The Tampa Bay Rays are still in the thick of Wild Card contention in the American League. Sitting at 40-32 as of June 27th, the club has plenty of time to get on a roll and make a run, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the Rays have major holes in their lineup that would need a major addition to solve. If Tampa Bay is serious about making a run in October, the time is now to look for big fish on the market.
When looking at the club's options to add firepower to their lineup, one name rises to the surface: Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds, the current center fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a switch-hitting slugger who would slot in perfectly in the Tampa Bay Rays lineup.
The 27 year old Reynolds is hitting .254/.326/.446 with 12 HR and 25 RBI for the Pirates this season. Over the last month, he has a .918 OPS and 6 HR and appears to regain his form from 2021, where Reynolds was a first time All-Star and finished 11th in MVP voting.
What would a potential trade for the switch hitting star look like? Here is what could be expected for one of the best trade chips in baseball:
For Tampa Bay, the organization boasts one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball and is continuously having multiple prospects knocking at the door of the big leagues. For a club that wants to contend but needs to do so on a budget, Reynolds would be under team control through the 2025 season and slot right into the middle of the order with the likes of Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe, and Randy Arozarena. With the elite pitching that the club has, adding this level of bat to the lineup would make the Rays extremely dangerous in a playoff series.
For the Pirates, the club is still multiple years away from contending and can cash in on the trade value of their star outfielder while he still has immense value. One could argue and may be right that the Pirates would ask for more, but the foundation of this trade would be huge for the club.
Taj Bradley is the 68th ranked prospect in baseball, and with the way he is pitching in AA this season, will rise quickly in MLB's Top 100 Prospect Rankings. The 21 year old right hander has an ERA of 1.82 in 59.1 innings with 71 SO and an opponents batting average of .189 in 2022. Adding this elite of an arm to the farm system would be a huge get for the Pirates.
Greg Jones began the season on the Top 100 prospects list but recently fell off due to a slow start to 2022. The shortstop projects to be a great athlete who can defend and steal bases at a high level, but needs the bat to develop more to be more than just an average shortstop. Right hander JJ Goss has started off 2022 slow as well but is still 21 years old and has the arm talent to be a middle of the rotation stater in the majors.
If the Tampa Bay Rays can put together this kind of package, or even juice it up a bit more, it would be worth the high price to acquire such a bat for the club. Bryan Reynolds has the talent to change the Rays season, the questions is whether or not they will put together an aggressive offer.