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Rays Make Another Interesting Swap With Padres

Hunter Renfroe joins the 2020 Tamoa Bay Rays season lineup.

Hunter Renfroe joins the 2020 Tamoa Bay Rays season lineup.

If you got déjà vu from the Rays recent trade, it’s understandable considering how similar this deal is to another trade the two teams made only a month before. In January Tampa Bay made a shocking deal to trade outfielder Tommy Pham to San Diego in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and second base prospect Xavier Edwards. Just a couple weeks later the Rays traded another established Major League player to the Pads in relief pitcher Emilio Pagan for another Padres outfielder in Manuel Margot. Also headed to the Bay is catching and outfield prospect Logan Driscoll who had a slash line of .340/.458/.797 in the Northwest league. He’ll start the 2020 season in Class-A Bowling Green for Tampa Bay. 

Why did the Rays make this trade?

Fans may be curious as to why the Rays traded Pagan, the team’s leader in saves with twenty. For starters, Tampa Bay felt confident in their many bullpen arms, including Nick Anderson, Colin Poche, Diego Castillo, and Oliver Drake. They’re also counting on a rebound year from Jose Alvarado, who struggled after a scorching start last season. On top of that if guys like Brent Honeywell and Anthony Banda can fully recover from Tommy John surgery and be effective, it’s safe to say Tampa Bay will have a deep enough bullpen. 

The fact the Rays had four outfielders before this trade occurred also makes it interesting. Margot is a defensive outfielder, primarily in centerfield, with a very similar profile to Kevin Kiermaier but from the right side of the plate. However, Margot is coming off a year in which he hit .330/.420/.466 clip against lefties, making him an ideal platoon with Kiermaier, who struggles against left handers. Outfielder Randy Arozarena, acquired from St. Louis this offseason, is affected the most by this deal as instead of having a chance to be the fourth outfielder on the Opening Day roster, Margot will take that spot. Chances are Arozarena will start the year in Triple-A Durham.

General Manager of the Rays Erik Neander told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that they had been on Margot for a while, and had tried to acquire him with prospects. When that didn’t work the Rays resorted to trading from a place of depth to acquire a needed position player. Neander also told Topkin, “We feel really good about where we stand right now.” At the end of the day this trade sends a message to Tampa Bay: We want to win now. 

Why did the Padres make this deal?

This one’s a little easier to explain. The main reason for San Diego agreeing to this is they wanted to bolster an already solid bullpen. MLB Network rated Padres closer Kirby Yates as the top relief pitcher in baseball and now they can throw Pagan into that mix, which should be lethal. Having a strong bullpen will be crucial for San Diego as they will need to eat up innings to back a very young and inexperienced starting rotation.

However there are negatives to this deal for San Diego as centerfield is wide open for the Pads. Without the rangy Margot in center the outfield defense takes a significant hit. Newcomers such as Trent Grisham and former Ray Tommy Pham may have to plug that hole for the Friars, both of which are used to playing the corner outfield positions. The Padres took a risk in the outfield to strengthen the ‘pen, and only time will tell if it was worth it.

What’s next for Tampa Bay?

That’s a tough question with the always innovative Rays’ front office. After the Jose Martinez trade most Rays’ fans, including me, felt the Rays were pretty much set with their roster heading into Spring Training other than a few minor league signings. Clearly we were wrong as the Rays made another significant trade only days before pitchers and catchers reported. 

However, with only about two weeks before the Rays’ Spring Training opener, I just don’t see the Rays making another big trade, especially one that removes current players from the 25-man roster. Although Tampa Bay’s front office has a knack of making surprising trades so I wouldn’t completely rule it out. One thing is for certain, the Rays want to win, and now. If they can make another trade to improve the roster significantly for the right cost, they’ll do it.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

MLB Predictions for the 2020 season

While the performance of teams can be unpredictable, based on performance this season, these are the most likely outcomes of the 2020 season.

Steel Maiden

While the performance of teams can be unpredictable, based on performance this season, these are the most likely outcomes of the 2020 season.

The 2019 MLB season was full of surprises, from break out teams such as the Rays, A’s, and Twins, to teams failing to meet expectations like the Mets, Phillies, Cubs, and Red Sox. Of course, the most unpredictable of all, the Nats going from 19-31 to 2019 World Champions. Some say baseball is unpredictable, something you shouldn’t bet on. Well, it’s worth a shot!

A.L. East:

1) Rays

 2) Yankees

3) Blue Jays

4)  Red Sox

5) Orioles

A bold prediction to say the least, but the Rays will win the East. Before an injury crisis struck Tampa Bay, sitting down two of their three best pitchers in Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, and two of their best hitters in Brandon Lowe and Yandy Diaz, the Rays led the East through June before succumbing to the Yankees and settling for the second Wild Card. If they can manage to stay healthy they are a superpower in the American League. The Yankees are no slouch and should make for a good race atop the standings. The Blue Jays, with their new young core of Vlad Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio, could be on the rise and be a sneaky playoff team. The Red Sox, in the opposite direction of Toronto, are looking to cut payroll, which could also cut wins putting them in fourth. The Os, in the midst of a massive rebuild, are staring another disappointing year in the face, which is saying a lot considering they’ve lost 219 games in the last two years combined.

