The Rays are in the market for catching help, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Tampa Bay recently ruled out Opening Day backstop Mike Zunino for the remainder of the season after it was revealed he’d require thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.
That Zunino won’t return surely didn’t come as much of a surprise to the Tampa Bay front office. He’s been out since early June with TOS symptoms. He’d been trying to avoid going under the knife, but surgery has long loomed as a possibility. The Rays already addressed the position to some extent in the wake of Zunino’s absence, landing Christian Bethancourt from the A’s three weeks ago. He’s primarily paired with Francisco Mejía behind the dish, but Mejía himself landed on the injured list with a shoulder impingement a few days ago.
Tampa Bay is down to Bethancourt, René Pinto and prospect Ford Proctor — who’s struggling in Triple-A and has never played in the majors — as healthy backstops on the 40-man roster. Even if Mejía isn’t expected to miss too long, catching’s a viable target area. Both Mejía and Bethancourt have hit for some power this season, but neither has an on-base percentage approaching .300. Both are also generally regarded as fringy receivers — albeit with excellent arm strength — and Mejía typically rates as a below-average pitch framer. Currently holding a 1 1/2 game lead on the Guardians for the American League’s final Wild Card spot, the Rays figure to explore a wide range of possibilities to upgrade the roster over the next three days.
Willson Contreras is easily the top catcher who’s likely to move. It’s a virtual inevitability the Cubs will deal the impending free agent, who carries a career-best .252/.369/.460 line. He’s playing this season on a $9.625MM salary, around $3.6MM of which remains to be paid out. Longtime division rival Christian Vázquez, who’s due around $2.6MM through season’s end, would be available if the Red Sox market their impending free agents. Pedro Severino and Tucker Barnhart are less impactful options who’d come at a light acquisition cost.
As long-term solutions go, A’s backstop Sean Murphy is the top candidate on the market. He won’t qualify for arbitration until next offseason, and he’s controllable through the 2025 campaign. One of the sport’s top defensive backstops, Murphy has gotten hot at the plate this month after a slow start. He’s up to a .241/.318/.421 season mark that easily tops the .225/.294/.363 line compiled by catchers around the league. The acquisition cost would be massive given his control, but the A’s figure to at least entertain offers with top prospect Shea Langeliers nearing major league readiness. With Zunino headed for free agency at the end of the year, the Rays could inquire on Murphy as a player who’d upgrade their catching corps both for the stretch run and the next couple seasons.
I’ll be surprised if the Raymonds get Contreras (or even want to).
Or anybody else.
The Ray’s won’t want to meet the Cub’s demands for Contreras. If they’re going to give up talent, Murphy makes more sense.
2022 World Series Champion Sting Rays
Yankee fans like you make everyone hate the Yankees.. Gonna sign Judge you cheapskates?
@SCarton12- I’ve already been taking care of. Thanks for your concern though. You thought I was leaving?
I think the Rays have lost to many important guys to win it all at this point. Last year looked like a better shot for the Rays.
I’d love to get Murphy.
@DevilRaysTime- Nah Murphy is way too expensive.
Judge is going to look great in Dodger blue.
Or the Mets blue and orange 🙂
The Tigers have an excellent defensive C on an expiring contract available in Tucker Barnhart but he never gets mentioned.
He is mentioned is this article as an option.
Trade for any one of the White Sox 3 catchers.
Just give them Grandal. Keep the kids
Rays will find some depth minor leaguer who will put up like a .750 OPS and be a master defender behind the dish. It’s the Rays’ way.
When? Zunino was always a known quantity when they got him.
Stop stealing the A’s narratives!
Not saying catcher specifically, but look at the other players they’ve plucked off the scrap pile and have turned into useful major leaguers for at least one season. Ji-Man Choi, Harold Ramirez, Mike Brosseau, Traivs d’Aarnaud, like the entierity of their bullpen. It would totally be a Rays thing to do to find some Quad-A, fourth-string catcher collecting dust in some other team’s minor league system, just for him to become a starting caliber guy in less than a year.
Oh, I do agree, they do find treasure like Oakland does. But just not at catcher.
They did it with d’Arnaud. Heck, even Mike Zunino, although a good prospect at one point, had just an .689 OPS and 89 OPS+ when the Rays acquired him. Even Kevan Smith gave them decent production as the second catcher in 2020 (shortened season, I know, but what second catcher gives you a .830 OPS in a small sample size?).
Plenty of catchers go off in small samples.
Meh, I wouldn’t describe any of those guys as “scrap heap” guys. But I get what youre saying.
