The future is here for the Tampa Bay Rays. Brad Miller should only be the first of several veterans that will be moved along over the next few weeks on the trade market.
Almost certainly, next up to the big leagues will top-rated prospect Willy Adames. This time, though, he should be up to stay. And, with that, will most likely be the dismissal of veteran shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. The only thing complicating that right now is the injury to Hechavarria. But, the Rays announced yesterday that he’s set to begin a rehab assignment tomorrow with the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Demonstrating that he is healthy should only set up his departure.
A few days ago, we highlighted the season of catcher Wilson Ramos. Indeed, he is playing as well as any backstop in baseball right now. And, that makes the Buffalo one of the more appealing trade chips that the Tampa Bay Rays have. Miller and Hechavarria are not going to fetch the Rays anything of substance, I don’t think. Ramos, on the other hand, has value. A team like the Washington Nationals, for example, could plug him into the lineup immediately. He’s still loved in Washington, as was shown earlier this week when the Rays visited for two games.
Waiting in the background for the Rays is catcher Nick Ciuffo, who just completed a 50-game suspension earlier this week to rejoin the Durham Bulls. In five games there since his return, Ciuffo is hitting 8 for 19 with four RBI. The 23-year-old is a career .250 hitter in the Rays organization and is comping off an All-Star year with AA Montgomery.
Bauers is up. Adames next. Then perhaps Nick Ciuffo. Then what?
For me, the Rays shouldn’t stop with these three veterans. Carlos Gomez should be the next in line. This one will not be popular. His maximum energy play is fun to watch. I have no doubt that his veteran presence is helpful in the clubhouse. But let’s face it. His slash of .186/.261/.340 is not good. With Kevin Kiermaier set to return in the next 7-10 days, the Rays will need to find space in the outfield. I’d much rather see Mallex Smith and Johnny Field get regular playing time than Carlos Gomez.
After all that, perhaps the biggest trade chip of all hasn’t been mentioned. Chris Archer’s quick run to the Disabled List has perhaps temporarily put his name on the back burner. Undoubtedly, as the trade deadline approaches in the next six weeks, he will get a lot of attention. A couple of weeks ago, I suggested the Cubs as a possible trade partner. My opinion has not changed. But, there will be several teams checking in on Archer.