Most Valuable Trade Chip: Yonny Chirinos
Every offseason, nearly every team is in the market for starting pitching depth. With Yonny Chirinos, the Rays could be in a position to net a big return.
There is a chance that the Tampa Bay Rays won’t even consider moving Yonny Chirinos after the smattering of injuries to their rotation last year, but they would be remiss if they didn’t. When you breakdown the Rays roster and look for the players with the most potential that they might be willing to move this offseason, Yonny Chirinos sticks out like a sore thumb.
The only reason that the Rays may be willing to part ways with Yonny is that they have the depth to do so. Entering 2020, here is the list of starting pitching options the Rays would have without Chirinos:
- Charlie Morton
- Blake Snell
- Tyler Glasnow
- Brendan McKay
- Ryan Yarbrough
- Jose De Leon
- Anthony Banda
- Trevor Richards
- Brent Honeywell*
Knowing that the Rays would likely still want to utilize an opener, that leaves 6 options to occasionally fill in behind Morton, Snell, Glasnow, and McKay.
In 2019, Yonny Chirinos was very good. He appeared in 26 games, making 18 starts.
133.1 IP // 3.85 ERA //114 K // 28 BB // 117 ERA+ // 1.4 fWAR
His numbers from last year alone will garner plenty of attention, but the fact that he is under team control through 2024 is what makes Chirinos so valuable on the trade market. When you pair the Rays pitching depth and the value of Chirinos, it only makes sense that the Rays would float his name in trade talks this winter.
A right-handed hitter with pop who could pay first base, the outfield, or DH is the primary target this offseason and will likely demand a major league return…enter Yonny Chirinos.
If the Rays trade Yonny, the return will have to include a right-handed hitter with pop. If they can’t net that type of return, then expect Yonny to stay put.