The Tampa Bay Rays swapped pitchers on Thursday afternoon with the Arizona Diamondbacks, trading Brad Boxberger for minor league pitcher Curtis Taylor.
It did not take long for the Tampa Bay Rays to start making moves this off-season. Per the Diamondbacks‘ Twitter Account, the Rays traded reliever Brad Boxberger to Arizona for minor league pitcher Curtis Taylor.
The Southern California product came over in a trade with the San Diego Padres in 2014. In four seasons with the Rays, Boxberger pitched in 189 games and collected 43 saves in 57 chances.
Boxberger pitched in only 30 games this season after missing over two months with a right flexor strain. In his time on the hill, he was effective out of the Rays’ bullpen. Boxberger held hitters to a .215 batting average and finished with an ERA of 3.38 in 29.1 innings.
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While he was effective for the better part of his career in with the Rays, 2015 was the highlight year for Boxberger. In his second year with the Rays since being traded by the Padres, Boxberger was named an All-Star. Boxberger led the AL in saves in 2015 with 41.
Following the 2015 campaign, Boxberger began to slow down thanks to some injuries. After pitching in 69 games in 2015, Boxberger appeared in only 57 games over the next two combined seasons.
The Rays flipped Boxberger for an intriguing prospect. According to MLBPipeline, Curtis Taylor was the 14th best prospect in the Diamondbacks system. After the trade, Taylor checked into the Rays’ top 30 at number 26. The Canadian right-handed starter reached Low-A in 2017 as a 22-year old.
Here is what MLB.com has to say about Taylor:
"“Some feel with his arm action, he’s better suited for the bullpen, and his sinker-slider combination would certainly play up. That might be his long-term future, but for now he’ll work on developing as a complete pitcher in a starting role.”"
This past season pitching for Class-A Kane County, Taylor was 3-4, 3.32 in 13 starts (62.1-IP) with 68 strikeouts. However, he was shut down in July due to a right shoulder impingement. The Rays say he is expected to be ready for the start of the season.
This trade may be indicative of how the Tampa Bay Rays are moving as the front office has been shuffling to decide on the direction of the franchise.