Rays News

Rays Offseason Plan: 3 moves they need to make

By Austin Reimann
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after closing out the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after closing out the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 03: Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs throws back to the pitcher in his first game back from the injured list against the Seattle Mariners at Wrigley Field on September 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 03: Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs throws back to the pitcher in his first game back from the injured list against the Seattle Mariners at Wrigley Field on September 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Rays Offseason Plan Step 1: Trade for Wilson Contreras

With a reportedly high asking price for the two-time all-star, the Rays are in a good position to pry him away from the Cubs.

Per Jeff Passan, the asking price for Wilson Contreras is reportedly “absurd” but that shouldn’t scare away the Rays. In shopping Wilson Contreras, the Cubs are looking to extend their window of competitiveness and it is still early in the offseason, so naturally the asking price will be high. They are likely trying to see just how far teams like the Padres and Rays will go for their prized catcher and once they find the best deal, the asking price may lessen.

Regardless, the Rays can afford an “absurd” asking price especially with the arrival of yet another top-100 prospect to their already stacked farm system.

Contreras, who is coming off a great season is under team control through 2022 and well worth the high asking price. His 2019 season was his best to date. In 105 games, the 27 year old catcher slashed .272/.355/.533 with an .888 OPS and a 125 OPS+. He hit 24 bombs and drove in 64 runs. In total, he was worth 3.1 bWAR and is projected to make 4.5M in arbitration this offseason, making him an absolute bargain in 2020.

While the “absurd” price is unknown, it would make sense for the Rays to at least start by building a trade around Yonny Chirinos and the recently acquired Xavier Edwards. Chirinos is a controllable starting pitcher, something the Cubs lack while Edwards is a top-100 prospect. A deal centered around those two and another high-end pitching prospect seems reasonable.

It will all depend on how much talent the Rays are willing to part ways with in the pursuit of Wilson Contreras. But, with the Rays farm system and the Cubs needs, the two clubs seem like a perfect fit.

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