 A.L. Central:

1) Twins

2) White Sox

3) Indians

4) Royals

5) Tigers

The A.L. Central, home to two of the three worst teams in the A.L. in Detroit and KC, might find a way to look worse in 2019. The Twins, who slugged their way to their first division title since 2010 leading all of baseball in homeruns, will repeat their success in 2020. The White Sox, led by their rising core of Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, and Lucas Giolito, will be the break out team of 2020. The Indians, who, similarly to Boston, are looking to slim payroll, will trade away valuable pieces such as Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber, causing them to slide to third place after just missing the playoffs in 2019. The Royals and Tigers could be interchangeable due to their equal incompetency to win games but Detroit will be the worse of the two, possibly snagging the number one pick.

A.L. West:

1) Astros

2) A’s

3) Angels

4) Rangers

5) Mariners

The Astros dominance of the West, winning their fourth straight division title behind the seemingly unstoppable core of Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Justin Verlander. Despite losing Geritt Cole to free agency they will ride the arms of JV and Zack Greinke to victory. The A’s will finish just short of a division but will put up a good fight, winning 90+ games yet again in a tough American League. The Angels and Rangers will both add this offseason possibly making some big splashes such as Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon but will still manage to be mediocore due to lack of pitching depth, causing Mike Trout to miss yet another October. The Mariners, with their always creative General Manager Jerry Dipoto will improve through trades but they are the last dog at the bowl in a tough division, finishing last for the second straight year. Expect this race to go down to the wire come late September.

N.L. East:

1) Braves

2) Phillies

3) Nationals

4) Mets

5) Marlins

In 2019, the N.L. East probably the most disappointing. What was expected to be a strong four team race between everyone but the Marlins, turned into Atlanta running away with the division whilst the Mets and Phillies failed to win 90 games. However, the Nationals snuck into October and made the most of it, winning the whole thing for the first time in franchise history. The Braves, however, will reign supreme again, behind the strong rotation led by Mike Soroka and Mike Foltynewicz, and a powerful lineup including the likes of Ronald Acuna Jr and Freddie Freeman, who both hit over .290 with 30 bombs. The Phillies will manage to snag second place just behind the Bravos but ahead of the reigning champs in the Nationals riding the bat of Bryce Harper. The Nationals, losing Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman to free agency will struggle to fill the gaps, missing October. The Mets continue to be a mess, burning through another manager and somehow losing with a rotation that stars Jacob Degrom and Noah Syndergaard. They will follow that trend in 2020, not even making the top three in the division. The Marlins will carry on their rebuild, remaining one of the worst teams in baseball again in 2020.

N.L. Central:

1) Cardinals

2) Cubs

3) Brewers

4) Reds

5) Pirates

This division might be the most competitive in all of baseball. For three months of the 2019 season all five teams were within six games of each other, something simply non-existent in today’s baseball world of tanking and super teams. However, in 2020 the Cardinals will come out as division champs for the second straight year, edging out their hated rivals from Chi-town. The Cubs, with their new manager David Ross, will continue to be good, but not good enough as they will miss out on October again in 2020, due to an aging core that isn’t cutting the mustard anymore. The Brewers, who are losing Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas to free agency will regress from 2019 and also miss October. Their heavily used and taxed bullpen and thin starting pitching they refuse to address will be their undoing. The Reds are the opposite, lacking hitting with plenty of pitching in the form of Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Trevor Bauer. The Pirates will begin their rebuild with a new president, general manager, and manager causing a new ideology to take over, which will result in a rough year for the black and yellows.

N.L. West:

1) Dodgers

2) Padres

3) D-Backs

4) Rockies

5) Giants

The Dodgers, who have mauled the West for the past seven years, will continue their dominance, winning their eighth straight division title but will be meet with more resistance in the form of the up and coming Padres, who will utilize their deep farm system, which is second best in Major League Baseball. Youngsters such as Chris Paddack and Fernando Tatis Jr will lead the squad to a wild card berth, breaking their 13-year playoff drought. The Diamondbacks surprised fans last year, sneakily winning 85 games on a low budget payroll, but still missed the playoffs. They will improve but not enough to win a Wild Card spot in a very competitive National League. The Rockies will continue to falter due to a lack of starting pitching, who pitched to a staggering 5.87 ERA last season. The Giants will lose franchise icon Madison Bumgarner and with their aging core, they will have a rough season, possibly being the worst team in the national league.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

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