Tampa Bay Rays offseason blueprint overview
By Austin Reimann
The Tampa Bay Rays enter this offseason coming off of 96 wins and a trip to the ALDS. What can they do this offseason to improve their roster for 2020?
With a majority of the 2019 roster under control heading into 2020, there are few questions surrounding the Tampa Bay Rays as they prepare to improve their roster in anticipation for another competitive season.
Despite the fact that a majority of their 2019 core is slated to return next season, there are some things the Rays will look to do this winter to position themselves for a deeper postseason run in 2020.
At first glance, the Rays already have a solid base in place to build from. Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, and Tyler Glasnow anchor a strong rotation with plenty of backend options. Brandon Lowe and Willy Adames provide a solid duo up the middle while Kevin Kiermaier, Tommy Pham, and Austin Meadows combine for a great outfield trio.
In the bullpen, Diego Castillo, Nick Anderson, Emilio Pagan, and an improved Jose Alvarado could team up to be the most devastating bullpen in baseball next season. They have depth in the infield and options at the corners, leaving only a few places to truly upgrade.
They will have to find a starting catcher to pair with the likely backup, Micheal Perez. They could also stand to add more bullpen pieces (there is no such thing as too much bullpen depth). You could also make the case for them to further solidify the rotation with an additional veteran with postseason experience. Finally, they will need to find a right-handed bat with power, possibly a fourth outfielder who can DH.
With this in mind, they will also need to create roster space for a handful of highly touted and valued prospects who are eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. As it stands now, the Rays 40-man roster sits at 37 players. They will need to make room for five prospects, Vidal Brujan, Ronaldo Hernandez, Jake Cronenworth, Lucius Fox, and Kevin Padlo.
Of the ten infielders currently on the roster, three seem to be in jeopardy of being non-tendered in an effort to create space for the incoming prospects. Daniel Robertson, Jesus Aguilar, and Matt Duffy could all be on the chopping block alongside Mike Zunino and possibly Guillermo Heredia although the latter seems less likely.
In the coming days we will discuss all of these topics in-depth including:
- Need for a catcher
- Need for a RHH with power
- Possible additions to pen
- Possible reinforcements to rotation
- 40-man crunch