MLB Trade Rumors » » Tampa Bay Rays 2017-10-18T20:44:22Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rays Notes: Morrison, Ballpark, Coaches, McKay]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=104726 2017-10-14T15:43:51Z 2017-10-14T15:43:51Z It seems like “a longshot” that Logan Morrison will return to the Rays next year, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain opines as part of a reader mailbag piece.  Morrison posted middling numbers in 2016 and underwent wrist surgery in September of that year, which cooled his free agent market to the point that the Rays were able to re-sign him to a one-year, $2.5MM deal.  That proved to be a nice bargain for Tampa Bay, as Morrison hit .246/.353/.516 with 38 homers over 601 plate appearances.  The Rays seem committed to giving rookie Jake Bauers a shot at first base next year but are looking for a veteran depth option, and they’d certainly be open to a reunion with Morrison if he again faced a thin market.  However, Morrison’s career year has likely earned him a steadier full-time gig and priced him out of Tampa’s plans.  Here’s some more on the Rays…

  • Hillsborough Country officials have run into difficulty trying to secure downtown land for the Rays’ new ballpark, forcing the search for a new site to expand to Tampa’s West Shore area, Steve Contorto of the Tampa Bay Times reports.  While the West Shore area has some positives as a potential ballpark site, “broadening the hunt at this point — 22 months after St. Petersburg allowed the Rays to search for a new home away from Tropicana Field — can only be seen as a step backward for an effort many hoped would have been wrapped up by now,” Contorto writes.  It isn’t certain if a new site will be agreed upon before the year is over, and once a site is found, there’s still the large matter of determining of how the costs of the new ballpark will be split between the team and the county.
  • The Rays have 5-10 candidates on their list of potential interviewees for their vacant third base coach and assistant hitting coach vacancies, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.  Tigers third base coach Dave Clark, Phillies third base coach Juan Samuel, former Mariners bench coach Tim Bogar and Triple-A hitting coach Ozzie Timmons are all possible candidates, with Topkin wondering if Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield could also get some consideration.
  • Top prospect Brendan McKay will be working strictly as a position player during instructional league action this fall, though Rays director of minor league operations Mitch Lukevics tells MLB.com’s Mike Rosenbaum that this decision was made due to McKay already throwing quite a few innings this year between college and minor league games.  The fourth overall pick of the 2017 draft posted a 1.80 ERA over 20 IP at low-A ball this season while hitting .232/.349/.376 in his first 149 professional plate appearances, playing at first base and serving as a designated hitter.  It it yet to be seen if “Two Way McKay” will continue both pitching and playing in the field, though the Rays still appear open to using McKay in this intriguing dual capacity.
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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays Likely To Issue Alex Cobb Qualifying Offer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=104651 2017-10-14T05:23:19Z 2017-10-13T00:21:27Z
  • Though payroll is always an issue for the Rays, they’re nonetheless expected to make righty Alex Cobb an $18.1MM qualifying offer, per Heyman. The 30-year-old logged a career-high 179 1/3 innings in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, pitching to a 3.66 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 47.8 percent ground-ball rate. Cobb should draw widespread interest, though I’d personally imagine that the fact that he’s yet to ever reach even 180 innings in a single season (to say nothing of 2017’s diminished strikeout rate) will limit his marketability to some extent. Still, Cobb should be able to score a more lucrative multi-year deal, and it’s difficult to imagine him accepting a QO.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rays Outright Kevin Gadea]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=104478 2017-10-09T19:44:33Z 2017-10-09T19:44:33Z
  • The Rays have outrighted right-hander Kevin Gadea to Triple-A Durham, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Gadea joined the Rays last December as a Rule 5 pick from the Mariners, but elbow problems prevented him from throwing a pitch with his new organization in 2017. Tampa Bay offered Gadea back to Seattle after removing the 22-year-old from the 60-day disabled list and before outrighting him, but the Mariners declined, Topkin reports. Therefore, unless someone takes Gadea in this year’s Rule 5 draft, he’ll stay with the Rays.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Inside The Rays' Coaching Changes]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=104402 2017-10-08T16:19:00Z 2017-10-08T16:16:44Z
  • “It was just time” for the Rays to shake up their coaching staff, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, though this need manifested itself in a few different ways.  Pitching coach Jim Hickey, for instance, said he had a “difference of opinion” about the team’s plan to go to the bullpen earlier in the games.  Hickey already seemed likely to leave when his contract was up after the 2018 season, with an eye towards joining a more consistent contender.  The Mets and Cardinals have already been rumored to be after Hickey to fill their pitching coach vacancies this winter.  The Rays’ changes have resulted in just one coach (bullpen coach Stan Boroski) remaining from Joe Maddon’s staff, so manager Kevin Cash now has more of his own people in place.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Tom Foley Out As Rays' Bench Coach]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103962 2017-10-03T21:46:38Z 2017-10-03T21:46:25Z
  • The Rays intend to promote Triple-A pitching coach Kyle Snyder to the big league job, and also move third base coach Charlie Montoyo to bench coach, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).  Snyder spent parts of five seasons with the Royals and Red Sox from 2003-08, including tossing 54 1/3 relief innings for Boston during its World Series championship season in 2007.  Snyder has been a pitching coach in the Rays organization since 2012 and he has been at Triple-A Durham since 2015.  Montoyo has been part of Tampa’s organization since 1997, serving at a minor league manager at all levels before taking the third base coaching job in 2015.  The Tigers and Mets have both reportedly shown interest in Montoyo as a managerial candidate, so his promotion to bench coach could presumably be short-lived if he is offered a managing job.
  • Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey won’t return to his position next year, as he and the team have mutually decided to part ways, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter).  One of the game’s longest-tenured pitching coaches, Hickey has been with the Rays since November 2006, overseeing the development of several notable Rays arms.  Prior to coming to Tampa, Hickey served as the Astros’ pitching coach for two and a half season, plus over eight more years as a pitching coach in Houston’s minor league system.
  • Tom Foley will not return as the bench coach for the Rays in 2018, Mark Topkins of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The decision was mutual. Foley has been a coach for Tampa Bay since 2002; he’ll now reportedly take on a different role within the organization.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Shohei Otani]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103842 2017-10-02T04:21:03Z 2017-10-02T04:21:03Z
  • Perhaps with this in mind, the Rays are also “sincere” about their interest in Otani, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.  The Rays usually don’t have the financial resources to compete for blue-chip international talent, though Otani’s situation presents a unique opportunity.  The Rays can offer Otani a chance to both pitch and hit, and they can point to their willingness to let fourth overall pick Brendan McKay be a two-way player as an example of their flexibility.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tigers Ask Rays About Charlie Montoyo As Managerial Candidate]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103826 2017-10-02T02:50:07Z 2017-10-02T02:50:07Z If this is it for Jaso, the 34-year-old will be hanging up the spikes after 2591 career PA over parts of nine seasons with the Rays, Mariners, A’s and (for the last two seasons) Pirates.  Injuries and struggles against left-handed pitching limited Jaso’s usage as an everyday player, though he was very productive in various part-time capacities.  Jaso posted good career splits against right-handed pitching and was an above-average run producer overall in six of his eight full seasons, finishing with a 115 wRC+ for his career.  If this it for Jaso, we wish him congratulations on a fine career and we tip our hats to his most immediate postseason endeavor — helping with relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

