Monday, November 23, 2015

If the Rays Keep Selling…

The Tampa Bay Rays started the offseason off by sending right-handed pitcher Nathan Karns and CJ Riefenhauser to the Seattle Mariners for a package revolving around Brad Miller but the Tampa Bay GM may not be done there. According to Marc Topkin of the Rays may not be done there and they may be in the market to sell off another starting pitcher or more, well a starting pitcher not named Chris Archer anyway. I know this is extremely unlikely, a team trading to a division rival they are in direct competition with inside the American League East Division, but if the Rays keep selling hopefully Brian Cashman is calling and hopefully Brian Cashman is buying.

Money is the ultimate motivating factor for Tampa Bay so having pitchers with question marks and health concerns surrounding them may move to the top of the trade list for the Rays. Players like LHP Drew Smyly who battled shoulder issues for much of the 2015 season and comes attached to around $4 million in salary through arbitration. Players like LHP Matt Moore who will make $5 million in salary in the final season of his deal before three team options kick in. Moore missed a significant chunk of the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and struggled with his command upon his return. Speaking of Tommy John surgery Alex Cobb should be back on the mound from the UCL ligament replacement surgery around August if there aren’t any setbacks.

Outside of the rotation the team could trade first baseman James Loney to one of the many teams that will miss out on Chris Davis on the free agency market. The team could also look at trading Brad Boxberger, although the team would have to be blown away since he is still relatively effective and on the cheaper side. Tampa has plenty of moveable contracts and attractive pieces that they could literally do as they pleased this winter. Any and all of these moves could open the door for a short-term deal with a veteran such as Rich Hill and could also open the door for top prospects LHP Blake Snell and RHP’s Taylor Guerrieri and Jacob Faria.

The Yankees would obviously have little interest in Boxberger, Loney or Cobb (unless it was essentially a salary dump which Tampa won’t do) but you have to think that either Moore or Smyly would at least interest Brian Cashman somewhat. I’m not saying a deal is going to get made, and I’m especially not saying it’s going to involve the New York Yankees, but what I am saying is that if the conversations are happening I hope Cashman is at least on the conference call list. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)