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RCG Mailbag: Have Tampa Bay Rays Improved Their Future This Offseason?

By Robbie Knopf
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Sep 28, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Sean Rodriguez (1) celebrates his home run during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

12/1/14: Tampa Bay Rays trade Sean Rodriguez to Pittsburgh Pirates for PTNBL (eventually Buddy Borden)

The Rays certainly save more cash here, but couldn’t they use Rodriguez right now? Tim Beckham is currently set to make their major league roster instead of him, which may be a downgrade, and the Rays’ need Rodriguez’ hitting versus lefties and ability to play shortstop more than ever now.

However, keeping Rodriguez would have meant that the Rays left another player off their 40-man roster. In all probability, Grayson Garvin would have been the guy and would have been subsequently selected in the Rule 5 Draft. The Rays will continue to develop Garvin as a starter, but he has a stuff and pitchability to be a big league lefty specialist now, so he easily could have stuck with his new team.

Aside from that, the Rays have also since signed Juan Francisco, who is Rodriguez only left-handed with less versatility and more power. The Rays probably need a David DeJesus trade away to get him on the roster, but if they execute such a deal, Rodriguez would probably be out of a job anyway.

Finally, who says that Beckham or a minor league signing couldn’t do everything Rodriguez does for less? Rodriguez would have the opportunity to play some shortstop next season after playing there extremely sparingly in recent years, but that’s about the only thing working in his favor.

Borden, meanwhile, needs work on his secondary pitches, but stood out for his fastball that touched 96 MPH. He is set for High-A next season. At the end of the day, the Rays improved their future in this trade between keeping Garvin and getting Borden, and they lost basically nothing from their 2015 effort.

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