Tampa Bay Rays: Trade for Eric Sogard may signal move for Will Smith is near
By Austin Reimann
This afternoon the Tampa Bay Rays acquired infielder Eric Sogard from the Toronto Blue Jays. The addition of Eric Sogard leaves the Rays with a glut of left-handed hitting second baseman… Could this move signal the eventual trade for Will Smith?
According to Joel Sherman the Tampa Bay Rays have come to an agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays to acquire Eric Sogard.
The Rays have been rumored to be in the market for a right-handed hitter with pop, a closer, and an additional starter in lieu of Blake Snell’s absence. Eric Sogard is none of these options which leads me to believe that there is more at play here with the trade for the left-handed hitting utility infielder.
Sogard has had a good year for the Blue Jays, slashing .300/.363/.477 with 10 bombs and 30 runs batted in. But, with the addition of Sogard, the Rays are left with 3 left-handed hitting middle infielders, Brandon Lowe, Joey Wendle and now Sogard.
He has played second and third base, shortstop, and both corner outfield positions this season and could be a valuable bat in a struggling Rays’ lineup, but where will Wendle and Lowe play? What about Brosseau? He seems like the odd man out in this equation.
Unless, the Rays acquired Sogard for leverage in ongoing discussions. The Rays are in desperate need of a closer and the San Francisco Giants are in the market for controllable middle infielders.
The Giants had been previously connected to Eric Sogard, but the Rays won the sweepstakes earlier today. While Sogard isn’t controllable, Joey Wendle and Mike Brosseau are. If the Rays are in the market for Will Smith, they may have just traded for Sogard to sweeten their hypothetical offer by adding him or the now expendable Wendle to the talks.
It seems as though something else must be in play here due to the glut of infielders the Rays now have. Smith has 25 saves under his belt this season and a 2.38 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 45.1 innings pitched.
Smith seems like the most logical choice for the Rays to go after as the deadline approaches and this move for Sogard may signal that talks are getting serious between both camps.
Essentially, I would be shocked if Wendle, Sogard, and Brosseau are all on the active roster come August 1st. Additionally, I would be shocked if Will Smith isn’t involved in a deal that involves Wendle, Sogard, or Brosseau. But, only time will tell.