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Rays Trade Rumors: Pearce Inquiries Heating Up

By Althea Pashman
Jul 22, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) fields a ball against the Oakland Athletics in the fifth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 22, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) fields a ball against the Oakland Athletics in the fifth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /
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Due to prolonged injuries, needing versatility along with a productive bat in their lineup, several teams have begun contacting the Tampa Bay Rays on the availability of Steve Pearce.

Not nearly as popular as some of the starting pitchers that the Tampa Bay Rays have to offer as the trade deadline nears the witching hour, but the Cleveland Indians are among several teams that have contacted the Tampa Bay Rays for positional availability among their players.

After a disappointing season with the Baltimore Orioles in 2015 (.218, 15-HR, 40-RBI), the Tampa Bay Rays President of Operations Matt Silverman took a gamble on Steve Pearce that he could return to his breakout season of 2014 when he hit .293 with 23 homers and 49 RBIs.

Another reason for the gamble was that Pearce always enjoyed hitting at Tropicana Field batting .288 with seven home runs, 14 RBIs, five doubles, a .644 slugging percentage and a ridiculous 1.039 OPS over 23 games.

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Signed to a one-year deal worth $4.75 million, Pearce has been the best affordable addition to the Tampa Bay Rays this season, the gamble has definitely paid off.

He has slashed a remarkable .312/.384/.528/.912 through 58 games and comes in with very respectable numbers at Tropicana Field (.297/.327/.515/.842) and has done equally as well on the road (.327/.436/.541/.977)

Pearce earned additional playing time with his solid hitting and production and as well due to the struggling Logan Morrison.

When Logan Forsythe went on the DL, Pearce went from platooning to a regular in the lineup and the hitting never let up.

The Indians seem to be the most interested in Pearce and considering that they negotiated with him this past offseason (prior to signing with the Rays) have been looking for outfield help out apparently for most of the season due to injuries and players suspensions.

According to Peter Gammons of Gammonsdaily.com, the Indians farm system is far from wilting. Cleveland could be a very good trade partner with the Tampa Bay Rays as they appear to have what (pitching and positional prospects) Silverman would require.

If not for a stint on the DL with a strained hamstring last month, his current line of .312 along with his 10 home runs and 29 RBIs would almost certainly be higher.

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He has proven his versatility, playing very capable at first, second, third and the corner outfield and as hit in all situations equally as well.

The one downfall to his career is that he has been often injured and only once in his 10-year career has he managed to play in 100 games or more, limiting his signings to one-year deals the past four years.

With his value being at it’s highest right now, the Tampa Bay Rays would be smart trading him now and getting something in return instead of just letting him go after the season.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays Wrap Up Road Trip against Dodgers

While his production to the Rays is invaluable, so is the fact that his contract expires at the end of the season which is likely to parlay his $4.75 one-year deal upwards toward the $6 million range for 2017.

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