The Tampa Bay Rays are not normally a team who goes out and makes splashy moves. If anything, they are the team that surprises the world and deals away big league talent even as contenders. Recent rumors suggest they could shock the world.
Tom Verducci has placed the Tampa Bay Rays among the teams that could go out and make a deal for Juan Soto before the August 2nd deadline. With three postseasons of control ahead of any team that acquires Soto, the Rays could see the deal for the Nationals superstar as a way to maximize their title window.
Others around baseball have speculated as much as well. Almost any "ranking trade destinations for Juan Soto" stories from national media puts Tampa Bay in the mix, most recently, Zachary Rymer of Bleacher Report.
Before you check out and say that is unrealistic, it is important to remember how aggressive the Rays have been in the last calendar. The Rays have done three things that seem very out of character for how they operate, which could lead to a bold trade like Soto.
The first was attempting to trade for Kris Bryant a last year's deadline. Clearly a rental player and one that would cost a lot of prospect value, the Rays were exchanging names with the Cubs, and easily could have ended up with the slugger.
The second was the franchise record extension for Wander Franco. Franco is highly regarded around the league, and the Rays locked him up early to a large, long term deal.
The third was their pursuit of Freddie Freeman this offseason, seriously considering bringing in the former NL MVP on a large, long term deal.
None of these moves feel very "Rays", but they are becoming a team that gets in talks for big names. While it would still shock of all baseball if they make this deal, do not rule it out.