    • The Tigers have asked the Rays about third base coach Charlie Montoyo, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  It’s hard to know where Montoyo sits on the Tigers’ list of managerial candidates due to the sheer number of names in their search; according to Heyman, Detroit began the process with around 50 names under consideration.  Montoyo, who has also drawn interest from the Mets, has been Tampa’s third base coach for three seasons and a manager at all rungs of their minor league system from 1997-2014.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rays Notes: Montoyo, Mets, Sternberg, Payroll, Cobb]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103675 2017-09-29T22:22:04Z 2017-09-29T22:22:04Z The Mets have an interest in talking to Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo about their upcoming managerial vacancy, Adam Rubin reports (Twitter link).  Montoyo has been a fixture in the Rays organization even before the franchise’s first MLB game, managing his way up the farm system ranks from 1997-2014, including eight years at Triple-A Durham.  He joined the big league staff in his current role prior to the 2015 season after receiving some consideration for the manager’s job that eventually went to Kevin Cash.  Montoyo also interviewed with the Mariners prior to Scott Servais’ hiring.  With Terry Collins widely expected to not be returning to the Mets’ dugout in 2018, Montoyo is the latest of several names already rumored to be in the running to be New York’s new manager.

    Here are some more Rays-related items, stemming from a Q&A between principal owner Stuart Sternberg and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (part one; part two)…

    • Sternberg is disappointed at the team’s late fade from playoff contention but doesn’t regret spending extra money and dealing prospects for midseason upgrades.  “We’d do it 10 times out of 10 again…I’d love to be in that position every year to be able to do that with the kind of team we thought we had, and the team we had up until the All-Star break,” Sternberg said.
    • Those extra expenditures, however, will impact the team’s 2018 plans.  The payroll will “absolutely” drop from its current $80MM range, and though Sternberg doesn’t “anticipate” an enormous payroll dropoff and a shift towards a rebuild, he also didn’t entirely rule out the possibility: “The team is good enough clearly, and we have confidence in the guys, but we’ll see how the offseason goes. Who’s available to us? What’s available in trade for us? We try to react to what the market is going to bear.”
    • No management changes seem to be forthcoming, as Sternberg expressed confidence in the front office and in Kevin Cash’s work in the dugout.
    • It’s a big stretch” to keep players like Alex Cobb to the very end of their contracts, given how the Rays often look to trade veteran stars and replenish the farm system.  Despite trade rumors throughout the year, Cobb stayed in the fold and delivered a solid season, leaving the Rays now potentially unable to get anything in return if Cobb signs elsewhere, given the risk involved in issuing him a qualifying offer.  Sternberg called Cobb “a quality guy” and praised the right-hander’s contribution to the team.
    • The Rays continue to lack revenue, as this season saw more low attendance despite a club that was contention for much of the year.  Sternberg cited lower-than-expected attendance numbers for visits from the Red Sox and Cubs, not to mention the unexpected shift of a home series against the Yankees moved to Citi Field due to Hurricane Irma.  “All in all, it was a minus-minus-minus. However, having said that, we’re incredibly fortunate for what could have been,” Sternberg said about the Citi Field series.
    • A new television contract is “way down the road” for the franchise, as Sternberg said that the Rays could end up receiving less than they currently do for broadcast rights “given what’s gone on with cord-cutting and the value of cable.”  Sternberg also hinted that the Rays could explore starting their own TV network.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays Notes: Ramos, Duffy, Offseason]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103419 2017-09-26T22:56:43Z 2017-09-26T21:48:05Z Rays backstop Wilson Ramos will reach an important milestone tonight, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times points out (on Twitter). Tonight’s start will be the 55th of the season for Ramos, which will bump his 2018 salary from $8.5MM to $10.5MM. That will push the total value of Ramos’ contract to a two years and $14.5MM, though he’ll have the opportunity to earn up to $750K worth of incentives next season. He could also technically boost next year’s salary by another $250K if he starts each of the final five games of the current season to reach 60 starts (though that, obviously, is quite unlikely.) Ramos looked poised for a massive payday in free agency late in the 2016 season, but a torn ACL suffered one year ago to the day significantly hampered his earning capacity. Thus far, he’s hit .263/.293/.444 with 10 homers through 211 plate appearances for Tampa Bay.

