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ST. PETERSBURG– This may not be the most interesting part of the offseason, but it’s a crucial week for the Rays.
The following couple of days include numerous crucial due dates, and due dates drive purchases– even if they’re not substantial trades or anything to do with Shohei Ohtani. The Rays are most likely to be active leading up to both target dates and, actually, may already be making steps by the time you read this.
Here is what’s at play before each target date.
Rule 5 Draft defense
Today at 6 p.m. ET is the target date for clubs to add gamers to the 40-man roster to shield them from following month’s Regulation 5 Draft.
Relatively every offseason offers a challenging 40-man lineup crisis for the Rays. This winter months will certainly be no various. Stabilizing the present and future is one part of it, naturally, however so is the truth that they use almost their whole roster throughout the season.
The Rays can’t truly afford to squander roster areas, in other words, and theirs came to be full last Friday after the fascinating waiver case of versatile lefty Tyler Alexander.
The Rays currently did their most important job ahead of this target date when they contacted top prospect Junior Caminero and advertised lefty Jacob Lopez (No. 27) near the end of the period.
But 7 of the Rays’ Top 30 potential customers, according to MLB Pipeline, are qualified for this year’s Rule 5 Draft: infielder Willy Vasquez (No. 10), right-hander Cole Wilcox (No. 11), lefty Ian Seymour (No. 15), outfielder/DH Heriberto Hernandez (No. 18), outfielder Kameron Misner (No. 21), right-hander Yoniel Curet (No. 22) and corner infielder Austin Shenton (No. 26).
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The development of Shenton as upper-level deepness (in addition to the existence of Jonathan Aranda and climbing possibility Xavier Isaac) was one factor the Rays agreed to trade Kyle Manzardo for Aaron Civale, and he’s coming off an outstanding season. Misner has actually revealed power and speed, albeit with alarming strikeout prices. Vasquez is still years far from being MLB-ready. MLB Pipe noted Hernandez as Tampa bay Bay’s hardest phone call.
It’s a lot more made complex on the pitching front. There aren’t any top-end potential customers banging down the door, so the Rays might be much more safety of the promising arms they do have, really hoping at the very least one will take an advance.
Wilcox didn’t have a wonderful season at Double-A Montgomery, yet he’s plenty gifted, surrounding the Majors and the last guy standing from Tampa bay Bay’s return for Blake Snell. Seymour appeared like he got on the fast lane before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2022. Curet has yet to get to Double-A, but he was their Minor League Bottle of the Year. Right-hander Anthony Molina, unranked, is another one to think about.
Remember: The Rays have discovered value at this target date not only by adding gamers to their roster, yet by trading some they don’t have room to protect for younger potential customers.
In 2019, Cristopher Sánchez was dealt for Curtis Mead. 2 years back, they transformed Tobias Myers into Caminero. Last November, they moved Regulation 5-eligible possibility Xavier Edwards to the Marlins and obtained right-handers Santiago Suarez (No. 14) and Marcus Johnson (No. 16).
Non-tender due date
Friday at 8 p.m. ET is the target date for teams to tender a contract for following period to unsigned gamers under club control. (This is better known as the “non-tender target date.”) Non-tendered players end up being freelances.
The Rays handled a few of their company on this front when they parted with Christian Bethancourt, Jalen Beeks, Josh Fleming, Cole Sulser and Raimel Tapia to clear space for gamers coming off the 60-day hurt listing. They still have 12 arbitration-eligible gamers continuing to be, however, and their pay-roll is forecasted to be in the $120 million range with no further additions.
The Rays can turn a couple of offers or cut some non-tender prospects before today’s due date to make room for their eligible potential customers, as they did in 2015 with Ryan Yarbrough (assigned for assignment) and JT Chargois (traded). However the majority of their arb-eligible players are expected to play vital roles following year or, in the case of hurt ace Shane McClanahan, in the future.
With couple of standard non-tender alternatives, this could be the time to move an arb-eligible trade candidate like Harold Ramírez.