Geovany Soto Ought To Be a Tampa Bay Ray

The Rays need a catcher. The Cubs need a rebuild. Why can't we be friends?

There isn't a place on this team for Geovany Soto, as Rob has pointed out many a time on this blog (you've felt that way since how long, Rob? 2009?). I've been a Soto fan for a long time; he has the potential to be a patient, powerful hitter, at arguably the most premium defensive position on the field. But he's on the wrong side of 27 for a team looking to go for it a few years from now.

The Rays, meanwhile, are in it to win it this year — but it always feels like that team needs bats. They've even said as much recently, or, at least beat writer Marc Tompkin has reported it.

So there's some mutuality going on here. But there are also a couple reasons why a deal might not get done.

The first is probably demand-related. Are the Cubs perhaps too desperate in terms of their need to move Soto, and if so, why should the Rays have to pay much to get him? To this point, I would argue that trading Soto makes a ton of sense, but it's far from a necessary move. For one, to move him now certainly feels like a sell-low. Plus he's worked with a decent number of our pitchers (Demp, Garza, Marmol, Wood, Samardzija even) quite a bit, so there could be some value in helping our pitching stay steady.

The second — and a related — reason is that the Cubs may be thinking about extending Soto. If they believe his value to be deflated, why not lock him up on a multi-year deal now and sign him on the cheap? Of course, there's an obvious reason why extending Soto makes less and less sense each day, and his name is Wellington Castillo. I'm not sure the defense is there yet with Beef Castle, but the bat certainly appears to be.

As long as the Rays have needed more bats, it seems they've had seven or eight young, cost-controlled, talented starting pitchers in their system. Wade Davis and Jeff Neimann are the first two names that come to mind. (Admittedly I haven't checked either player's arb status lately so I may be wrong on the cost control point, but it'd still be nice to see if they could be successful over 150 innings in Wrigley as opposed to the AL East. See: Matt Garza.)

So that seems to make sense, right? Soto for Davis or Neimann?

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  • As I tweeted you yesterday, the Cubs are a bit restricted in the potential trading partners for Soto. Outside of TB, none of the other obvious contenders- at least as we currently see them- have a need @ C. If he could get reasonably hot for a month or two, we could at least feel like we have some strategic advantage. Id prefer Davis over Niemann-assuming they wouldn't try to get lower-level talent.

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    Well currently Soto stinks, so no team is out to get him, unless they're trying to pick him up on the cheap. If that's the case, then the Rays certainly won't send Niemann, a member of their rotation, or Wade, who's just 26 and helping shore up TB's bullpen for a struggling Soto. Keep in mind, the Rays could have traded some of their excess top pitching in the offseason, but opted to stay with the depth. So if they're looking to upgrade, it probably isn't for Soto, and certainly not for such a high price. At best, the Cubs get similar talent to that of the Marlon Byrd trade. A middle relief-type of pitcher and maybe a player to be named later, neither of which have much of a chance of having a big impact now or in the future.

  • At this point in time, Soto's OPS+ is 19. (average is 100. Soriano's is 20). If we traded Soto right now, it would not be to get a return, but simply to get rid of him to give someone else a chance. The Rays are not so desperate as to give us anything resembling good return for him. Epstein and Hoyer need to weigh whether the highest possible return they could get from the best possible functioning Soto (which is like a .230 version) is worth waiting for. Or is the cost of waiting for this return worth the games Soto is losing by himself? His worth for this year thus far is ALREADY more than one entire lost game.

    He is never going to be good again in our uniform. What that means to you? What it means to me - just get rid of him, and let someone else try.

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