    A bit more out of St. Petersburg…

    • Infielder Matt Duffy played three innings in an instructional league game on Tuesday, writes Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays plan to build Duffy up to playing in a nine-inning game over the final seven games of instructional play, which the shortstop says will give him peace of mind heading into the offseason. Duffy tells Mooney that when he originally underwent surgery to repair his left heel last September, he was told to expect a recovery of three to six months. However, after three games of rehab work in May, he experienced recurring symptoms, and a calcium deposit that required surgical removal was discovered. Mooney writes that Duffy is still in the Rays’ plans for next season and spoke to senior VP Chaim Bloom about Duffy’s frustrating season.
    • Duffy’s role with the team will be somewhat contingent on the team’s plans for Adeiny Hechavarria, but MLB.com’s Bill Chastain writes in his latest mailbag column that he expects the team to retain Hechavarria in arbitration this winter. Hechavarria hasn’t hit much with Tampa Bay, just .249/.284/.398 in 265 plate appearances, and he’s due a raise on this year’s $4.35MM salary. Still, his defensive prowess is an asset for the Rays, as Hechavarria has posted a strong +7 mark in Defensive Runs Saved with the Rays and +4 in Ultimate Zone Rating (+12.7 UZR/150). Chastain also discusses the Rays’ potential group of free agents with the offseason looming and the limited chances of retaining the likes of Alex Cobb, Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda, Steve Cishek and Tommy Hunter.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Altuve, Yadi, Olson, Red Sox]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103396 2017-09-26T05:04:23Z 2017-09-26T05:04:23Z Here are the latest health notes from around the game:

    • The Astros dodged a bullet tonight when star second baseman Jose Altuve left the game after being struck on the forearm by a pitch. Thankfully, as Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets, x-rays came back negative. The diminutive 27-year-old is leading the American League in hits for the fourth consecutive year and in batting average for the third time in four seasons. He’s also pacing qualified batters with a career-best 168 OPS+.
    • Also departing with an injury tonight was Cardinals veteran Yadier Molina. The team announced that he’s undergoing testing as part of the concussion protocol after taking two consecutive foul balls off of his mask. His status for the rest of the regular season remains uncertain, but it could become a bigger issue if St. Louis can claw into Wild Card position.
    • Athletics slugger Matt Olson has been diagnosed with a grade 2 hamstring strain, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. He’s very likely to miss the remainder of the season, but it won’t put a damper on an exciting campaign. Olson, 23, has streaked to 24 long balls in 216 trips to the plate, with a robust .259/.352/.651 batting line. He’ll fall shy of a full year of service, too, so the A’s will control Olson for six more campaigns.
    • Things didn’t go quite as hoped for the Red Sox tonight. Lefty Drew Pomeranz was sitting in the high-eighties with his fastball, though he says that was part of a plan to save some gas for the later innings, as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports. Star outfielder Mookie Betts left with a wrist issue, though there’s no reason as yet to think it’s significant. Of the greatest concern, perhaps, infielder Eduardo Nunez tweaked his injured knee. He suggested that he’ll sit out a few more games and try again to return, as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald tweets.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Rays To Consider Offers For Chris Archer, Alex Colome]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103330 2017-09-25T03:26:57Z 2017-09-25T03:21:02Z
  • As they’ve done in the past, the Rays will at least listen to offseason offers for right-hander Chris Archer and closer Alex Colome, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin adds that there’s no reason to believe the team will attempt to move third baseman and longtime face of the franchise Evan Longoria. On the other hand, righty Jake Odorizzi may find himself in another uniform next season, per Topkin. The 27-year-old has endured a down 2017 and only has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Wilson Ramos One Start From Increasing 2018 Salary]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103322 2017-09-24T18:41:05Z 2017-09-24T18:41:05Z
  • Rays catcher Wilson Ramos is one start away from increasing his 2018 salary from $8.5MM to $10.5MM, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times notes. Ramos needs to make 55 starts this year and not end up on the disabled list with a knee injury in order to collect that money, and it appears he’ll accomplish both feats. The Rays took a risk in signing the former National last winter after he suffered ACL and meniscus tears in his right knee with less than a week remaining in the 2016 regular season. Ramos didn’t debut with the Rays until June, and while he hasn’t come close to matching the stellar offensive and pitch-framing numbers he put up in Washington last year, he has gotten better at the plate as the season has advanced. Overall, the 30-year-old has hit .263/.293/.444 in 210 PAs.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rays Outright Danny Espinosa]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103150 2017-09-21T02:47:42Z 2017-09-21T02:34:39Z The Rays have outrighted infielder Danny Espinosa, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). His 40-man roster spot will go to lefty Xavier Cedeno, who is set to be activated from the 60-day DL.

