of favor with other teams (traded for Jackson, poor showing for Rays). While the Rays will need young OF talent given Crawford and Uptons situations, they have Jennings and Ruggiano knocking on the door, in addition to catching talent they can put in the OF and seem more likely to move Joyce. Given that MIlledge isn't looking like the answer, I like the idea of a Tabata-McCutchen- Joyce OF in the future.
Is this really an improvement?
Another point that will come up from this trade is: How much better would this make us? If Doumit is gone that means we have Jamarillo behind the plate, at least until Sanchez arrives, hopefully late next year. The first thought is well now we have a Glove first, weak bat playing a premium D position, just a different one. However, I think the 3 keys are:
1. Jamarillo would just be a place holder till Sanchez arrives (assuming we dont sign a 1 year FA in the offseason)
2. Bartlet is = Ronny with teh glove and much better with the bat. Jamarillo worse than Doumit with the bat, but Much better on D. What we gain at C defense and SS offense is worth more than we lost at C offense.
3. If we can get another potential difference maker (Joyce) than we have greatly improved in the long term while not becoming worse short term.
In the end I just think that having any guys who are terrible on offense will just continue to hurt a team like us and there appears to be no one in the near future to shore up the position. I realize that towards the end everything got really "if, but, or and then" but I'm just suggesting ways to improve the team with what we have. I think it would be great to address this weakness for the near future, and years to come while moving guys we could/should move anyway.