Here’s the latest from Tropicana Field, as per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times…
- The Tigers are one of many teams who showed interest in Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger during the GM Meetings. (Topkin also mentions the Astros, whose interest in the duo was reported a few days ago.) The two relievers have drawn a lot of interest, yet Topkin observes that the Rays aren’t under any real pressure to make a deal now and could revisit trade talks at midseason if they don’t find a current offer to their liking. MLBTR projects McGee to earn $4.7MM in 2016 while Boxberger is still a year away from arbitration eligibility, so the Rays aren’t yet facing any financial burden from keeping both relievers. Detroit is known to be looking at both trades and free agency in order to upgrade their bullpen, so it’s no surprise that the Tigers would check in with Tampa.
- It’s not impossible that Asdrubal Cabrera returns to the Rays on a one-year contract, even with the newly-acquired Brad Miller in the fold. It helps that Miller and Logan Forsythe are both pretty versatile players, so the Rays could conceivably use both at several positions while Cabrera (or a similar veteran shortstop like Alexei Ramirez) gets the bulk of playing time at short.
- The Rays are willing to eat some of James Loney’s $8MM salary to help facilitate a trade, which Topkin believes could help them swing a deal in a thin first base market. Topkin also suggests that if the Rays dealt a pitcher, they could insist on adding Loney as part of the trade package.
- Matt Moore ($5MM) or Drew Smyly ($3.9MM) could be the likeliest candidates to be moved if the Rays decided to deal another starter, Topkin opines, as both southpaws carry significant salaries for the low-payroll club. Even after trading Nate Karns to the Mariners, the Rays may have enough young arms to get away with moving another starter, and they could also add a low-cost veteran to add further depth.
- Topkin looks at some of the familiar names (including Daniel Nava, Rene Rivera, J.P. Arencibia) who could be cut from the Rays’ 40-man roster this week to make way for prospects to be protected in advance of the Rule 5 draft.