    Espinosa, 30, saw limited action in Tampa Bay late in the season after a brief stop with the Mariners. He spent the first half of the year receiving regular time with the Angels — who acquired him from the Nationals over the offseason — but never came around at the plate. All told, the eight-year MLB veteran has stumbled to a .173/.245/.278 batting line this year.

    The switch-hitting Espinosa has never consistently produced at the plate, though he delivers a good bit of home run power for a middle infielder and has posted several seasons of near-average hitting despite his swing-and-miss proclivities. He’s a gifted up-the-middle defender and good baserunner, though, so he doesn’t have to hit all that much to be useful.

    Clearly, though, the offensive struggles this year were so significant that it was hard for Espinosa to hold down a roster spot. It’s perhaps still conceivable he could land a guaranteed deal for 2018, though odds are he’ll have to settle for a minor-league deal and a chance to earn a job with an infield-needy team in camp.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Alex Cobb May Have Made Last Home Start As A Ray]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102947 2017-09-17T20:31:41Z 2017-09-17T20:31:41Z
  • Right-hander Alex Cobb’s start on Saturday may have been his last at Tropicana Field as a member of the Rays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. As a member of the Rays since they selected him in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, the soon-to-be free agent isn’t ready to close the door on his tenure with the organization. “If it is, man, it would be sad,” Cobb said. “There’s been a lot of memories in this building and through this organization. I don’t really want to think about it yet. There is too much season left to go down that road yet. But it would be a tough thought if that’s it.” One of the most accomplished starters scheduled to hit the market in the offseason, the 29-year-old Cobb will likely price himself out of Tampa Bay. After undergoing Tommy John surgery that shelved him in 2015 and limited him to 22 innings last season, Cobb has revived his career this year with a 3.63 ERA, 6.44 K/9 against 2.23 BB/9, and a 47.7 percent groundball rate in 173 1/3 frames.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[AL East Teams Will Be Interested In Alex Cobb]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102879 2017-09-16T18:03:51Z 2017-09-16T18:03:51Z
  • The OriolesYankees and Blue Jays have seen Rays righty Alex Cobb up close in recent seasons, and they’ll be interested when he hits the market this winter, writes Cafardo. Cobb will also attract plenty of interest from outside the AL East as well, as he’ll be a good and more affordable alternative to a free agent ace.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102751 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:

    Keepers

    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Nunez, Nelson, Delgado, Kela, Capps, Rasmussen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102698 2017-09-13T01:40:10Z 2017-09-13T01:40:10Z Red Sox utilityman Eduardo Nunez feels he has dodged a bullet with his right knee injury, as Evan Drellich of CSSNE.com reports on Twitter. Nunez sprained his posterior cruciate ligament, but he says he anticipates returning before the year is up. That said, he’ll understandably also take his time to ensure he makes it back to full health. While Boston hasn’t yet nailed down a postseason spot, it is in excellent position and (at this point, at least) doesn’t seem in need of rushing back an important player.

    Here’s the latest on some other health issues from around the game:

