Tampa Bay Rays: Manuel Margot an Outfield Insurance Policy
By Seth Carter
The Tampa Bay Rays traded their team leader in saves to the Padres on Saturday night.
The Tampa Bay Rays had the best bullpen in the major leagues last season and the man the led the team in saves will not be in a Rays’ uniform in 2020.
The Rays reached back out to the Padres after completing a deal earlier this off-season (Tommy Pham – Xavier Edwards/ Hunter Renfroe).
Who is Going Where?
The San Diego Padres are receiving relief pitcher, Emilio Pagan.
Emilio Pagan 2019 Stats
20 Saves // 2.31 ERA // 0.83 WHIP // 70.0 IP // 96 SO // 2.4 rWAR
The Tampa Bay Rays are recieving two players, Manuel Margot and minor leaguer, Logan Driscoll.
Manuel Margot 2019 Stats
.234/.304/.387 // 12 HR // 37 RBI // 20 SB // 398 AB
The Rays also recieved minor leaguer Logan Driscoll.
Why Make This Trade?
There is speculation that the Rays may have a deal for Kevin Kiermaier in the works and Manuel Margot will be his replacement in centerfield.
Some have said that Manuel Margot is an elite-defensive center fielder who is a better hitter than Kevin Kiermaier.
That’s simply not true.
Margot is a slightly lesser-version of Kevin Kiermaier. He is still an extremely talented player but not better than Kevin Kiermaier.
According to Fangraphs, Kiermaier finished sixth among outfielders with 13 defensive runs saved and Margot finished 14th with six.
Kiermaier finished eighth in UZR/150 while Margot finished eleventh.
Kiermaier has a career OPS+ of 97 while Margot has a career OPS+ of 87.
Last season Kiermaier was worth a 2.3 rWAR while Margot was worth 1.8 rWAR.
Prior to the move, Kiermaier’s backup was the talented yet unproven Randy Arozarena.
If anything, this could reinforce the Rays’ confidence in Kiermaier’s style of play. Margot provides the team with a similar player as an insurance policy. Afterall, Kiermaier has struggled to stay on the field during his career, averaging 113 games per season.
It’s also worth noting each player’s career numbers against lefties.
- Kiermaier: .248/.298/.396
- Margot: .278/.338/.437
Hunter Renfroe might be used in a platoon, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo is reported to be a defensive liability in the outfield, we have numbers to show Jose Martinez is a good fit for the DH. The Rays have had their eye on Margot for a while.
Tampa Bay finished first in reliever ERA last season and evidently, they believed they had enough bullpen depth to make this deal. They still have the look of one of the top bullpens in the league.
How do you feel about the trade?