The cubs literally gave the rays Harold Ramirez during the spring and he’s went on to rake in Tampa.
d’Aarnaud definitley was a scrapheap guy. 89 OPS+ and just 119 games played in the three seasons before the Rays acquired him. Negative OPS+ in 2019 before being acquired. Released once by the Mets and DFA’d by the Dodgers.
Yeah, the Rays were futile w/catchers b4 Zunino and Mejia.
Yup, great pick-up.
That’s the way you do it when you have a $39 million dollar payroll. Lol
Vidal Brujan is going to end up on the A’s one way or another, lol
I’d like that. He could get regular playing time at the major league level where he belongs. He does need to learn to become a more successful base stealer, though.
His trade value is much lower now. He will not get a quality player for him unless he is just part of a package.
Crazy that the Red Sox could trade Vazquez instead of resigning him. There aren’t options in the minors and the market for catches isn’t good outside Contreras. Bloom is a disaster.
Meanwhile, Billy Beane has done nothing but draft and trade for catchers, while already having arguably the best catcher in the league (ceiling not present production level, although he’s been improving every month…) with Murphy.
I like Murphy, but Kirk and Will Smith defintiley have a higher ceiling than Sean.
Kirk is a rookie, we cant really tell what kind of long term player he might be – and he likely end up a full time DH due to body type.
Will Smith is right there with the best C’s in the game. I think its negligible between him and Murphy tbh. Murphy already has a gold glove, Smith doesn’t, but Smith clears Murphy with the overall bat profile thus far…although that part might change if Murphy keeps up his current .806 OPS over last 55 games.
Yes, but you said ceiling, so future production and ability. Kirk has made massive strides defensively and currently outdoes Murphy in DRS and framing runs while being arguably the best hitting catcher in the league. He’s trending upward.
@ A’sfanninUK Kirk is not a rookie and he is actually one of the better defensive catchers in the league. Its unfortunate the Blue Jays don’t know this as they only let him catch once or twice a week giving way instead to a below average defender and one of the worst game callers and pitch framers in Danny Jansen.
Billy Beane is no longer the GM of the A’s and has mostly checked out. Frost is the GM now.
That isn’t true, Beane signs off on all things Forst does, as well as still doing his own deals. He literally tells Forst what to do. Its just a stupid naming issue here that you are nitpicking.
He 100% isn’t “mostly checked out” hahahaha wow what an insane take
Correct, Billy Beane is David Forts’ boss and they both report to yet another boss mainly John Fisher. Talented managers doomed by a greedy billionaire owner…
Beane has checked out. He is more concerned with soccer than baseball now. Frost doesn’t need Beane’s approval on trades.
I’d trade one of the prospect catchers to the A’s for Langeliers!!
I think Billy Bean woyld like Pinto!!
ha ha. If Pinto was any good the Rays are not shopping for a catcher.
They’ll settle for Tucker Barnhart, a great framer who likely will hit again, … once out of Detroit
IF the Cubs end up trading Contreras, Barnhart would be the ideal guy for the Cubs as a stop gap.
Do the Rays really need someone that can hit or really just manage the game and do a good job of catching
Anthiony Benboom can’t hit a lick, but he is a tremendous catcher.
Yes, those catchers are a dime a dozen and every team has them. But the goal is to have a great defender + at least a league average bat at catcher.
Murphy is an improving hitter with 70 grade power (he already has multiple 450+ ft bombs), his ceiling is basically JT Realmuto with potentially more power, just give him another season or two in the league and you will see it.
C Yards Jeff
@Lefty_Orioles_Fan; me too. I think the Rays are looking for a Bemboom type as well. He was getting playing time this year with the Birds too before being shuffled to Norfolk to make way for Adley. So, he’s recently “show” tested! And the Rays know him.
Interesting times. Considering the Birds surprising run here, I’m thinking that might kill any chance of this happening?
Maybe, but I wonder if Benboom can opt out
C Yards Jeff
@LeftyOsFan, Hmm. “opt out” Good question. Possibly? maybe? Quite honestly, not sure.
Why don’t the rays just trade for Carlos Santana stick him behind the dish and have him catch he’s an on base machine and although he hasn’t caught in a few years I’m sure it’ll come back with time and you’d only have to give up some prospects
The Mariners arent trading the guy they just got to THEIR WILD CARD RIVAL!!!!
Hasn’t caught in a few years is a massive understatement. He hasn’t caught regularly since 2013 and hasn’t even put on the gear since 2014.
Carlos Santana cannot catch. Royals put another position player back there this year when Matheny ran out of catchers once (because he loves to use catchers as his DH). Work a trade with the Royals and get them to throw in Gallager, who is great at framing and won’t cost anything. Solid guy for pennant run.
Gallagher cant go to Toronto though, and playoffs will likely be played there this year.
