Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, listen to Rays GM Andrew Friedman act like he didn’t just totally rip off Dayton Moore and the Royals:
“Personally I think this is the most difficult trade we’ve made to date. Both guys were drafted and developed here, they’ve been key players in this organization’s turnaround and they’re both really high-quality people. It’s a painful loss for our club, but I’m confident in our resilience and the talent that will be returning to the field next season.”
We’ll try to carry on …somehow.
Rays pitcher David Price played it more dramatic on Twitter right after the trade was announced:
Now, I do not think that Price is playing some “let’s make it sound fair” P.R. game like Friedman is. As Shields’ and Davis’ teammate, he is likely sad to see them go, and veteran players are always genuinely partial to their veteran teammates.
That said, Price knew that Shields was on the block for a long time and likely made his peace with that a while ago. And of course, he will be signing the praises of his new teammates a week into spring training, if not sooner. Meanwhile, he is well-aware that this frees up money for the Rays to either (a) actually give him a long term deal; or (b) more likely, serve as a slightly more plausible competitor in the market to those teams who truly are willing to give him a long term deal.
More broadly, you will be hard pressed to find actual baseball people who don’t think the Rays fleeced the Royals — snap polling certainly indicates that — and Friedman and Price likely share that sentiment privately even if manners and class dictate that they don’t say so publicly.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.