Reaction: Tampa Bay Rays trade for Emilio Pagan

Rays acquire Emilio Pagan on Friday. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Rays acquire Emilio Pagan on Friday. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays were in on another three team deal that included the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics. The Rays sent their Minor League Pitcher of the Year and two other prospects away, getting Emilio Pagan, a prospect, and a draft pick in return.

We knew the Tampa Bay Rays were going to be clearing space on their 40-man roster in the coming days to make the Charlie Morton signing official, I just didn’t expect it to come in this fashion.

With a log jam brewing involving the Rays farm system and the 40-man roster, we could see a few moves like this before the season begins or even at the July trade deadline. Moves that swap future talent for immediate returns.

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This time, the future talent happened to be headlined by Brock Burke, the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Along with Burke, the Rays also sent Kyle Bird and Yoel Espinal to the Rangers. After adding Burke and Bird to the 40-man roster just weeks prior to today’s trade, the Rays have reversed course and sent them elsewhere to make room on the roster.

In return, Texas sent 23-year-old, right- handed pitching prospect, Rollie Lacy to Tampa and Oakland also sent reliever Emilio Pagan. Additionally, the Rays also received the Rangers 38th overall pick in the 2019 draft. The pick now gives the Rays 4 of the first 61 picks in the upcoming draft.

This handful of high draft picks will allow them to account for the loss of Burke.

As for the return…

Pagan has a career ERA of 3.85, a FIP of 4.19, and 119 strikeouts over 112.1 innings. He has a career K/9 of 9.5. He is primarily a righty specialist, holding them to a .196 batting average last season. He is under team control through 2023 and should play a big role in 2019 and beyond.

Rollie Lacy will be interesting to watch going forward. He reached HiA in 2018 with the Cubs and Rangers. The right-handed pitcher is projected to become a back-end starter.


The loss of Brock Burke stings, but the Rays could afford to make him expendable with a system headlined by pitchers, especially left handers such as McKay, Liberatore, McClanahan, and Banda.

I was excited to see how the electric left-hander would progress at Montgomery and Durham after his breakout campaign, but now I will just have to turn my attention to one of the other countless exiting Rays pitching prospects.

In essence the Rays added yet another controllable piece to the puzzle going forward in Pagan and cleared room to add Charlie Morton to the roster. They will hope for the best with Rollie Lacy and look towards the 2019 draft to replace Burke.

We will just have to see who falls to us at #38 and how Burke progresses as a Ranger. Then we will be able to fully assess this trade.

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Now the question remains, what comes next? Do they make another move similar to this one, sending away more prospects for immediate talent like J.T. Realmuto or Jose Martinez? Probably… but only time will tell.