Rays Rumors

Tampa Bay Rays: Interested in D-Backs Ahmed, Ramirez Rumors Heating Up

By Althea Pashman
Mar 12, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) throws a pitch in the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) throws a pitch in the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Duffy’s slow recovery from offseason surgery and available pitching depth, rumors indicate that the Tampa Bay Rays could make a deal.

The Tampa Bay Rays are miffed in the slow recovery of Matt Duffy’s heal, who was expected to be ready for prime time by the time the season opened. However, Duffy’s surgically repaired heel has them scratching their heads as to why and is seeking answers.

With Opening Day a week away, it’s almost a given that Duffy will begin the season on the disabled list, as he has yet to appear in any Grapefruit League action, let alone participate in any baseball related activities or run.

In the interim, Tim Beckham the once forgotten man has turned in a stellar spring training performance will open the season at shortstop in place of Duffy. This situation will leave the Rays somewhat shorthanded, though internal options are available – however, not necessarily the route the Rays want to take.

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The Rays have concerns regarding second baseman Brad Miller’s inept abilities to hit left-handed pitching and it was expected that Beckham would platoon with Miller when facing a left-hander.

True, that the feasible internal options are Nick Franklin and or rookie Daniel Robertson but they are not the long-term answers, if Duffy’s return is longer than expected.

However, what is an option is trading from where the Rays have the most depth and according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports Erasmo Ramirez is the strongest candidate to be traded, which was first mentioned by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. This now brings this latest rumor to the front burner.

According to The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro, the Rays are showing interest in shortstop Nick Ahmed of the Arizona Diamondbacks who are listening to offers. Not known for his offense, Ahmed is a solid shortstop and would certainly be the stopgap defensively until Duffy returns, allowing Beckham to return as Miller’s platoon mate.

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Ahmed fits most of the Rays qualifications in that he is team controllable through 2020, is very affordable and has two minor league options remaining. However, he is coming off season-ending hip surgery that took place in August.

The questions though would the DBacks take Ramirez and his $3.2 million salary for the 27-year-old Ahmed and is giving up Ramirez worth more than Ahmed in return?

From what has been said specifically from Piecoro, Arizona is listening to offers for reliever Enrique Burgos, in order to clear a 40-man roster spot. As a side note, the DBacks optioned Burgos to Triple-A Reno on last Friday.

Ramirez, despite his salary could start or come out of the bullpen for the DBacks – two areas in which the team needs significant help. In 2016, the DBacks bullpen owned an ERA of 4.93, the fourth worst in the majors and their only upgrade, if this can be considered an upgrade to the bullpen, was the addition of Fernando Rodney.

Next: Rays Becoming Frustrated with Matt Duffy's Heel

Although there has been no mention of what teams are interested in Ramirez, I am speculating that San Francisco could call the Rays any day.  Reports coming out of Giants camp in Scottsdale are that reliever Will Smith’s season could be over before it starts due to possible ligament damage.

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