Jays have 3 high end MLB ready catchers all with years of control, maybe there’s a deal for Jansen but it would have to be for the Ray’s best reliever.
1 Goose Man
Kinda… Kirk is turning into a hitter that can catch. Moreno is next year. Jansen handles the staff the best. The Jays and Rays would make strange bedfellows though.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t trade for a Brewers catcher they have Severino, Narvaez, Jackson, or Feliciano that they can move and still be okay going with Caratini and Reetz
Jung Like My Daddy
Padres. Luis campusano.
Padres could use some pitching depth in the event they can’t find suitable long term replacements for Manaea and Clevinger
Say Rays get Campusano
Padres get Cole Wilcox back Colby White, Mason Montgomery
I’m sure there’s a deal to be had involving Campusano to the Rays and pitching to the Padres that benefits both long term.
Why won’t the Pads give Campusano a chance. What is it about his game that they don’t trust? Is he that bad defensively?
Alfaro and Nola have the position sewn up. No room at the inn. Now if we trade Nola to TB, Campy would be up.
I really don’t get the Pads interest in Contreras, given that Alfaro/Nola have been okay, and Campusano is on the way. Contreras is an upgrade but the price wouldn’t make sense, given the teams need help in OF/RP so much more. But if they do decide to trade for Contreras, they should consider dealing Nola or Alfaro to Rays, even if for low-end prospects.
Jung Like My Daddy
If they dont have plans to use Campusano full time I’d rather they use Campusano to get come controllable OF and pitching help.
Tons of teams seem to need a catcher of the future.
I’m sure padres can find a trade partner for Campusano easily.
You can have Tucker Barnhart.
Send them Stallings for a couple of minor league relievers and get something back from that mistake that was never necessary
A’s need a 1B so Curtis Mead would be who the A’s ask for Murphy. If they are unwilling to trade him then probably no trade goes through.
Murphy’s trade value is one of the highest in MLB. He’s getting back a massive haul, Mead would be the 3rd piece, not headlining.
He would be 1 of the pieces but how he has hit in July the A’s should not trade him. He has always been a player that needs a year to adjust each level he jumped up. I am hoping they do not trade him but if they do he brings back a huge haul.
Mead as the 3rd piece? Idk what you’re on but Mead as a headliner + 2-3 other top 15 prospects is easily fair value for Murphy.
Pads grab Contreras. TB trade for Nola. We all happy.
Pads have control of Nola (now at pre-Arb minimum salary) through 2025 so some value there. I don’t like the idea of them trading away prospects to Cubs for 2 month rental of Contreras, just don’t think it’s worthwhile as they have greater needs to fill.
doug Cam Galhager is a hidden gem who’s stuck behind Salvador Perez and now that MJ Melendez is up Cam will only be a backup in KC. Given a chance this guy is a good hitter and pretty good backstop. He wouldn’t cost as much to get either
The white Sox could be a fit too as they’re carrying Grandal, Zavala, and McGuire on the big league roster. Perez, in AAA, seems like he could at least replace McGuire’s production.
Can I interest the Rays in Logan O’Hoppe for a couple near ready pitching prospects? Preferably Bullpen help?
*sad Christian Bethancourt noises*
3 way trade
Contreras to Twins
Sanchez to Rays
Both teams send a prospect to Cubs
Ray’s would never tolerate Sanchez’s horse crap defense.
hahaha Sanchez isn’t a catcher. You have to catch the ball to be a catcher.
@SCarton12- I hear your a catcher?
The Dirty Sanchez to the Sting Rays?
I Nominate @StPeteStingRay- as the new Sting Ray Waterboy. You basically have one job to do, so so it right.
Should we offer up IKF and Ben Rortvedt for Wander Franco? They’ll save a $180 million in future commitments. Might as well help since the Rays basically only exist on Yankee dollars and displaced Yankee fans in Florida!
You mad bro?!
Not at all. It’s a good weekend, feeling very relaxed and positive today. How ’bout you?
@RobM- I guarantee you he’s not very relaxed, if he’s looking at the Sting Rays record this year.
Just don’t trade any of the good prospects…this is not the year, don’t waste talent on maybe a third wild card (which I find doubtful at this pt–M’s, Jays, and either White Sox or Twins).
I agree, they lost half the team to injury. You can’t trade for those losses.
If they wanted to go for a simple trade, Tyler Heineman would probably be available.
We could listen to offers for Alfaro. We’re rowing a similar boat here, fdp!
Every Rays thread you respond with bitterness.
Me thinks it’s jealousy.
The small payroll Rays are always pestering the mighty, mighty Yankees.
