The 2016 trade deadline was one of the most active deadlines in recent memory. There were plenty of moving parts with teams looking to October and some looking to the future. One particular trade of interest is the trade the Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants matched up on. Let’s take a look how both teams came out of the trade.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have been searching for their next young pitcher to join an aging rotation. There was a time the Giants had a young crop of pitchers coming through their system like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and of course their current ace Madison Bumgarner. In this trade the Giants have found a 27-year-old left-hander in Matt Moore, who is signed through this season with club options for 2017-2019 on a very team friendly contract, originally five years for $14 million.
As for the current season, Moore has had a below average to average year in terms of ERA- (100) and FIP- (108). He joins a rotation that is 6th in ERA and FIP at 3.72 and 3.77, respectively. Also, in RA9-WAR, they are 9th in the league and 5th in the National League with a 9.1 RA9-WAR. However, he does give the Giants another young arm with potential down the stretch and potentially a fourth starter come playoff time.
After 2016, according to Cot’s Contracts, the Giants have a rotation of Madison Bumgarner signed through 2019 (with options), Johnny Cueto signed through 2021 with an option for 2022, Jeff Samardzija signed through 2020, Matt Cain signed through 2017 with an option for 2018, and now Matt Moore through potentially 2019. This sets them up for a very solid rotation for the next 3-5 years, and it cost them Matt Duffy, shortstop Lucius Fox, and pitcher Michael Santos.
Tampa Bay Rays
At first glance, one would question why the Tampa Bay Rays would acquire a young third baseman when they already have Evan Longoria, but Matt Duffy has plenty of potential and is only 25 years old. Already word has come down that Duffy will be playing shortstop for Tampa when he returns from his achilles injury. Duffy had a breakout season in 2015 with a 116 wRC+ and 4.9 fWAR in his first full season. He has a 88 wRC+ and 1.2 fWAR so far in 2016 at the time of his injury. When he returns he will look to turn his season around and give Tampa a long-term option at shortstop. Duffy is under team control through 2020, and if he develops the way most envision then Tampa will have a special left side of the infield with Duffy and Longoria.
Lucius Fox and Michael Santos will immediately vault into the top prospect conversation in the Tampa Bay system. According to mlb.com, after this trade Fox becomes the 7th top prospect in the Rays system and Santos becomes the 30th top prospect. MLB.com’s scouting report has this to say on Fox:
The best athlete in the 2015 international class, Fox has plus-plus speed and three more tools that should be at least solid. A switch-hitter with a line-drive stroke, he has the approach and the wheels to become a leadoff hitter and prolific basestealer. He won't be a homer threat but he does have some strength and can drive some balls to the gaps.
Fox's range, quick hands and arm fit easily at shortstop. Some scouts don't love his middle-infield actions and think he'll fit better in center field, though the Giants believed he could stay at short, lauding his ability to learn quickly.
You can never have enough talent up the middle, and the Rays may have added another piece of talent up the middle if Fox develops the way he can. He currently is in Single-A with a slash line of .207/.305/.277 in his first professional season. Santos has had a better season in Single-A than Fox, as he has a 2.22 FIP and opponents are hitting .263 in 58.2 innings. Santos is a raw talent with an advanced ability for a pitcher that is only 21 years old who if all breaks right may have a ceiling as a mid-back of the rotation starter.
In the short term, the Giants may win this deal, especially if they can add another World Series trophy to their already impressive collection since 2010. However, in the long run, the Tampa Bay Rays may make out quite well if Duffy performs to his 2015 ability and even if only one of Fox or Santos develops to their ceiling.
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Carl Triano is a contributor at Beyond the Box Score and Minor League Ball.