    • The Brewers are still waiting to learn more on the status of key righty Jimmy Nelson, as Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports on Twitter. He received a second opinion on his shoulder injury today, though the outcome isn’t yet known. Nelson is expected to miss the rest of the season regardless, but the precise course of treatment hasn’t been determined.
    • Diamondbacks righty Randall Delgado is indeed dealing with a flexor strain, Jack Magruder of Fan Rag tweets. That initial diagnosis has now been confirmed; while that seemingly takes some worst-case scenarios out of play, he’s already slated to miss the remainder of the year. Delgado had thrown 62 2/3 frames of 3.59 ERA ball, posting 8.6 K/9 and an uncharacteristically low 2.0 BB/9, before going down. That should set him up for a decent raise on his $1.775MM salary for his final year of arbitration, though the price will still likely be low enough for Arizona to pick up the tab unless there’s real concern he won’t bounce back.
    • The Rangers announced that they’ve activated righty Keone Kela from the DL. The 24-year-old has been dealing with a shoulder injury, but could represent a nice boon to the club’s relief corps if he can get back in the swing of things late this year. Kela had pitched to a 2.36 ERA over 34 1/3 innings before hitting the DL.
    • Padres righty Carter Capps has been diagnosed with a blood clot, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports (Twitter links). He’s heading to the 60-day DL, ending his season and allowing the club to select the contract of Cory Mazzoni. The broader outlook for Capps isn’t clear. San Diego will have to decide whether to tender him a contract this winter. He hasn’t been all that inspiring thus far since returning from Tommy John surgery, allowing nine earned runs with a 7:2 K/BB ratio in 12 1/3 innings while averaging just 93.2 mph with his fastball (over five mph off of his most recent readings from 2015). That said, Capps will likely command only around $1MM; the club could at least take him into camp and cut bait before that full amount is guaranteed if he can’t turn the corner.
    • Recent Rays draft pick Drew Rasmussen has undergone his second Tommy John procedure, Danny Moran of the Oregonian reports on Twitter. Rasmussen, an Oregon State hurler, went to Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in this summer’s draft but did not sign with the team. The Rays evidently found some reason to be concerned with the medicals from the talented youngster, who had returned from his first TJ procedure only months before the draft.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays Have Made Past Attempts To Extend Cobb]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102353 2017-09-08T04:42:48Z 2017-09-08T04:42:48Z
  • The Rays have made multiple attempts to lock up right-hander Alex Cobb on a long-term deal in the past, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports in his latest AL Notes rundown. Tampa Bay tried to lock up Cobb on an extension worth about $30MM after his second big league season and another worth about $40MM after his third year, though the team wanted a pair of favorable club options added to each iteration of that deal (as they’ve secured in previous extensions for pitchers such as Matt Moore, Wade Davis and Chris Archer). Obviously, those attempts fell short, and Cobb looks fairly well positioned as he sits on the cusp of free agency.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays Select Chaz Roe's Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102229 2017-09-06T04:33:45Z 2017-09-05T23:00:55Z
  • The Rays selected right-hander Chaz Roe’s contract from the minors in advance of tonight’s game. Tampa Bay picked up Roe in a minor trade with the Braves earlier this year. The 30-year-old pitched 21 innings with Tampa’s Triple-A affiliate in Durham and worked to an even 3.00 ERA with a ridiculous 35-to-5 K/BB ratio. In parts of five big league seasons, Roe has a 4.16 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 and a 54.4 percent ground-ball rate.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays To Select Contract Of Trevor Plouffe]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102095 2017-09-04T17:09:04Z 2017-09-04T17:09:04Z Shortly after being designated for assignment and outrighted off the 40-man roster, Trevor Plouffe is set to rejoin the Rays, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Tampa Bay will bring the veteran back to the Majors as a depth option with expanded September rosters now in place. Tampa Bay has an open 40-man spot, so a corresponding move isn’t needed.

    Regular playing time won’t be there for Plouffe, barring injuries elsewhere on the roster, but he’ll get another chance to finish the year on a good note after struggling for much of the 2017 campaign. The former Twins third baseman signed a one-year, $5MM deal with the A’s last winter after being non-tendered and found himself traded to Tampa Bay after being designated in Oakland.

    Plouffe has appeared in 89 games this season (281 plate appearances) and has posted a .204/.274/.325 slash that represents a considerable departure from the generally useful offensive output he tallied from 2012-16 in Minnesota. Plouffe’s strikeout rate has soared to 29.5 percent this season after checking in under 20 percent from 2014-16. His hard-hit rate, line-drive rate and homer-to-flyball ratio are all in line with the levels he posted in his final few years in Minneapolis, but he’s also hitting the ball on ground more than ever (49.7 percent) and lifting fly-balls at a career-low pace (30.1 percent).

    Plouffe has batted .276 with a .344 OBP against left-handed pitching this year, but the power he typically has in platoon situations has evaporated (.333 slugging, .057 ISO). He’ll be a free agent once again at season’s end.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Chris Archer Suffers Forearm Tightness, To Be Examined Monday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102077 2017-09-04T03:34:13Z 2017-09-04T03:34:13Z Chris Archer was removed from his start on Saturday after just eight pitches due to forearm tightness, though the Rays ace told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that he feels better today, despite some lingering tightness on the outside of his right forearm.  While Archer doesn’t feel the injury is particularly serious and he hopes to make his next start, more will be known on Monday when he is examined by the Rays’ team doctor.  Losing Archer for any stretch of time would be a big blow to Tampa Bay club that is trying to stay in the wild card race, though obviously Archer’s overall health is of larger concern to the team, given the ominous nature of forearm injuries.  Here’s more from around baseball…

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rays Designate Adam Kolarek]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102041 2017-09-03T21:30:39Z 2017-09-03T21:20:30Z The Rays have designated left-hander Adam Kolarek for assignment, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Topkin suggests that Kolarek’s vacated 40-man spot will go to infielder Trevor Plouffe, whom the Rays designated Aug. 22 and then outrighted to Triple-A Durham on Aug. 26.

    The 28-year-old Kolarek, an 11th-round pick of the Mets in 2010, joined the Rays organization prior to the 2016 campaign and made his major league debut this season. Kolarek struggled over 8 1/3 innings before his designation, giving up six earned runs on nine hits and four walks, with four strikeouts.  He made his 12th appearance with Tampa Bay on Sunday and surrendered an earned run on two hits and a walk over two-thirds of an inning.  That was enough for the Rays to remove him from their 40-man roster.

    While Kolarek’s time in the majors has been a struggle thus far, he has turned in excellent work in the minors.  Kolarek has posted a 2.73 ERA and logged 9.4 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9 in 89 Triple-A innings.  Across 43 2/3 frames with Durham this year, he has ridden an incredible 72.6 percent groundball rate and 9.4 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 to a microscopic 1.65 ERA.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rays Recently Scouted Shohei Otani]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102005 2017-09-03T14:43:39Z 2017-09-03T13:47:58Z
  • The Rays sent representatives to Japan to watch Nippon Ham Fighters ace Shohei Otani’s start last week, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Along with the Rays and the Yankees, there were around a dozen other teams in attendance to watch Otani, whose fastball hit 100 mph, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. The changes in the collective bargaining agreement could theoretically give low-payroll teams like Tampa Bay a better chance to land the two-way phenom, though the Rays already spent $3.825MM of their available international money ($5.25MM) on Dominican shortstop Wander Franco on July 2.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rays Notes: Possibility Of August Sell-Off, Cash Status]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101598 2017-08-30T18:46:45Z 2017-08-30T17:53:02Z As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote yesterday, the Rays could potentially decide to pivot to selling some short-term assets if the team does not perform in the final few days of August. The Rays ended up losing yesterday, leaving them three-and-a-half games out of the final Wild Card spot. We explored recently what kinds of deals the club might contemplate if it decided to shed some veterans at the last minute.

