2nd Tier (Most Likely Too Expensive)
#4 J.A. Happ
- At 36, Happ will most likely command a 1 to 2 year contract that would certainly appeal to the Rays if it came cheaper. Coming off a fantastic year with the Yankees and Blue Jays, I would look for the Yankees to retain him at a price out of the Rays reach.
#5 Gio Gonzalez
- At 33, Gonzalez will likely do very well for himself this offseason, likely too well for the Rays liking. With a career record of 127-97 and an ERA of 3.69, Gio has proven himself to be a consistent arm that would fit well in the Rays rotation. He will probably sign a multi year deal too long and expensive for the Rays to stomach.
#6 Nate Eovaldi
- Prior to his World Series heroics, I liked Tampa Bay’s chance at bringing back Eovaldi. I think they would be willing to pay for even 3 years of Eovaldi but I really don’t see him signing anywhere else now besides Boston. Oh well, it would have been nice to have Eovaldi back alongside Blake Snell. Barring a miracle, Eovaldi will not be a Ray next season.
#7 Charlie Morton
- Approaching his age 36 season, look for Morton to also get a rather rewarding short-term contract with a wealthy competitor, possibly the Dodgers, after his fantastic 2018 season. In 2018, Morton went 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA, not too bad for a 35-year-old. There is a chance though that his price tag slips into the range the Rays will bite at and if that is the case, they may become surprise contenders in the Morton sweepstakes.
#8 Hyun-Jin Ryu
Injuries remain a concern when discussing the South Korean native, Ryu. This could actually work in the favor of the Rays and drive his price down to where the Rays might actually bite. When healthy, Ryu can dominant as he was in his shortened 2018, going 7-1 with a 1.97 ERA for the Dodgers. I view Ryu as the most likely of the first eight on this list for the Rays to sign.