Tampa Bay Rays: Winter Meetings Day 3 Recap, Rule 5 Draft

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 27: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 27: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Day Three of the Winter Meetings was quiet for the Tampa Bay Rays, though for the first time they acknowledged making progress and are heading into advanced stages in some discussions.

The Tampa Bay Rays officially announced the signing of International free agent Jelfry Marte on Wednesday, after trading pitcher minor league Anthony Misiewicz to the Seattle Mariners. The deal gave the Rays an additional $1 million in International money that allowed them to sign Marte.

In trading Misiewicz to Seattle, he returns to the organization that traded him this past August when the Mariners acquired pitcher Ryan Garton and catcher Mike Marjama from the Rays. The Rays assigned Misiewicz to Double-A Montgomery where he would go 3-1 with a 3.49 (5 Starts) with 24 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched.

With whom those advanced discussions are with is unknown at this time, though speculation continues to involve the St. Louis Cardinals. Staying on the forefront of potential trades are Alex Colome and Evan Longoria, followed by Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi.

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The Cardinals have multiple trades poised for completion today, tweets Derrick Goold. The multiple deals include, the trade of Stephen Piscotty to Oakland pending a medical review, the completion of the Marcell Ozuna trade and continuing talks with the Rays.

From the Rays side, Sr. VP Chaim Bloom via Marc Topkin on Twitter said, “”We’re going to see in the near future if that leads to us consummating a deal.” Topkin speculates that the Rays could be involved in deals with other teams.

Per Mike Berardino via Twitter, on-going talks have stalled between the Rays and Twins for pitcher Jake Odorizzi. They are unlikely to continue, as the Twins were only willing to send the Rays all minor league prospects.

Rule 5 Draft

Pitcher Burch Smith and catcher Nick Ciuffo were two of the most notable players that the Rays left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft that took place on Thursday morning. With the No. 6 pick the New York Mets selected Smith and the traded him to the Kansas City Royals.

Smith missed two seasons as he battled numerous arm injuries, which included Tommy John surgery, however he returned in 2017 and was very impressive in the Arizona Fall League. Smith came to the Rays in the Wil Myers/Steven Souza Jr. trade in 2014

"“We knew there was a chance we were going to lose him,” Rays Sr. VP Chaim Bloom said. “Obviously, we would have liked to have kept him. But the other thing we don’t want to lose sight of — we were really happy for Burch to get this opportunity."

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On the bright side, the Rays were able to hang onto catcher Nick Ciuffo. Ciuffo, is known for his outstanding defense and though he has not played higher than Double-A in his five minor league seasons, he is the most experienced catcher in the minors.

"“We said when we left him off that it was a calculated gamble,” Bloom said. “We like Nick and we think Nick is a Major League prospect. We were just taking a gamble that it wasn’t his time yet, and we were hoping to be able to keep him here and give him the opportunity in our system to keep progressing. He did make strides this year, and we’re really happy that we were able to keep him, and [we’re] looking forward to giving him more opportunity next year.”"

On the minor league side of the Rule 5 Draft, the Rays selected one player and lost two. With the 14th pick, the Rays selected pitcher Francisco German (RHP) from the Detroit Tigers. Those selected were Riley Unroe (INF) by St. Louis and the Pirates selected Rafelin Lorenzo (C).

Next: Tampa Bay Rays Rumors: Something on the Horizon, Could Be

Players selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft are not subjected to being placed on the 25-man roster.