Teams swap first-round disappointments

By Jim Callis
April 8, 2005

In a final acknowledgement that their $3 million investment in Bobby Seay didn’t work out, the Devil Rays designated him for assignment on April 2 and traded him Friday. Tampa Bay sent him to the Rockies for outfielder Reggie Taylor, another failed first-round pick.

A 26-year-old lefthander, Seay went 12th overall to the White Sox in the 1996 draft. Chicago didn’t tender him an official contract within 15 days of the draft, as mandated by baseball rules. Major League Baseball declared him free to sign with any club after he filed a grievance, making him the first of the four loophole free agents from the 1996 draft. (Travis Lee, John Patterson and Matt White were the others.) The Devil Rays got more out of the $3 million they gave Seay than the $10.2 million they paid White, but it still wasn’t much: a 1-1, 3.63 record over 45 games and 45 innings in the majors. Seay split last year between Triple-A Durham (2-1, 1.72 in 29 games) and Tampa Bay (0-0, 2.38 in 21 appearances). Seay has two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, but his inconsistent control and command have undermined him. He stalled as a minor league starter before becoming a full-time reliever in late 2001, though he still has fallen short of expectations. Seay joins Brian Fuentes and Javier Lopez as lefties in the Colorado bullpen.

Taylor, 28, was the 14th overall pick in the 1995 draft by the Phillies. He’s the classic gifted athlete who lacks baseball skills. Taylor has power and speed and plays a fine center field, but poor plate discipline has prevented him from ever producing consistently at the plate. Before signing with the Rockies as a minor league free agent last December, he split 2004 between two Triple-A clubs, Louisville (a Reds affiliate) and Charlotte (White Sox), hitting .274/.330/.486 with 20 homers, 54 RBIs and 21 steals in 119 games. He spent all of 2002 and 2003 in the majors with Cincinnati, and has career totals of .233/.275/.386 with 14 homers, 57 RBIs and 19 steals in 249 big league games. Tampa Bay assigned Taylor to Triple-A Durham.