It’s ok, lil buddy, good ball respects good ball, you should recognize and appreciate, the excellence that the AL East (all of them) brings out in each other.
Have a fine day or whatever day you wish, to have.
Tampa Bay Rays fan, all-around baseball fan.
He is an insufferable, miserable Yankee fan isn’t he?
@SCarton12- why do you seem so salty? Is it time for your nap? Lol
He is a troll, posts nonstop about the rays. The rays live in his head( unlike anything else)
@Mrsuntan- great screen name. Why don’t you go outside, and you know, get some sun?
@EagleSting- what do I have to be jealous of, that AAA team you call a major league team? Why don’t you go buy some pull-ups, before you make a mess again.
Brewer fan…y’all can have Severino for a lottery ticket. He can’t play in the post-season, but could fill in for now.
Was the lottery ticket purchased in Illinois?
I won…..nothing. How unusual.
How is it that the Tampa Bay Rays are always really good, loaded with very young talent, and cannot get fans into their park?
From afar, Florida seems like a state with lots of $, retirees, that would love to go watch and support them? I don’t get it, but I’ve never been there. I’m impressed with their ability to find and develop talent.
If you lived in Boston or New York until retirement, then moved to the Bay area, would you dropt the Sox, Yanks, or Mets to become a Rays fan? Or just go to a game when your team was in town?
Good afternoon eddiemathews-
Which is also one of the major problems that the Rays play in a very transient area. I’ve been here since 86 so it was easy to change my allegiance. What’s crazy is every Rays opening day has been sold out regardless of whom they play! The Yankees have their spring training in Tampa- how crazy is that?
Valid point, however, I’d still support my local Rays especially with all of their young studs all over the place. Amazing how they do it.
I wish the Giants scouting/drafting department could shadow the Rays folks for a few years.
They play in a vacant area when the heat sets in. All snowbirds in St. Pete.
Move them to tampa where the lightning play and they will avg 20 thousand a game. The lightning sell out EVERY GAME
Central Valley- The Trop where the Rays play has no appeal like the big cities ballparks do. There is no mass transit therefore for both of those reasons you get very little walk up crowd. Plus to get anything approved is like pulling teeth! With all that said and done the Rays have won the last two division titles made their 2nd appearance in the World Series in the last 3 years. ** Although attendance sucks the Rays TV ratings are usually in the top 10!! Maybe need to make a major splash at deadline to get some momentum going for the stadium before it’s to late. Wander and Soto on the same team sounds good to me.
You were making a lot of sense til you said Soto. That’s not happening
That was after a few beerssorry!! Wishful thinking!!
I guess @StPeteStingRays- is sitting out today. Taking one of the team?
Cap, I say this with all due respect (some might say I’m giving you too much…) but you truly sound miserable. Maybe take a break? Walk outside, leave the phone at home, maybe grab a snack at a bodega and chat somebody up about baseball or hit up a fine female friend for drinks? Even trolls need a vacation, amirite?
my friend, wouldnt you like something a little better to do than calling out commentors on a baseball website? if u want w suggestion, do me a favor and go find a very large rock, and then kick it, courtesy of us all here
He is a commenter as well. Yet here you are, calling him out. Take your own advice.
Hello, my personal troll. I’ve been busy taking care of adult responsibilities, but you wouldn’t know anything of the sort. Stay in school, kid.
Yasmani Grandal is available.
Thoracic outlet Syndrome is the new Tommy John surgery, everyone’s getting it.
I’ve seen Ford Proctor play a few times this year. He is struggling with the bat this season and certainly not ready. Scouting reports say his biggest value is his baseball acumen and versatility. He’s projected to be a lefty hitting version of Austin Nola and a future coach/manager/GM/etc.
Speaking of Austin Nola, he’d be a good fit for TB if they can’t land Contreras or Murphy. Could also have a three way trade where Contreras goes to the Mets, McCann goes to Tampa, and the Cubs get one prospect from Tampa and two from the Mets…
Of course the Mets would have to help pay for McCann and his $12M salary each of the next two years. McCann is on a minor league rehab assignment right now, but due back next week…
Ford Proctor – isn’t he a character from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
Cheap rays likely will settle for Kirk Suzuki
Rumor has it that they tried getting Jose Mooolina to come out of retirement, but he wasn’t fond of the contract structure. The Rays offered half his salary in concession vouchers…
I could see Severino as a fit though he would be ineligible for the postseason.
Murphy is the best all around catcher available on the market with low costs and multiple years of club control.
Rays would be a perfect fit for Murphy.
Rays farm is brimming with great, young prospects and players.
Would be surprised if a deal was not done between the A’s and the Rays.
I’d go after Severino.