Given the loss of Kevin Kiermaier for upwards of three months and an ugly 4-12 start to the season, the Rays ought to be open to selling veteran pieces right now rather than waiting until the summer, opines Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. While there’s some logic to hold onto Chris Archer until later this year, particularly given his advantageous contract, Topkin argues in favor of trading other veterans such as Wilson Ramos, Adeiny Hechavarria, Alex Colome and Denard Span in the near future. Beyond that, however, Topkin posits that the Rays should make those moves as a means of paving way for well-regarded prospects like Willy Adames, Christian Arroyo and Jake Bauers, rather than just swapping out their veteran assets for stopgaps and replacement-level fillers. With the Rays already 9.5 games out of first place in the division, Baseball Prospectus pegs Tampa Bay’s postseason odds at just seven percent, while Fangraphs’ projections give the Rays a minuscule 0.2 percent chance of even securing a Wild Card berth.
- WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford takes a look back at the Red Sox’ efforts to sign Shohei Ohtani out of high school back in 2013, chatting with then-Red Sox scouts Jon Deeble and Eddie Romero about their initial meeting with Ohtani. (Deeble is now the Dodgers’Pacific Rim director, while Romero is an assistant GM in Boston.) Both men recall Boston’s tireless pursuit of the player who Romero describes as “the best pitching prospect I had ever seen.” Ben Cherington, the Red Sox’ GM at the time, gave Deeble and Romero the green light to pursue Ohtani as aggressively as possible — including an agreement to let him develop as a two-way player if he signed with Boston. The Red Sox and Dodgers, Deeble suggests, would likely have been the finalists for Ohtani had he signed with a big league club out of high school, but NPB’s Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters were ultimately able to convince Ohtani to begin his professional career in his home country. Bradford’s column is full of quotes from Deeble and Romero on Ohtani as an amateur and a very interesting pursuit, which makes for a fun look back at what might have been.
- Jonathan Schoop’s injury could push the Orioles to look outside the organization for some infield depth, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Kubatko notes that the O’s have held interest in Erick Aybar in the past, and the longtime Angels shortstop is currently unsigned after spending much of Spring Training with the Twins. Kubatko also indicates that the Orioles had interest in bringing Jace Peterson aboard after his DFA from the Yankees, but the Yanks were able to bring him back on board by offering a more lucrative split contract to the utilityman. “A number of teams” had interest in Peterson, per Kubatko, but he’ll remain in the Bronx for the time being.