We recently picked 15 players on the Tampa Bay Rays to protect in the event of an expansion draft. A few players were omitted from that list that raised some eyebrows.
We recently picked 15 players on the Tampa Bay Rays to protect in a hypothetical expansion draft. It’s a tough call with so many talented players on the Rays. One name that was left off of the list was Kevin Kiermaier.
No disrespect to KK, you know we love Kiermaier around here and respect his game. Here are a few reasons we opted to leave him unprotected in the first round. For more details on the rules of the expansion draft, check out the article below:
Tampa Bay Rays – Calculations of Omitting Kevin Kiermaier
Kiermaier is owed over $10 million in 2020, which makes him the second-highest-paid player behind Charlie Morton in 2020. He has averaged 113 games played per season in his career (excluding 2013 when he appeared in one game).
He’s a great glove with a below-average bat. As good as he is with the glove – and there may not be anyone better – the Rays have a wealth of talented defenders in the outfield.
Manuel Margot is a plus defender with fantastic range.
Hunter Renfroe had 22 defensive-runs saved in 2019.
Randy Arozarena was clocked with the exact same feet per second as Kevin Kiermaier last season.
Brian O’Grady is a very speedy outfielder with tons of power. In fact, he holds AAA-Louisville’s single-season home run record, yet has more career steals than homers in his minor league career. He’s a first baseman that can hold his own in centerfield.
The point is, there are plenty of backup options should an expansion team snatch KK up in the first round. I’m not sure how appealing a 30-year-old outfielder who has dealt with injury-shortened seasons his whole career will be to a new organization. Kiermaier is owed a minimum of nearly $36 million for the next three seasons (including a 2023 buyout of $2.5 million).
After the first round each team gets to add three more players to the protected list. Kiermaier can be added then. It’s a calculated risk.