Mailbag questions 5/8

In our first edition of "Mailbag Questions", the Rays Digest answers several questions about the Devil Rays from across the nation.

Why haven't the Devil Rays traded any of their outfielders for either proven starting pitchers or top pitching prospects? Do they really need Baldelli?


Atlanta, GA

RaysDigest- Kevin, this has been a pretty common question over the past couple of months. Clearly, the Rays have a surplus of talented outfielders. The scenario you asked about makes a lot of sense, but as of right now, it does not seem like any deal will happen in the near future. Carl Crawford and Delmon Young are untouchable in my eyes. Baldelli and Elijah Dukes could both give the Rays a great return on investment. No team is ever willing to give up proven starting pitching unless they receive an offer they just can't refuse. There should be more talk about this issue as the Trade Deadline approaches later in the summer, but no deals are on the horizon as of yet.

Who do you think has a better career ahead of them: Scott Kazmir or James Shields?


St. Petersburg, FL

RaysDigest- As a lefty, Kazmir has a huge advantage over Shields. I am very high on Shields and I think he is off to a great start this year, but Kazmir has the potential to reach a Johan Santana level one day. One could make the case that if Kazmir was playing for a contender the past few seasons, he could have multiple 20 win seasons under his belt already. Also, I have seen a lot more of Kazmir and his stuff is outstanding when he is really dealing. Shields also should have a great career. Hopefully both pitchers will reach their prime together for the Devil Rays.

Is Ben Zobrist another Kevin Stocker? Is the Zobrist deal a waste for Aubrey Huff? Where is Stocker these days anyways?


Orlando, FL

RaysDigest- I can see the similarities between the two shortstops. Stocker hit .299 in 254 at bats in his final season with the Rays in 1999, but only .208 as the everyday shortstop the year before. His biggest year came in 1993 when he helped the Philadelphia Phillies reach the World Series after a late season call up. However, Stocker is best known to Rays fans as the player given up for Bobby Abreu prior to the inaugural season in 1998.

Over a full season, Zobrist would probably put up similar numbers to the stats (.254 4 HR 47 RBIS) that Stocker averaged over a 8 year big league career.

In terms of the Zobrist trade, I think Mitch Talbot is going to be the most valuable player to the Rays from that deal in the long term. The Rays did not give up an Abreu type player in Huff either. Regardless, Huff would not have resigned with Tampa Bay in the winter anyways. With Reid Brignac on the way as the answer to SS, how Talbot develops is going to be the final indicator of how strong of a trade that was for the Devil Rays.

Stocker is currently a college baseball analyst for College Sports Television Network and will be covering the upcoming Regional tournaments.

Who are the Rays going to select with their first round pick in the upcoming draft?


Nashville, TN

RaysDigest- As a Nashville native, I am sure you have heard of star Vanderbilt LHP David Price. Price, who has an 8-0 record with a 2.77 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 97 1/3 innings, is projected by nearly every scouting agency as the front runner to be selected with the first overall pick. Since the Rays own the first pick, Price should be in the Rays organization sometime this summer.

You will probably be able to watch the 6'6 lefty pitch in the upcoming college baseball coverage on ESPN and ESPN 2 because the Commodores could be on their way to their first ever College World Series. There was a great article on Price from the network a few weeks back. Check it out. Also, the first four hours of the MLB draft will be shown live on ESPN 2 on June 7th. 2007 marks the first year that the MLB draft will be televised. Do you have a question about the Devil Rays? E-mail your question to and your question will be answered in the next round of "Mailbag Questions".

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