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Ferguson: Blue Jays stand to benefit from Rays trade

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Scott Ferguson
12/10/2012 11:05:26 AM
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I'm sure you could never get the Blue Jays to admit it, but they've got to be happy, if not ecstatic, about the Rays huge six-player deal with Kansas City Sunday night.

Tampa Bay packaged two veteran starting pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis plus a player to be named later or cash to the Royals for four prospects, outfielder Wil Myers, right hander Jake Odorizza, lefty Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard.

The Royals needed this deal for a couple of reasons. First off, Shields gives them a workhorse ace who routinely gives you 200 inning seasons. Davis is a solid starter capable of being a three or four rotation man. He pitched in middle relief last season simply because the Rays are over loaded with young arms. Number two, K.C. desperately needs to win now. They've lost at least 90 games in eight of the last 10 seasons and they haven't made the post-season since winning the 1985 World  Series over St. Louis after beating the Blue Jays in the ALCS.

The Rays get an outstanding centre field prospect in Myers who turned 22 the day after the trade was completed. He slugged 34 home runs last season split between Double-A and Triple-A and was the consensus minor league Player of the Year. Essentially, he is the replacement for B.J Upton who bolted for Atlanta as a free agent. Myers may be ready and who knows, he could be another Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Then again, he might need more seasoning. There is also no guarantee either of the pitchers picked up in this deal are big league ready either.

The Rays did replenish their farm system and save a bit of money, but anything that cuts into their veteran pitching depth, has to help the Blue Jays, who at this moment look like the strongest team in the American League East.

Kansas City was also supposed to be a player for Mets Cy Young-winning knuckleballer R.A Dickey. If he does get moved, Texas and Toronto would appear to be the top two suitors now.

The Dodgers made the other big move of the weekend. They won the bidding war for Angels free agent right hander Zach Greinke, siging the 29-year-old right hander to a six-year deal worth $147 million. They also signed Korean star lefty Hyun-jin Ryu to a six-year deal worth $36 million. L.A. now has the highest payroll in the majors at $220 million plus and has eight signed starting pitchers.

L.os Angeles, like Kansay City, has something to prove. The Dodgers haven't won a World Series since beating Oakland in 1988. In addition to that, they are battling the Angels for attention in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County area. They've also had to live in the shadows of their greatest rivals, the Giants who've won two of the last three World Series. Their new ownership group featuring the Guggenheims and Magic Johnson and others is trying to erase the memory of the previous owner Frank McCourt, who was threatening to run the organization into the ground.

Did the Dodgers overpay for Greinke? Probably. He's a solid pitcher, but I don't know whether a 91-78 record over nine seasons is enough to merit Greinke becoming the highest paid right hander in history. Makes me wonder what L.A is going to have to fork over to keep lefty Clayton Kershaw, when he becomes eligible for free agency after 2014. Right now at 24 years old,  Kershaw is the better pitcher. You should also note, Greinke has a full opt-out in his contract after three seasons which could make him a free agent again after 2015.

While we're talking crazy money, Boston paid out $39 million over three years to land veteran outfielder Shane Victorino. Victorino is regarded as an all-out player and a tremendous leader on and off the diamond. Just the same, the main cog on that Red Sox roster is second baseman Dustin Pedroia. He embodies every attribute Victorino has and he's three years younger. Pedroia will make $10 million this year and in 2014 and the club has an $11 million option for 2015. When you compare the two, Pedroia is grossly underpaid.

Scott Boras is on of the toughest and one of the best agents in the business, but it was still a bit of a shocker over the weekend to hear that Robinson Cano is concidering leaving the Yankees after next season to test the free agent waters. Cano will make $15 million in 2013, then he could be gone. You think the Dodgers will go after him too?

James Shields (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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