Ryan Roberts is a solid major league player. He has spent the majority of his major league career split between second and third base, but can play in left field in a pinch. Roberts has a decent amount of pop and some speed, just missing a 20/20 season in 2011 when he hit 19 home runs and stole 18 bases. He may not hit for a high average, but is far from an automatic out, and hits left handed pitching well. In short, Roberts is the sort of player that can fill a useful bench role on a contender, and likely start on a team without much in the way of playoff aspirations.
The problem, for Roberts at least, is that the Rays already have a slightly more versatile and better version of him in Sean Rodriguez, which makes him fairly redundant. Thus, he finds himself toiling away at Durham, despite having a two home run game on Monday, waiting for either rosters to expand or for an injury to open a spot in Tampa.
However, there are several contending teams that could use a piece like Roberts, particularly in the American League East. The Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles could all potentially use a player such as Roberts for their teams, and in different capacities. The Orioles could use a second baseman that has something resembling the capability to be a potential threat on offense, and be less brittle than wet newspaper. The Yankees need major league talent at this point, as their lineup, aside from Robinson Cano, has been essentially held together with string and duct tape. But, at least the Yankees lineup would have been solid in 2004. The Red Sox have been linked in trade rumors for Michael Young, but Roberts may be someone they take a look at if the Phillies determine that they are not sellers at the deadline.
Making a trade within the division, especially one that is likely to be as hotly contested as the American League East, may not be considered to be the best course of action. This is especially true considering the Rays have playoff aspirations of their own, and may end up negotiating with a team they could end up competing with for a postseason berth. However, Roberts may be most valuable to teams within the division, and the return would matter.
Ryan Roberts is still a serviceable major league part. Do not be surprised if his name comes up in trade rumors, even within the division, soon.