    • Regardless of how things turn out this year, the Rays intend to bring back skipper Kevin Cash, according to Topkin. GM Erik Neander credits Cash for ensuring that the club has “showed up every day well-prepared to compete and to make the most of their abilities.” Cash is under contract through 2019, and Topkin notes that the team also has two additional option years. He has guided the Rays to a 214-244 record since the start of 2015.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays Designate Taylor Featherston]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101477 2017-08-28T21:41:06Z 2017-08-28T21:11:20Z The Rays have designated infielder Taylor Featherston for assignment, optioned righty Chih-Wei Hu to Triple-A and activated right-hander Matt Andriese from the disabled list, tweets Bill Chastain of MLB.com.

    Featherston, 27, was acquired in the middle of the year from the Phillies. He has seen limited time this year at the major league level, batting .179/.277/.359 in his 47 trips to the plate. He has continued to struggle at the plate in the upper minors, too, posting a cumulative .248/.329/.386 slash in his 280 plate appearances at Triple-A between the two organizations.

    Though Andriese functioned as a starter earlier in the year, he’ll work from the pen at least initially, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Andriese, who turns 28 today, turned in a dozen quality outings (3.54 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9) earlier this season and ought to represent a notable addition to the staff down the stretch.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Danny Espinosa Signing Could Affect Daniel Robertson's Service Time]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101341 2017-08-27T00:40:33Z 2017-08-27T00:38:55Z
  • Signing infielder Danny Espinosa and optioning Daniel Robertson to the minors is the latest example of the Rays balancing the present and the future, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times observes. While Espinosa struggled mightily this season in stints with the Angels and Mariners, both of whom released him, the 23-year-old Robertson wasn’t exactly indispensable to the Rays’ lineup during his first 223 major league plate appearances (.211/.302/.340). But if the former top 100 prospect does develop into a quality big leaguer, Tampa Bay could end up controlling him for another year thanks in part to the Espinosa signing, Topkin points out. If Robertson stays in the minors for at least 20 days, he won’t accrue a year of service time this season, putting him on pace to become a free agent entering 2024 instead of 2023.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rays Outright Trevor Plouffe To Triple-A]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101272 2017-08-26T20:44:07Z 2017-08-26T20:43:55Z
  • The Rays outrighted Trevor Plouffe to Triple-A after the third baseman cleared waivers, the team announced.  Plouffe was designated for assignment earlier this week.  Acquired by the Rays from the Athletics in June, Plouffe hasn’t produced much in either uniform in 2017, hitting a combined .204/.274/.325 over 281 PA.  One would think Plouffe will be a candidate to rejoin the Rays when rosters expand in September, though a new space will have to be found on their 40-man roster.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays Sign Danny Espinosa To Major League Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101204 2017-08-25T17:35:46Z 2017-08-25T17:30:59Z 12:34pm: The Rays have now announced the signing. Fellow infielder Daniel Robertson was optioned to Durham to clear a roster spot.

    12:30pm: It’s a Major League deal for Espinosa with the Rays. (SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo first tweeted as much.)

    12:16pm: The Rays are adding veteran infielder Danny Espinosa, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Espinosa began the year with the Angels but was cut loose and latched on with the Mariners before being released there as well. Topkin doesn’t specify the type of transaction, though presumably it’s a minor league deal. Espinosa was placed on release waivers five days ago, so he’d already have cleared at this point. Espinosa is represented by MVP Sports.

    It’s been a brutal year at the plate for Espinosa, 30, as he’s struggled to a career-worst .164/.237/.279 slash line through 271 plate appearances in the American League West. In his first taste of American League play, the longtime Nationals infielder saw his strikeout rate soar to 36.2 percent as his line-drive rate plummeted to a career-worst 12.9 percent. Espinosa’s hard-hit rate (32.2 percent) is still a bit higher than his career mark (31.1 percent), but the majority of those balls in play have apparently been of the fly-ball or ground-ball variety, as Espinosa checks in north of 41 percent in each regard (41.8% grounders, 45.7 percent flies).

    For all of his warts at the plate in recent years, though, Espinosa has terrific career marks in both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating as a second baseman and as a shortstop. Neither DRS nor UZR was especially bullish on his work in 2017, grading him as a roughly average glove at second base, but the track record (and the bit of experience he has at the hot corner as well) likely appealed to a Rays club that traditionally places a high value on defensive prowess and versatility.

