Still in the thick of the AL Wild Card race, the Tampa Bay Rays could go plenty of different ways before the trade deadline. The offense has been lacking this season, and while the pitching has been a key strength, they've been hampered by injuries on both sides of the ball and could use reinforcements more than just about any team in MLB.
With a team that is as active in the trade market as the Rays are, there are bound to be players that used to be with the club that are finding success elsewhere, and a few of those names might actually suit the Rays' needs well down the stretch. Here are 3 former Tampa Bay Rays that could help the team out, should the front office pursue a reunion.
3. Alex Cobb
The Rays rank 2nd-last in all of baseball in terms of innings pitched by their starters. Injuries have played a factor but in order to stay in the playoff hunt, they will need durable arms to log innings for them so that their promising, young pitchers aren't completely burned out by October. Enter: Alex Cobb. Cobb has not played for the Rays since 2017, and there has been so much turnover since then that Kevin Kiermaier is the lone remaining player from that team's core.
Since his time with the Rays, Cobb played for the lost Orioles teams of the late 2010s, but reconstructed a name for himself after suddenly becoming a strikeout pitcher in 2021 with the Angels, after previously being known strictly as a pitch-to-contact type of player. This allowed him to earn some extra cash on the free-agent market, as the Giants signed him to a 3-year, $28M deal with a club option for the final year.
San Francisco, however, is reeling, having lost 5 in a row at the time of writing and sitting 2 games back of the final playoff spot in the NL, just a season after setting a franchise record with 107 wins. If things get worse and they pivot, deciding to ship their older assets out of town, Cobb (age 34) could be in play and the Rays need more healthy pitchers. At first glance, his 4.59 ERA seems subpar, but a dominant second half looks inevitable. His 3.13 FIP, 2.51 xERA, and 9.9 K/9 (career-high) all indicate that he is a far better pitcher than the results show, and the Rays may want to take advantage and make a trade to acquire the promising pitcher they once drafted 16 years ago.