Written by Daniel Paulling
Published: 30 July 2007
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were quite busy on Saturday, adding the talented reliever Dan Wheeler and a couple of minor league arms in two separate deals. They lost utility infielder Ty Wigginton and second baseman Jorge Cantu to the Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds, respectively.
The Devil Rays Haul
To upgrade an absolutely atrocious bullpen, the Devil Rays acquired Wheeler. He was a good setup man from 2004-06 and saved a few games for the Astros in place of Brad Lidge this season. While he has been hit a little bit this season, Wheeler should be a welcome bridge to closer Al Reyes.
In their deal with Cincinnati, the Devil Rays acquire right hander Calvin Medlock and left hander Brian Shackelford. Both are minor league relief pitchers. Medlock has good control, but needs to improve his GB:FB ratio, if he is to become a worthwhile relief pitcher in the major leagues. Shackelford probably does not have much of a chance to contribute to a major league bullpen, unless he develops in quite a hurry. He was drafted as an outfielder before being converted to the mound.
The Astros Haul
The Astros bring in Wigginton, who has found himself in Tampa Bay. Making good on promise he had when coming up with the New York Mets, Wigginton hit .275 with 24 home runs. This year, he was hitting .275 again and had 16 home runs. He can play first, second, and third base, which should be valuable for an Astros team desperate for offense.
The Reds Haul
Back in 2005, Cantu had a remarkable season, putting up a .286/28/117 batting line. The Devil Rays kept him, despite the huge strikeout numbers that hinted Cantu would not continue to be that good. He’ll probably provide the Reds a bat off the bench and get some time at first, second, and third. His defensive prowess, however, is unremarkable: one scout said that Cantu is the worst fielding infielder in the major leagues. They also acquire a raw Class AA outfielder named Shaun Cumberland.
Wheeler’s value stays the same. He’ll steal a few saves from Reyes, just as he did to Lidge. It is doubtful there are many owners who still have him, however. Both Medlock and Shackelford offer no fantasy value. It looks like the Devil Rays have settled on their infield of the future with first baseman Carlos Pena, second baseman B.J Upton, shortstop Brendan Harris, and third baseman Akinori Iwamura.
Wigginton should get more at bats in Houston than he did with Tampa Bay, and he should continue his good season.
Cantu strikes out too often and should not get enough playing time to be considered valuable fantasy player, while Cumberland is not worth a spot in any keeper league team’s minor leagues.
The Final Word
The Devil Rays added a bullpen arm they desperately needed, but at the big price of Wigginton. That deal seems to benefit both sides, however. They traded next-to-nothing to the Reds and acquired the same in return. Both deals seem fair, and this cleaning house helps alleviate logjams at several positions for the Devil Rays.
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