    Whether Espinosa immediately joins the big league club remains to be seen. We’re just a week away from the point at which rosters can expand, so Tampa Bay could conceivably stash him at Triple-A Durham for the next seven days and then bring him aboard to add some bench depth and versatility for the final month of the year.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[What If The Rays Turn Into Late-August Sellers?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101192 2017-08-25T05:45:07Z 2017-08-25T05:45:07Z We’re not there yet. After a win tonight, the Rays sit three games under .500 and three games out of Wild Card position. A week from now, the club could easily be in the thick of things. But with the division out of reach, a healthy bunch of teams still to leapfrog just to make the play-in game, and a six-game Missouri road trip on tap, it’s also quite possible that Tampa Bay could find itself all but buried by the end of the month. (After August 31st, of course, players are no longer eligible for the postseason if they change organizations.)

    That raises an interesting question: what would it look like if the Rays were to make a late effort at marketing some short-term assets? After all, the club could well see cause to shed salary if it feels its hopes at a postseason berth are dashed.

    The organization carried just $70MM of payroll entering the season — a pittance for most teams, but not far from the franchise high. It went on to add a couple of million dollars by acquiring Trevor Plouffe (with part of his salary paid by Oakland), Steve Cishek (offset by Erasmo Ramirez and some cash from Seattle), Sergio Romo, and Dan Jennings. While those acquisitions were largely offset by the $2.35MM or so that was saved when Colby Rasmus left the club, the Rays also took on all of what was then still owed to Adeiny Hechavarria ($4.35MM annual salary) and Lucas Duda ($7.25MM).

    When the calendar flips to September, there’ll only be about one-sixth of the regular season left to play, and thus only that portion of remaining salary to pay down. Still, moving a few players — even for marginal or no returns — could add up to a fair amount of savings in relative terms. And some of the possible trade candidates might well recoup some useful talent, too.

    With teams like the Twins and Rangers perhaps now pivoting back toward the buy side, and other organizations now having had time to re-think their needs, there may yet be some intriguing opportunities. Though the Rays may have better odds at snagging a Wild Card than the division-rival Orioles and Blue Jays, Tampa Bay also operates under much more stringent budgetary constraints and has more potential August trade chips. The very moves that the Rays have made to push toward contention — mostly, adding useful veterans on short-term deals — have left the team with a bunch of useful assets if a last-minute sell-off is pursued.

    Bearing in mind that this is completely hypothetical — and that we don’t know the waiver statuses of these players (excepting Duda, who cleared once) — here are the most interesting players the Rays could plausibly consider dealing at month’s end (with approximate remaining 2017 salary for October in parentheses):

    • Alex Cobb, SP ($700K) — Cobb is a free agent at season’s end and has generally turned in quite a solid year. While he has been knocked around a few times, Cobb currently owns a 3.80 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over 147 innings. Rumors of his full return to top-quality pitching may have been exaggerated, but he could certainly shore up some rotations and might even be seen as a potential postseason starter for some clubs. Cobb would surely be a candidate for a waiver claim, but could sneak through or be claimed by a team that would give something up via trade.
    • Jake Odorizzi, SP ($683K) — This seems quite a bit less likely, due both to Odorizzi’s remaining control rights and his struggles thus far (4.74 ERA) in 2017. But perhaps it’s not out of the question that he’d clear waivers.
    • Steve Cishek, RP (~$500K, factoring portion paid by Mariners) — The sidearmer has a clean sheet through 11 frames with Tampa Bay, allowing just four hits and three walks while racking up a dozen strikeouts. He’d make for a hot commodity on a market starved of relief pitching.
    • Sergio Romo, RP ($500K) — Romo, too, has been quite good since finding a new home. In his 15 innings with the Rays, he carries a 12:1 K/BB ratio and 2.40 ERA. The veteran hurler is also battle-tested in the postseason.
    • Tommy Hunter, RP ($233K) — If it’s reasonably likely that both Cishek and Romo would be claimed, it’s a certainty that Hunter would (if he hasn’t already). But there’s leverage to work with given Hunter’s outstanding season. The veteran has set himself up nicely for a return to the open market after 46 innings of 2.35 ERA ball, with 9.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 on the back of a 97 mph heater. Brad Boxberger is perhaps also a marginally plausible candidate, but we won’t consider him separately here with two more seasons of affordable arb control remaining.
    • Lucas Duda, 1B ($1.2MM) — Though he has been in a cold spell of late, Duda owns a 127 OPS+ during his 24 games with Tampa Bay, which actually just tops his overall performance earlier this year with the Mets. The Yankees were reportedly finalists for him previously, and a few other clubs might not mind adding a big left-handed bat.
    • Logan Morrison, 1B ($417K) — Speaking of big lefty bats, Morrison could hold yet more appeal with his lesser salary. He, too, has cooled but sports a .240/.347/.496 slash on the year with 29 home runs. While it’s reasonable to anticipate he’d be claimed, as with some other players, the Rays could potentially still extract a return and simply hold onto him if nothing much is offered.
    • Adeiny Hechavarria, SS ($725K) — Hech doesn’t seem particularly likely to be dealt. He has struggled at the plate since coming to the Rays, the market hasn’t yet found a home for a better player in Zack Cozart, and Tampa Bay could intend to tender him arbitration this fall. Still, he’s at least worthy of mention.
    • Brad Miller, INF ($595K) — It has been quite a disappointing season for Miller, as he has fallen off of the twenty-home-run output he showed in each of the past two seasons and owns a miserly .187 batting average. But he has suddenly blossomed into one of the game’s most patient hitters, with a 17.5% walk rate, and could be an interesting buy-low candidate for some organizations. With two more years of arb control left to go, Tampa Bay would likely only be looking to make a move if they are preparing to move on from Miller anyway or unexpectedly draw a big offer for his services.
    • Wilson Ramos, C ($667K) — As with Hechavarria, Ramos would likely clear waivers — particularly with incentives boosting his deal and $8.5MM still owed for 2018. The 30-year-old is still working out the kinks since returning from knee surgery, with a .258/.294/.406 slash through 139 plate appearances, but still comes with quite a bit of upside.
    • Peter Bourjos, OF ($225K) — There’s little chance that Bourjos will be a hotly pursued commodity, as he’s hitting just .229/.275/.403 on the year — with that surprising bump in pop offset by a failure to reach base that’s driven by poor plate discipline (5.2% walk rate, 27.3% strikeout rate). But he could function as an extra outfielder and pinch runner for another organization.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays Designate Trevor Plouffe For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101010 2017-08-23T02:54:53Z 2017-08-23T02:49:10Z The Rays have designated corner infielder Trevor Plouffe for assignment, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Plouffe’s roster spot will go to righty Andrew Kittredge tomorrow, though that’ll be just a one-day placeholder move until Alex Cobb is activated to start Thursday’s game.

