It was a bit of a surprise that the Tampa Bay Rays had traded first baseman Casey Gillaspie to the Chicago White Sox for Dan Jennings. However, he had become expendable in the Rays system.
Heading into the 2017 season, Casey Gillaspie was considered one of the Tampa Bay Rays top prospects. Their fifth ranked prospect in the preseason, Gillaspie seemed as though he would be a part of the Rays future, even though fellow top prospect Jake Bauers was also a first baseman. As Bauers can also play in the outfield, the idea was that both players could coexist in the lineup.
As the 2017 season progressed, Gillaspie struggled. In his first full season with the Durham Bulls, Gillaspie produced a .227/.296/.357 batting line. While he still displayed a decent amount of power, with 15 doubles and nine homers, this is not the season that the Rays had envisioned for one of their top prospects.
Unsurprisingly, Gillaspie has fallen down the ranks. He had dropped down to being the Rays tenth best prospect, having been left behind by Bauers. With the selection of Brendan McKay in the first round, and Gillaspie being a first base only prospect, his future with the Rays was uncertain at best.
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While one could argue that the Rays sold low on Gillaspie, he had become an expendable piece in the minors. In flipping him for Dan Jennings, the Rays were able to get that lefty reliever that they badly needed. Jennings is also under team control through 2020, a key factor in any Rays move. The only possible concern would be if Jennings names himself manager of the Rays.
Meanwhile, Gillaspie may be in a situation where he can get a chance at the major league level. Jose Abreu is currently blocking him at first for the White Sox, but it would not be a surprise if he ends up becoming a designated hitter. Gillaspie is still considered a decent defensive player, with solid footwork around the bag. If the White Sox look to get Abreu time off the diamond, or if he gets traded, Gillaspie could have a long look in Chicago.
Casey Gillaspie had become expendable with the Tampa Bay Rays. In exchange for his services, the Rays received another long term piece, getting the lefty reliever they needed.