Tampa Bay Rays: No Stone Unturned at Winter Meetings
By Althea Pashman
The Winter Meetings are officially underway in Orlando and the Tampa Bay Rays are in a full listening mode. The plan is that they will consider anything and everything, including trading any player if the offer is reasonable.
Although there has been no mention of the Tampa Bay Rays going for a full rebuild, though it could seem that way, GM Erik Neander and Senior VP Chaim Bloom are in full listening mode and will consider anything and everything, including trading veteran assets if the offer(s) are reasonable.
We have to be open,” GM Erik Neander said at a pre-meetings media session at the Trop Thursday. “We have to be considering anything and everything. A lot of that depends on where there’s interest and what we believe is in the best interest of our club.”
The Rays have yet to make it known how much they are intending to shed in payroll, though speculation is that it could be at least $20 million if not more. From all the salary figures that I have come across through Spotrac.com, Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Baseball-Reference among others, the only way to reduce that amount of salary will be to trade a handful of veterans whose salary and or projected salary is no longer cost-effective for the Rays.
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Players no longer cost-effective would be Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Brad Miller, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria along with a handful of others. I would suspect that Odorizzi and Colome already have one foot out the door. Odorizzi tops my list as he is projected to make $6.5 million, followed by Colome who is projected to make $5.5 million.
Dickerson would follow, with a project $6.4 million salary – however, he had a Jekyll and Hyde 2017 season and could be hard sell because of this. Miller, in my book could solve the Rays opening at first base, despite a projected $4.4 million salary, which is not totally out of the Rays financial limit. Unfortunately, it does not look as though the Rays are even considering him for the position.
In September, Ramos reached a contract incentive when he played in his 55th game. The incentive upped his 2018 salary from $8.5 million to $10 million, along with an additional $750 thousand worth of incentives.
Numerous teams are in need of catchers, with very few available via free agency. However, the only way that I can see the Rays trading Ramos is if they are able to acquire one in another trade. Ramos and Jesus Sucre are the only catchers on the 40-man roster and since the Rays did not protect Nick Ciuffo from the Rule 5 Draft, a trade now could be demoralizing.
Longoria is a long shot, primarily because of his contract and his age. With six years remaining on his current deal, he would be 38-years old when it is all said and done. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times states there are limited teams with a need and or willing to take on his remaining salary.
Next: Tampa Bay Rays: What Can The Rays Do In The Rule 5 Draft?
Meanwhile, the rumors continue and not only are the Cardinals in the hunt for Alex Colome, but the Rockies, Cubs and Mets have thrown their cap in the mix. In addition, the Angels are interested in Longoria – that is if the Rays are serious about trading him.