As you may have noticed during the 40-man roster hubbub, former top prospect Brent Honeywell Jr. was traded from the Rays to the Athletics in exchange for cash considerations. For the Rays, losing Honeywell was simply a roster crunch issue, as well as a desire to give him more opportunities, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “We wanted more than anything to give him an opportunity to go somewhere and get a chance to pitch on a regular basis,” said Kevin Ibach, Rays senior director of pro personnel and pro scouting, per Topkin.
Honeywell made his way back from multiple arm injuries to make his Major League debut in 2021, but his future is simply too uncertain for the Rays, who are looking to maximize their competitive window in a tightly-contested AL East. The A’s, on the contrary, are looking to scale back their payroll. Honeywell, therefore, fits the bill for them as a high-ceiling, high-risk arm who bring a touch of intrigue to the roster.
The 26-year-old is out of options, so he’ll need to make the team out of spring training to avoid being exposed to waivers. He’s likely to pitch a swing role out of the bullpen, though much depends on what how many players the A’s ultimately end up dealing this winter.
The Rays have been typically proactive in clearing 40-man roster space this winter, dealing away Mike Brosseau, Louis Head, and prospect Tobias Myers in addition to Honeywell and southpaw Ryan Sherriff, who was claimed off waivers, and Adam Conley, who elected free agency after being designated for assignment. The Rays are not coy about trading prospects like Honeywell and Myers, especially as a means of “paying it forward,” or acquiring younger prospects for players that need to be on the 40-man roster.