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Initially, Tampa Bay Rays vice president of operations Andrew Friedman wasn't planning on dealing two pitchers away.
However, to get what he wanted, he made the extra sacrifice.
"Personally I think this is the most difficult trade we've made to date," Friedman said. "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."
The talent Friedman is referring to was good enough to win 90 games last season and do so with an offense that was inconsistent at best. Now, he has a potential power bat that could impact that offense for years to come.
In addition, dealing Shields and Davis frees up approximately $11.8 million—money that Friedman can now use to add complementary pieces to his offense.
The Rays' farm system was already considered pretty good—ESPN had it ranked second last year. Not only has Friedman added on to a stellar system, but he did it with pieces that could impact the team next season and for years to come.
Dealing James Shields was indeed a blow to a stellar rotation. However, David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Jeff Niemann still presents as an outstanding top four, and Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Odorizzi, Alex Colome and others give the Rays an exciting future as rotation options as well.
Any trade that takes place is tough to analyze—it oftentimes takes years to give a proper assessment of the true take on the merits of the trade itself. In this case, the same applies. But at first glance, it appears the Rays got the upper hand.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.