The Rays have been one of baseball’s most active clubs on the trade market, acquiring Lucas Duda, Steve Cishek, Dan Jennings and Sergio Romo in the past week as they gear up for a run at the American League East. And, despite having picked up three bullpen arms, they’re still exploring the relief market, according to MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). Per Rosenthal, the Rays are still looking into Padres lefty Brad Hand, among others.
Even with Cishek, Jennings and Romo in the fold, the Rays have some room for upgrades, as can be seen on their depth chart over at Roster Resource. Rookie Adam Kolarek has been the second lefty in the ’pen behind the newly acquired Jennings, but he was optioned to Triple-A tonight after struggling through his first 10 appearances as a big leaguer (h/t: Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, on Twitter). As such, the Rays’ interest in Hand — or a continuation of their previously reported interest in Tigers lefty Justin Wilson — would make plenty of sense.
From the right side, Romo himself is far from a sure thing after struggling badly with the Dodgers. He was picked up in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations after being designated for assignment, so the Rays don’t need to afford him a long leash if he performs poorly or if the opportunity to acquire a superior option presents itself. Kolarek’s option back to Triple-A will create room to add Cishek to the relief corps, but that will also leave Tampa Bay with just one lefty (Jennings) in the bullpen.