For some time, the Rays have approached prospect valuation similarly to other small market clubs like Pittsburgh. The short version is that Tampa has valued their prospects more highly than almost any other club because their small payroll means cheap contributors are worth more because they have the least to spend. In recent years, they have also led the farm system rankings and had among the deepest 40-man rosters, causing them to trade valuable prospects like Nick Solak and
Jesús Sánchez due to these two pressures. This dynamic was also clearly at work in last week’s Matthew Liberatore trade.
Adding cheap, controllable major league talent to one of the best teams in baseball is key to the Rays both being better when their present competitive window is open and allowing the team to keep players who they’ve helped improve and create value, thus avoiding the same fate as they did with Avisaíl García. García signed a one-year make-good deal for 2019 for $3.5 million guaranteed; he then made good and got $20 million from the Brewers.
Liberatore is among the top 100 prospects in baseball and one of a dozen or so pitching prospects with frontline potential, but he was…