Tampa Bay Rays Keeping an Eye on the Future

By David Hill
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 19: Daniel Robertson
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 19: Daniel Robertson /

Danny Espinosa is not likely to be a long term piece for the Tampa Bay Rays. However, by signing the utility player, the Rays are keeping an eye on their future.

On its own, the Tampa Bay Rays acquisition of Danny Espinosa made sense. He had been a solid run producer in the past, with four seasons with double digit homers. In addition to that pop, Espinosa has also spent time as a utility player, providing solid defense in both middle infield positions, while being capable of playing third or the outfield in a pinch.

However, the Rays decision to add Espinosa to the roster was not without casualties. To make room for the veteran, the Rays sent rookie Daniel Robertson down to AAA Durham. In theory, the move will allow Robertson to get more consistent playing time, especially with the Bulls heading to the postseason. Considering that Robertson has managed just 228 plate appearances this season, having a few weeks of added playing time could help in the long term.

Depending on how long the Bulls last in the postseason, this signing could make a tremendous difference into the next decade. As Marc Topkin pointed out, the Rays can add another year of team control if Robertson remains in the minors for 20 days. This would make the potential future utility player a free agent after 2023, instead of 2022.

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Such a move absolutely makes sense for the Rays. As Robertson had produced a .211/.302/.340 batting line with five homers and six doubles, he has not exactly forced a reprieve. Likewise, a stint in Durham, where he gets regular at bats, could get his offense on track.

Robertson is also not far removed from being a former top prospect. Heading into the 2015 campaign, he was a consensus top 100 prospect, one of the better players in the Rays system. Should he be able to recapture that standing, and become a productive major leaguer, the Rays would own his rights for another year. Given their financial situation, that added year of team control could be quite important.

Next: Rays trying to replace Beckham

The Tampa Bay Rays are looking at the future, even while considering the present. The way they are handling Daniel Robertson is proof.