Tampa Bay Rays Rumors: Colome, Bautista and Cobb

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

No deals during the GM Meetings for the Tampa Bay Rays, however there was plenty of groundwork laid for potential trades as the off-season continues.

With much speculation leading up to a cut in payroll for next season, Tampa Bay Rays GM Erik Neander spent the majority of this past week’s GM meetings gathering info from potential trade partners as to what their teams needs are and more importantly do they have what the Rays are looking for.

The Rays meanwhile have their off-season “honeydew” list, which includes filling the void at first base, the bullpen, a right-handed hitting outfielder/DH and utility.

Bill Chastain of MLB.com writes the Rays could show interest in free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli, a right-handed power hitter, along with outfielders Austin Jackson, Cameron Maybin and Curtis Granderson.

Additionally, Chastain reports that the Rays could show interest in free agent pitcher Chris Tillman, despite having a down 2017 he says the Rays like signing players on the rebound. As for the bullpen, Dustin McGowan, Jason Motte and Oliver Perez are also potential bullpen arms.

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MLB Columnist Jim Duquette writes that the Rays will show interest in Zack Cozart (SS), Yonder Alonso (1B) and Logan Morrison (1B). He predicts that the Rays will sign switch-hitter Carlos Santana (1B/DH).

Controllable for three more seasons and projected to make $5.5 million via arbitration closer Alex Colome and his team friendly contract is drawing much interest and most notably from the St. Louis Cardinals. Although $5.5 is relatively cheap for the majors leading 2017 closer, Colome is becoming cost-prohibitive for the Rays. The Cardinals are in need of a closer, since they released Trevor Rosenthal following Tommy John surgery; however, Colome is not their only target.

Nevertheless, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network the backend of their bullpen is not their only need and with a surplus of outfielders they could be willing to include Randal Grichuk and or Stephen Piscotty, both right-handed with power in a potential deal.

The need for an outfielder comes about, as it was prevalent that Corey Dickerson’s bat suffered mightily when playing every day, specifically in the second half leading to the conclusion that he is best fitted as a full-time designated hitter. This now brings Jose Bautista back into the equation as a potential right-handed/OF/DH acquisition.

In addition, Morosi reports the Rays are interested in Jose Bautista. Set to make $17.5 million in 2018, the Blue Jays declined Bautista’s option for a mere $500,000 buyout setting up another run in free agency. It was last off-season that the Rays pursued Bautista, hoping to land the one-time power hitting corner outfielder.

However, Bautista decided to return to Toronto on a one-year, $18 million contract and so went the Rays opportunity. However, 2017 for Bautista was horrible, despite hitting 23 home runs with 65 RBIs his line was .203/.308/.366 in 157 games.

Although there have not been any significant talks between the Rays and Bautista, Bautista’s agent Jay Alou told Jon Morosi that Bautista is willing to play corner infield, corner outfield and as well DH.

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Bautista who lives in the Orlando area could benefit from being close to his family, no state tax and playing for a team that is showing sincere interest. However, Bautista needs realize that he cannot command the mega bucks and instead settle on a Rays contract, which could likely be an loaded with incentives.

Since Alex Cobb declined the Rays $17.4 million qualifying offer, he is now officially a free agent and free to sign with any team, which could provide the Rays with a big payday in terms of the MLB Draft in June.

Following the release of the competitive draft rounds by MLB for the June 2018 draft, the Rays own five picks in the 100, and depending on how much Cobb signs for they could gain at least one additional pick, giving them six in total.

Should Cobb sign for more than $50 million, the Rays will get an extra pick at the end of the first round, before the Competitive Balance Round A. Should he sign for less, the Rays would then get a selection after the Competitive Balance Round B, which comes after the second round.

In terms of the 2018 MLB Draft and all the Rays selections, they already own the 16th overall pick by virtue of their record. Additionally, the Rays own the 32nd overall in the Competitive Balance Round A when they were unable to sign Drew Rasmussen last June. Rasmussen was selected with the 31st overall pick.

Moving along in the draft, the Rays also own the 55th overall pick (2nd round) and the 72nd overall pick in the Competitive Balance Round B. Their final selection comes with the 91st overall pick.

Next: Rays Rumors: Could The Rays Make A Run At Jose Bautista?

To understand how the new and complicated qualifying rules apply to each team, read MLB.com Anthony Castrovince article.