Again, this was just a trade I simply couldn’t pass up. One of my targets (and a likely Rays target) this offseason was Jose Leclerc and when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t refuse.
I was able to make an upgrade in the outfield by trading for Nomar Mazara, who will take the place of Heredia. I know, now we are in the same situation we were in prior to the Mallex Smith trade. I don’t intend on keeping Mazara on the roster. He provides me with great trade value, and I plan on flipping Mazara in a trade for a first baseman. As a result of the likely flip of Mazara, I will look to sign a free agent outfielder with pop who could also DH.
The second part of this trade revolved around Jose Leclerc. I gave up Matt Duffy, who this trade originated around and added the Rays #8 overall prospect, LHP Shane McClanahan to land the dominant right handed closer Jose Leclerc. The addition of McClanahan during discussion aided in my pursuit to acquire Mazara.
In 59 games last year, Leclerc struck out 85 batters in 57.2 innings of work and finished with an ERA of 1.56. His ERA+ was an amazing 311 and if the Rays were to actually acquire him, he would enter a fierce battle for the closer role with Jose Alvarado. Regardless of if he is named closer, the bullpen gets a significant upgrade.
I also can’t fail to mention the fact that Leclerc won’t become arbitration eligible until 2020 and will under team control until 2023. Personally, I didn’t see Matt Duffy fitting into the plan for 2019 with Daniel Robertson returning from injury, and I saw this as an opportunity to give Robertson a chance at third full time.
All in all, the Rays acquire a dominant right hander who can close out games, and an outfielder with pop who will likely be flipped in another trade to be announced later. Even if Mazara isn’t flipped, he gives the Rays depth in the outfield and a powerful DH option.