There’s an expectation among rival executives that the Rays will trade one of either Drew Smyly or Chris Archer this winter, writes ESPN’s Buster Olney in his latest blog (Insider subscription required and recommended). Other teams are also expecting that Tampa Bay will trade closer Alex Colome, who moved into the ninth inning following an injury to Brad Boxberger and delivered a brilliant breakout season in the Rays’ bullpen, though we haven’t really heard any specific clubs tied to him. Smyly is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $6.9MM this winter in his latest trip through the arbitration process, while Colome is not yet eligible for arbitration (though he’s building a nice case for himself when he does reach that point). Because Colome hasn’t reached arbitration and comes with an additional four years of club control, the Rays should be able to ask for a sizable haul. Of course, those same factors also mean that Tampa Bay doesn’t need to feel an urgency to move Colome, as he’d earn scarcely over the league minimum in 2017. The 27-year-old posted a pristine 1.91 ERA and averaged 11.3 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 to go along with a 47.1 percent ground-ball rate in 56 2/3 innings.
A bit more on some other possible trade and free agent scenarios around the league…
- The Athletics are “actively listening to offers” for right-hander Sonny Gray, per Olney. Gray’s name has been a mainstay in trade rumors over the past year and a half, but with a $3.7MM salary projection for next season and Oakland looks more likely to move veteran pieces, there’s a better chance this winter that he’s moved than there has been in previous trade seasons. Of course, teams may be wary of Gray’s 5.69 ERA and time on the disabled list this past season, and the A’s aren’t likely to consider selling Gray at a discounted price, so agreeing on price with interested teams certainly presents some hurdles. Gray is still just 27 and is controlled for another three seasons.
- With Brian McCann shipped out today, the Yankees appear to be turning their attention to additions to the roster. Pitching is at the top of the list, with Rich Hill a possible target, Olney tweets. And he adds that slugger Carlos Beltran remains a target. As James Wagner of the New York Times reports (Twitter links), GM Brian Cashman says that the organization is looking to add bats. While it isn’t committed to spending big, he says he expects to continue discussions with top-of-the-market hitter Yoenis Cespedes. “I’m sure we’ll talk again,” said Cashman of his contact with Cespedes’s reps. “Now that we have more flexibility, it gives us more choices.”
- Though the Braves have been connected to several top young starters, their focus is on trying to work a deal with the White Sox for Chris Sale, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s still unclear just how hard Atlanta will push to pry him loose, and certainly Chicago isn’t in a position where it needs to move its affordable, excellent, and still-youthful ace. And as O’Brien notes, the Braves have signaled previously that they aren’t interested in emptying their farm to move toward contention — though there may be an added willingness to give up some premium assets in this case, as would certainly be necessary to get something done.
- The Blue Jays are looking into infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. It seems that Toronto would like to add a right-handed-hitting piece with some defensive versatility, with Rodriguez joining Steve Pearce as plausible targets. The idea would be to utilize such a player as a platoon complement to first baseman Justin Smoak (a switch-hitter who struggles against lefties) and in the corner outfield.