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Tampa Bay Rays Start Dealing as Buyers

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JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Tommy Pham #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Tommy Pham #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Rays made a surprising first deal on deadline day, acquiring OF Tommy Pham from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Who would have guessed this?  Or, what in the world is coming next?  The Tampa Bay Rays acquired outfielder Tommy Pham from the St. Louis Cardinals for promising minor leaguers Justin Williams and Genesis Cabrera along with pitcher Roel Ramirez.

First question that comes to mind is why.  Tommy Pham doesn’t really play into the future of the Rays.  He’s arbitration eligible in the off-season and becomes a free agent in 2022.  Based on his performance over the past couple of years, he’s most likely in line for a decent salary via arbitration, although his .248 batting average is much lower than 2017 at .306.

In the end, I think Justin Williams and Tommy Pham are pretty comparable, and Williams is several years younger.  And, if you’ve seen anything on Genesis Cabrera, you’ve seen he’s having a pretty decent year in Montgomery.  How does this deal add up for the Tampa Bay Rays?  I have to wonder if they have something else in the works.

Could the Rays be in the middle of a Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals trade?

What if the Cubs are looking for an outfielder?   They wouldn’t pick up the phone and call St. Louis and ask about Tommy Pham.  They’d need someone to help them with that.  Doesn’t it make you wonder if the long rumored Cubs and Rays connection could come together?

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Since this is the king of baseball trade rumor days, let’s take a second and wonder if Chris Archer and Tommy Pham could be packaged together to go to Chicago.  Obviously, the Rays would need to get a pretty good return. But, in that type of deal, let’s just wonder if Ian Happ and Victor Caratini could be involved. Obviously, those are two players that make much more sense to the Rays than Tommy Pham.

Clearly, this is just fantasy baseball on my part at this stage of the game.  Heck, we’re over four hours from the trade deadline.  But, the Cubs have long been in on Archer, albeit not as aggressively as other teams.  They did just acquire Cole Hamels, but adding Archer and Pham would help them a lot as they try to contend with the Dodgers and others.  And, the Rays would get two relatively young offensive pieces to play a big part in the next few years.

Let’s wait to see what the next few hours bring.

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