Why The Rays Are Trading Myers & Hanigan
For a team that likes to ball on a budget, it raises a few eyebrows when they are on the precipice of trading away a player two years from arbitration and five seasons from free agency. In most cases, these are the types of players the Rays have wanted to acquire via trade, but multiple reports have the Rays close to trading away Wil Myers and possibly Ryan Hanigan.
The burning question is, why now?
Myers has had just 734 plate appearances with Tampa Bay around his wrist injury and the team’s clock management of him. In that time, he has a .315 wOBA and a .258/.324/.400 slash line, both of which failed to meet the expectations of the former top prospect. We first saw some of Myers’s flaws in the 2014 ALDS with his fielding in Fenway and then his approach at the plate during that postseason. Those flaws never really went away in 2014 as Myers never made the necessary adjustments at the plate to the approach teams used against him and his fielding and throwing in 2014 did not meet the expectations he came over with from Kansas City. There were whispers around the club throughout the 2014 season that Myers didn’t “get it” and was not applying himself to his craft, which was further echoed in a September quote he provided to Marc Topkin:
“Last year I came into spring training wanting to prove to everybody, wanting to prove to a new team what I can do,” Myers said. “And this year I kind of came into spring training thinking I had already arrived and didn’t really work as hard as I should have, like I did the year before.”
Even if Myers was not interested in signing a pre-agency deal to control his future costs and possibly a year or two of free agency, the need to trade him would still be at least two seasons away. The fact that he has been on the block for weeks and very close to becoming a San Diego Padre speaks to the concerns the team has about his long-term potential.
Hanigan’s case is more straight forward. He came to the Rays known for his defense, but also with a suspect health history. The injuries once again popped up on him and he looked more like a secondary catcher than one that would shoulder 100+ games a season. He is due just over $8M over the next two seasons (with his final option being bought out), so the Rays’ interest in Rene Rivera is natural. Rivera is also known for his defensive abilities, is not an empty stick, and just entered his first year of arbitration.