The Rays might not be active this offseason in the free agent market, but they definitely have a chance to make some blockbuster deals. The Rays have depth at starting pitcher like no other team in baseball. They also have a struggling center fielder who many teams will still give a pretty large bounty for. For part three of the Rays Colored Glasses Offseason Preview, let’s take a look at the Rays trade candidates.
Rays Offseason Trade Candidates
- BJ Upton- Bossman Junior is an obvious trade candidate for the Rays. He was rumored to be going to the Nationals last offseason. Then the Indians and Giants joined the party at the trade deadline. Will this offseason finally be the time BJ leaves the Rays? He remains adamant that he wants to remain a Ray. But is a change in scenery what he really needs to live up to his potential? Teams like the Nationals and Indians will still give the Rays a big package for Upton thinking all he needs is that change in scenery to become the player many people think he can be. The Nationals are an interesting trade partner. They have Major-League ready depth at catcher and first base, two positions the Rays desperately need. Could the Rays and Nationals finally hook up for the betterment of both teams?
- James Shields- Big Game James is another guy that was strongly connected to trade rumors this trade deadline. While many of us would hate to see Shieldsy leave, the package he could return would be incredible. The Reds and Yankees both look to be teams that could make strong plays at Shields. If the Rays are really looking to trade him, teams will come calling to get their hat in the ring for one of the best starters in baseball. The Rays are one of the few teams that can trade a guy of Shields caliber and still have one of the best rotations in baseball. They are just that deep. The Rays have a chance to fill some major voids by trading Shields, and while I would hate to see him go, it could make the team so much better by making a deal.
- Any starting pitcher not named Price, Hellickson, or Moore- Beyond Shields, I think anybody is on the table other than David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, or Matt Moore. Sure, many teams won’t want Alex Cobb due to his injury, but beyond him, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Alex Torres could all go. At this point the Rays have eight Major League ready starters. They could safely trade two and be good to go with a great rotation for next year plus a backup if somebody goes down. Shields and Davis or Niemann could go and I would be happy heading into next year. They have to figure something out, whether it be trade or moving somebody to the bullpen. They just have too much talent that cannot rot in Durham anymore.
The Rays have so many possibilities for trades this offseason. This could prove to be the busiest hot stove season for Rays fans yet. Which, if any, starters will not be in a Rays uniform next season? Will BJ Upton finally be moved? What can James Shields bring in? Those are all questions that could be answered before pitchers and catchers report in February.