Though the common belief is that the Rays wouldn’t make an expensive splash to add Craig Kimbrel, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that there’s somewhat of a “never say never” sentiment within the organization as Kimbrel continues to linger (and as his price likely drops in corresponding fashion). The right-hander doesn’t appear likely to cash in on the mega contract he sought early in the offseason, and it’s not clear at this point how many clubs would even have interest on a multi-year pact. I ran through some potential landing spots for Kimbrel on shorter-term deals (with a significant annual value) last Friday and largely glossed over the Rays due to their historic reluctance to spend at that level and due to the fact that Kimbrel would require forfeiture of a draft pick (another prior sticking point for Tampa Bay). However, with a projected Opening Day payroll of just $60MM and only $27MM on the books in 2020 (per Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez), the Rays certainly have the payroll space to add Kimbrel if they look to break character for a second time this winter after already inking Charlie Morton (two years, $30MM). The Rays opened the 2018 season with a $76MM payroll.
Here’s more from the AL East…
- The Orioles would trade any of their starters who are “making significant money,” Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes in his latest notes column (subscription required). It’s hardly surprising that Baltimore would jump at the opportunity to shed the remaining $43MM (over three years) on Alex Cobb’s contract or the $8MM owed to Andrew Cashner this season, but Rosenthal also lists right-hander Dylan Bundy (earning $2.8MM) among the group. Moving Bundy would be more surprising given his affordable salary and remaining three seasons of control, though it seems unlikely they’d sell low on the former No. 4 overall pick after he led the Majors with 41 homers allowed last season. Bundy, 26, has demonstrated very appealing K/BB numbers over the past two seasons, but home runs have continually been a problem for him at the MLB level. A trade of any of the three seems extraordinarily unlikely to happen before Opening Day, but if any of that trio is performing well early in the year, he’ll emerge as a trade candidate this summer.
- Red Sox right-hander Brandon Workman opened Spring Training with a fastball that was sitting 92 to 93 mph, writes Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald, but his velocity has dipped substantially in recent outings. Workman has averaged 87 to 89 mph on his fastball in his past two outings, and manager Alex Cora spoke to Mastrodonato about the current “dead arm” Workman is attempting to overcome. As Mastrodonato points out, the majority of Boston’s candidates for the bullpen have struggled this spring, which at least has the potential to open the door for a prospect like Darwinzon Hernandez to get a look.