The Rays could strike a late-spring deal involving one of their pitchers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). It’s not immediately clear how likely that scenario is, but it’s interesting that it’s a real consideration at this stage of camp.
Tampa Bay already parted with important staff members at last year’s trade deadline, when it shipped Matt Moore to the Giants, and earlier this winter, when Drew Smyly was dealt to the Mariners. But the organization also ended up adding a MLB pitching candidate over the winter when it swapped second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers for intriguing prospect Jose De Leon.
Now, it seems, the Rays are again looking to tweak their staff mix. The “strongest candidate” to be moved, per the report, is righty Erasmo Ramirez, who Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times recently suggested as a possible trade candidate. The 26-year-old has turned in 254 innings of 3.76 ERA ball, with 6.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9, over his two seasons in Tampa Bay. Though he functioned mostly as a starter in 2015, Ramirez worked almost exclusively from the pen last year.
With just $3.2MM owed to Ramirez and two more years of arbitration control remaining, he’d be an appealing acquisition target to a variety of organizations. Several teams are said to be looking to bolster their rotation depth to account for ailing starters, and Ramirez would represent a sturdy starting option who could transition to a pen role as needed.
That same versatility is of obvious value to the Rays, though the team has a similarly flexible pitcher on hand in Matt Andriese with numerous other arms available on the 40-man roster. Presumably, pitchers other than Ramirez could also be on the move in the right circumstances. Righty Alex Cobb has long been discussed as a possible trade target, though parting with him would likely mean selling low given that he only made it back very late in 2016 after a long Tommy John rehab. Top starters Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi have also been chatted about quite a bit, though both would represent major trade targets for rival organizations.