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Rays Notes: 40-Man Roster, Trades, Choi, Kiermaier

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A number of groups are dealing with a 40-man roster crunch this winter, with the Rays specifically dealing with numerous robust choices as a result of depth of their gifted farm system.  As such, MLB Community’s Jon Morosi (Twitter links) experiences that the Rays have been “in superior commerce negotiations” and will make a number of offers earlier than Tuesday’s deadline to set 40-man rosters prematurely of the Rule 5 Draft.  The Reds, Cubs, Mets, and Angels are among the many groups who’ve known as the Rays in the hunt for pitching.

Any variety of choices might be on the desk for a Tampa Bay entrance workplace that’s at all times looking for roster and payroll flexibility.  It’s attainable and even seemingly that the Rays won’t swing any main offers, as Tampa may first be exploring the commerce worth of any gamers on the again finish of their 40-man roster.  Earlier than leaving these gamers unprotected or possibly even non-tendering them or designating them for task, the Rays first need to test if something might be obtained in change for these considerably expendable items.

A extra attention-grabbing wrinkle would see the Rays discussing trades involving prospects or part-time gamers who may also be a bit superfluous throughout the group.  Final November, the Rays dealt Louis Head, Mike Brosseau, Brent Honeywell Jr., and Tobias Myers in separate trades within the week previous to the 40-man deadline.  Of that group, solely Brosseau had some success on the MLB degree in 2022, posting some stable numbers in a reserve position with the Brewers.

In fact, the largest headline-grabber for the Rays can be a commerce involving an everyday on their Main League roster, and this risk actually can’t be dominated out given Tampa’s historical past of aggressive deal-making.  The Rays have a really giant arbitration class that they’ve already lowered to “solely” 16 remaining gamers, after buying and selling Ji-Man Choi to the Pirates and parting methods with Nick Anderson and Roman Quinn.  Not one of the arbitration-eligibles are projected to earn really large cash, however each greenback counts for the budget-conscious Rays, and Yandy Diaz ($5.4MM in projected wage), Ryan Yarbrough ($4.2MM) and Randy Arozarena ($4MM) are the costliest of the bunch.

Yonny Chirinos is projected for $1.6MM and Shawn Armstrong for $1.4MM, and people two hurlers stand out since Morosi reported earlier this week that the Rays had been discussing Chirinos, Armstrong, and Yarbrough throughout the GM Conferences.  It isn’t recognized if the Reds, Angels, Cubs, or Mets had been targeted on any of this trio specifically, however any of these pitchers might be potential suits for groups with rotation or bullpen wants.  Chirinos might carry probably the most intrigue, because the right-hander pitched effectively in 2018-19 earlier than accidents (a Tommy John surgical procedure and a fractured elbow) restricted him to only 18 1/3 MLB innings because the begin of the 2020 marketing campaign.

Choi’s projected $4.5MM wage actually performed a job in his transfer to Pittsburgh, and the Rays had been recognized to be speaking to extra than simply the Pirates in regards to the first baseman.  Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times experiences that the Padres and Astros additionally had some curiosity, with Houston revisiting their curiosity in Choi from previous to the commerce deadline.

The Astros ended up including Trey Mancini to bolster themselves at first base, however since Mancini and Yuli Gurriel are each free brokers, it is sensible that the Astros would once more test in on a previous goal.  Likewise, the Padres have a necessity at first base with Josh Bell hitting the open market.  Choi is scheduled at no cost company himself subsequent winter and thus in all probability wouldn’t have been seen a longer-term add for both staff, or perhaps a full-time choice.  Both Houston or San Diego may need opted to only play Choi in opposition to right-handed pitching.

Additionally from Topkin’s notes column, he had an attention-grabbing wrinkle to the top of Kevin Kiermaier’s tenure in Tampa Bay.  There was little question that the Rays had been going to purchase out Kiermaier for $2.5MM relatively than train his $13MM membership choice for 2023, but Kiermaier mentioned that he heard an unknown staff had some talks with the Rays a few veritable sign-and-trade deal.  On this situation, the Rays would have exercised the membership choice after which swapped Kiermaier to this thriller staff.

Provided that Kiermaier is coming off a season shortened by hip surgical procedure, it doesn’t appear seemingly that the opposite membership would’ve been too eager to surrender an asset to soak up that complete $13MM contract.  It’s extra possible that the opposite staff maybe provided one other undesirable contract in return to assist offset the fee, or possibly had Kiermaier concerned as half of a bigger commerce bundle.  In any case, the Rays weren’t , and most popular to only decline the choice — maybe with an eye fixed in the direction of re-signing Kiermaier at a lower cost.

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