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Tampa Bay Rays: Which 15 Players to Protect in an Expansion Draft

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 07, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Chris O'Meara - Pool/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 07, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Chris O'Meara - Pool/Getty Images)
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Austin Meadows of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Rays Protected Players – Charlie Morton

Charlie Morton‘s contract does not include a no-trade clause. In this scenario, we are trying to win in the 2020 season. Morton is projected to be a vital piece in the Rays’ potential championship run. Despite being the highest-paid player on the team, he is still considered to be a steal when compared to his peers.

He finished third in the AL Cy Young voting last season. The two guys that finished ahead of him (Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole) are set to earn more than double Morton’s $15 million. He’s a lock.

Tampa Bay Rays Protected Players – Blake Snell

Blake Snell’s 2018 was one of the great pitching seasons in history. He’s 26-years-old and already has a Cy Young under his belt. He’s on a team-friendly contract and it’s a no-brainer to lock him down.

Tampa Bay Rays Protected Players – Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows emerged as an All-Star and even got some MVP attention last season. I’d say he was the prized piece in the Chris Archer deal, but there’s this other guy… Even still, Meadows is one of the few everyday players on the Rays. He gets on base, hits for power, and can swipe a few bags. He can hit leadoff or hit in the three or four-hole.

At age 24 last season, he posted an OPS+ of 143 and led the team with 33 homers, 29 doubles, seven triples, and 12 stolen bases. He’s another no-brainer. In another easy call, we lock down Austin Meadows.

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