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Tampa Bay Rays: Moves That Could be Made this Off-season

By David Egbert
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 30: Tampa Bay Rays infielder Brad Miller (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 30: Tampa Bay Rays infielder Brad Miller (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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Financial problems and roster problems via arbitration or those lost to free agency are creating mega holes that will need to be filled this off-season. Here’s my take on five moves that could solve the issues.

You can either look for a couple of big deals to solve the Tampa Bay Rays financial and roster problems or you can simply plug roster holes. Althea Pashman, Site Expert of Rays Colored Glasses recently wrote an excellent piece taking the big picture approach to the problems by laying out a couple of significant trades.

I’m going to take a a more targeted approach to plugging the holes in the Rays’ roster. So, let’s take a look at five moves that fit the bill.

Trade Jake Odorizzi and a prospect for the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber. This looks like a trade that would help both teams. The Cubs need pitching and the Tampa Bay Rays need left handed power. Odorizzi is coming off an uneven year and he didn’t prosper under Kevin Cash’s quick hook pitching philosophy. With the Cubs, he would be reunited with Joe Maddon and Jim Hickey under whose tutelage he prospered.

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Schwarber had a down year in 2017 but did crush 30 home runs. He’s a raw talent with tremendous left handed power. Schwarber is also more of an AL player and would fit as a DH and he would fit nicely in the middle of the batting order. Schwarber was the Cubs’ number four prospect in 2015 and is under team control through 2021.

Trade Corey Dickerson for the Astros Jake Marisnick. Again, this is a trade that benefits both teams. In two years with the Rays, Dickerson has shown to be a good hit/poor defensive outfielder whose overall performance has been uneven.

Marisnick has been Houston’s fourth outfielder and has good speed and defense, but doesn’t hit right handing pitching well. Dickerson would give Houston a bat to replace Carlos Beltran and Marisnick, who hits left-handers well, could be part of a Mallex Smith/ Marisnick left field platoon.

Trade Brad Miller for the Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle. Miller has worn out his welcome in Tampa Bay but still offers a power left handed bat and the ability to play, although not very well, five positions. Kahnle is a quality pitcher in the New York Yankee bullpen that is loaded with relief pitchers.

Miller could take advantage of the short right field in Yankee Stadium and give the Yankees power off the bench. Kahnle could step into the role of the recently departed Brad Boxberger as a right handed setup man.

Re-sign Sergio Romo. The Rays are good at rehabilitating relief pitchers and they have another chance with Romo. Dumped by the Dodgers and the Giants, Romo was a late season pickup by the Rays and posted a 1.47 ERA in 30 innings.

With Boxberger traded and Alex Colome mentioned in trade talks, Romo has a solid history as a late inning reliever and could be an inexpensive pickup as a set up man or closer. He would probably sign a $2.5 million contract

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Sign Howie Kendrick. Kendrick has been in the major leagues for twelve years. Nine of those years were spent with the LA Angels where he accumulated a .292/.332/.434 slash line.

His days as a regular player are probably over but he still has a potent bat and, most importantly, he can play first and second base and left field. He made $10 million on a one-year contract last year but the Rays’ may be able to sign him for a two-year contract worth $10 million.

There are no blockbuster trades here but these five acquisitions would provide a left handed hitting DH, a right handed hitting outfielder, two relief pitchers and a high quality veteran utility man. They are all areas of need for the Rays.

Of course. the off season market is always very fluid. Brad Boxberger was just traded by the Rays. Matt Adams was non-tendered by the Atlanta Braves and would be a nice affordable signing as a 1B/DH. Several more players will become available as teams non-tender players before the Dec. 1 deadline for offering contracts to arbitration eligible players.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: FanSided Faux Winter Meetings 2017

However, in the end, it will probably boil down to money. My five deals would save the Rays $5.0 million but that would still leave the 2018 Rays team with approximately a $75 million payroll. Will Stuart Sternberg go for that figure? Only time will tell.

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