Tampa Bay Rays: Winter Meetings Update
By Austin Reimann
The hot stove is heating up in Las Vegas for not only the Rays but for most of the league. There have been rumors swirling regarding the Tampa Bay Rays and pursuit of a right-handed hitter and a starting pitcher. Let’s recap the rumors and break down the new stadium news.
I would like to personally apologize for the lack of content recently at Rays Colored Glasses, I have been pretty busy at school and with finals coming to a conclusion today, I have turned my focus back to providing Tampa Bay Rays fans with content once again.
The Winter Meetings are commonplace for blockbusters and signings both of which the Rays are expected to possibly take part in this offseason and the rumors have already begun swirling with reports coming in over the past two days… time to break them down.
Nelson Cruz Reports
The aging slugger has long been connected to the Tampa Bay Rays as a possible middle of the order bat that the Rays could afford to sign for the next couple of years. Cruz, 38, has been linked to not only the Rays but the Twins and Astros.
Jon Morosi recently reported that the Cruz sweepstakes has been narrowed down to the Rays and Twins but other reports have conflicted such information. The Rays have the financial flexibility to sign Cruz and could use the veteran leadership and pop that comes with Cruz.
There are obvious questions surrounding the DH though that could have the Rays reconsider. Cruz is practically limited to the designated hitting role and that could be cause for concern for the Rays who value versatility. His age could also prove worrisome for the front office. Even though he hasn’t shown signs of decline, he is approaching 40.
It has been reported that the two sides have discussed contract parameters and Cruz’s agent calls the Rays a perfect fit. I guess we will see…
Charlie Morton Reports
The most exciting news to come out of Las Vegas has been the reports that the Rays have shown interest in right hander Charlie Morton. Morton would bring a veteran presence to the rotation and a World Series pedigree.
Making the first all-star appearance of his career, the 35-year-old was great for the Astros in 2018 going 15-3 with a 3.13 earned run average. His ERA+ of 129 was the best of his career. As expected the Astros would like to retain Morton’s services.
Marc Topkin reported yesterday that both sides have engaged in talks and have maintained a continued dialogue.
The Rays are reported to have interest in both Edwin Encarnancion and Yandy Diaz of the Cleveland Indians. Carlos Santana of the Mariners remains an option but finances could complicate discussions. With McCutchen signing with the Phillies for 50 million over 3 years, he is no longer in the discussion. The Rays have also been connected to catcher J.T. Realmuto as the Marlins are reportedly taking a more aggressive stance with trade talks regarding the catcher.
It appears as though the Rays will be confined to the Trop for the foreseeable future with the news coming out of the recent press conference made by the Rays executives. Rob Manfred blasted Hillsborough County officials in a letter responding to the Ybor deal.
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Keep an eye out tomorrow for more advanced trade talks and possible smaller moves and continued talks with free agents Nelson Cruz and Charlie Morton.