The Tampa Bay Rays have already made two trades in the young offseason, with Jeremy Hellickson being dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cesar Ramos going to the Los Angeles Angels. Though it might not have been the entire motivation behind both of those two deals, they did come with the benefit of clearing 40-man roster spots. The Rays needed that, as they have a plethora of prospects that they must protect from the Rule 5 draft.
Now, on the day of the deadline to protect those players (at midnight), the Rays may be making one last push to open up a 40-man spot or two by a trade. As Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports, the Rays have been in trade talks with the Texas Rangers, and they have even gotten to the point where the teams have exchanged medicals. He does go on to say that he is unsure if a deal is being completed, but at the very least, the two teams have had serious talks.
Of the players that remain on the Rays 40-man roster, a few could be of interest to the Rangers that the Rays would be willing to part with. The Rangers need outfield help after the Shin-Soo Choo deal did not work out in their first season, Leonys Martin had an underwhelming year in center, and Michael Choice failed to establish himself. This brings into play any of the Rays outfielders, with Matt Joyce and David DeJesus being the two most likely trade candidates. Desmond Jennings or Kevin Kiermaier could also be in play, but talks for those two would likely be much more long and drawn out than an attempt to clear a 40-man spot on deadline day.
After having plenty of injuries in 2014 and being forced to give playing time to some young players that were not likely ready, the Rangers could emphasize adding depth this offseason. Sean Rodriguez‘s versatility could given them a potential fill-in at almost every position on the diamond. The Rays also would not have much of a problem dealing him.
Another intriguing name could be Mike Montgomery. The Rangers’ rotation struggled in 2014, both with performance and health. In fact, none of their starters made more than 29 starts. Montgomery, at the least, can provide an innings-eater at the back of a bullpen or in a swingman/depth role, but he has upside to do a bit more. That said, he is facing an uphill battle to crack the Rays’ roster in 2015, so they could be willing to deal him.
Whether a deal can be made, be it for one of the players mentioned above or another Rays’ player, we know the Rays are at least trying to clear another 40-man roster spot before tonight’s deadline. We will have to wait and see if that happens, but in the coming hours we could see the Rays third trade of the offseason.