Tampa Bay Rays: What the Rays 2019 Roster Could Look Like

Brent Honeywell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Brent Honeywell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

It will not be long long until the 2018 season for the Tampa Bay Rays gets underway. By mid-season the rumors and speculation will heat up as to what route the organization will take moving forward. With this is mind, here is what the 2019 Rays roster could eventually look like.

No crystal ball is needed to see what is in store for the future of the Tampa Bay Rays when it comes to the roster. Currently, Wilson Ramos and Denard Span are on one-year contracts and each is scheduled to make more than $10.0 million. In all likelihood, both will be involved in mid-season trades or gone to free agency at the end of the 2018 season.

Kevin Kiermaier and Chris Archer are signed to multi-year deals with Archer guaranteed $16.0 million over 3-years and Kiermaier $50.0 over six-years. With Longoria gone, they are the face of the team but $66.0 million is a lot of money for the current Rays’ management to absorb. However, Archer continues to be heavily involved in trade rumors.

In addition to the four players with guaranteed money, there are six players eligible for arbitration and scheduled to make $3.0 million or more. This group is led by Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson who are scheduled to make $12.0 million total. They are almost certain to be gone this off-season.

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Adeiny Hechavarria and Brad Miller are scheduled to make $9.0 between them and will probably start the season with the Rays but are gone by mid season. Alex Colome and Steven Souza Jr. will also make $9.0 million between them but have a chance to stay with the Rays through 2018. However, they will be probably be gone in the 2018 off season.

So where does that leave the Rays roster for the 2019 season? My guess is that it will be mostly a young team making a minimum major league salary of around $500,00.00.

In the outfield we would be looking at Kiermaier, Mallex Smith rookie Justin Williams and, hopefully, a player obtained in a trade. The infield would have rookies Christian Arroyo, Willy Adames and Jake Bauers teamed up with Matt Duffy and Daniel Robertson.

The catcher and DH spots would be wide open. Jesus Sucre might be kept around as a backup catcher but the Rays need to use some of their trade chips to obtain a catcher and another bat to serve as the primary DH.

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The starting pitching staff could feature Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon and Jake Faria. A bullpen might consist of Alex Colome, Ryne Stanek, Jose Alvarado, Jaime Schultz, Chih-Wei Hu and Yonny Chirinos. Of this group, only Archer and Colome would be earning above the league minimum. All of this staff has the ability to pitch well at the major league level.

This obviously could be a very exciting young team. It would be even better if the Rays could trade for a catcher and a couple of outfield bats. In addition, talented prospects such as Ryan Yarbrough, Diego Castillo, Nick Ciuffo, Joe McCarthy and Brandon Lowe would provide depth at Triple-A Durham.

Unfortunately, as we have seen with the current crop of young players, the minute players hit arbitration they start to become too expensive for the Rays meager payroll and are moved for other younger, less expensive players.

Some of this is inevitable but you must keep the core of a young team together if you are going to build a fan base that will support the team. A prime example is the Houston Astros who went from losing 100 games to world champions.

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Next: Tampa Bay Rays: 2017 Year in Review Part 1 the Off-Season

Let’s hope that this young team lives up to its potential and the Rays’ management team follows the Astros example and keeps them together.