    The longtime Twins infielder was picked up by the Rays after a disappointing start to his lone season with the Athletics, but Plouffe’s struggles in St. Petersburg proved to be greater than in the Bay Area. Through 82 plate appearances as a member of the Rays, he’s batted .178/.268/.247 with a homer and a pair of doubles. All told, Plouffe has posted a .204/.274/.325 batting line and eight homers through 281 PAs.

    Disappointing as those numbers may be, Plouffe was a solid source of modest pop and, eventually, respectable fielding for the Twins as their primary third baseman from 2012-16. Though a series of oblique injuries limited him to 90 games in his final season with Minnesota, the former first-round pick batted a combined .250/.311/.425 and averaged 17 homer per season (23 per 162 games played) in 2545 PAs over that stretch. He’s been an especially productive bat against left-handed pitching in his career, batting .268/.344/.450 through 887 career PAs when holding the platoon advantage.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rays Place Jacob Faria On DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100838 2017-08-20T20:29:40Z 2017-08-20T20:29:40Z
  • The Rays placed righty Jacob Faria on the 10-day DL on Sunday with a left abdominal strain, clearing roster space for just-claimed outfielder Cesar Puello.  Faria revealed that he has battled the injury over his past several starts, though he doesn’t believe it’ll be a long-term problem or even a season-ending issue, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports (Twitter link). Prior to the DL stint, the 24-year-old Faria was amid a quality rookie season with a 3.32 ERA and 8.81 K/9 against 3.32 BB/9 across 78 2/3 innings.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rays Claim Cesar Puello From Angels]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100775 2017-08-20T00:33:01Z 2017-08-20T00:18:57Z The Rays have claimed outfielder Cesar Puello off waivers from the Angels, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports (on Twitter). The Angels designated Puello for assignment last Saturday.

    The Rays organization will be the fifth for the 26-year-old Puello, who topped out at No. 77 among Baseball America’s 100 best prospects when he was with the Mets in 2010. Puello hasn’t been a factor in the majors, though he does own a quality .289/.379/.447 line with 49 stolen bases on 57 attempts in 1,039 Triple-A plate appearances. A significant amount of that damage has come this year in minor league stints with the Rangers and Halos, with whom Puello combined to slash .327/.377/.526 with 13 home runs and 18 steals on 22 tries in 379 PAs.

    Puello, who made his big league debut and sole appearances with the Angels on Aug. 9 (and went 1 for 4 with two steals), is out of minor league options. As such, the Rays will either have to add the righty-swinging Puello to their 25-man roster or attempt to send him through waivers again. With Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr., Corey Dickerson and Peter Bourjos, the Rays already seem to have a full complement of outfielders on hand at the big league level, which helped lead to a demotion for Mallex Smith on Friday.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLBTR Mailbag: Lowrie, Bruce, Giants, Controllable Starters]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100678 2017-08-19T14:50:12Z 2017-08-19T13:24:38Z Thanks as always for your questions! If yours wasn’t selected this week, you can always pose it in one of our weekly chats: Steve Adams at 2pm CST on Tuesdays, Jason Martinez at 6:30pm CST on Wednesdays, and yours truly at 2pm CST on Thursdays.

    Here are this week’s questions and answers:

    Why is it so hard for the A’s to move Jed Lowrie? — Rene H.

    Well, there has been a bit of a game of musical chairs in the second/third base market. The Red Sox went with Eduardo Nunez. The Nationals grabbed Howie Kendrick, who can also play outfield. The Brewers ended up with Neil Walker in August. Those deals filled some of the main needs out there, though there are at least a few teams that could still make a move. The Angels stand out; the Indians have looked in this area; and the Blue Jays could be a dark horse if they make a run.

    But let’s suppose a few organizations are indeed still poking around on Lowrie. Those same teams will also have other options to consider. Ian Kinsler is now off the market after his waiver claim was revoked by the Tigers. But Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart are both pending free agents who could move. Yangervis Solarte may not clear waivers, but could be claimed and pursued. And Asdrubal Cabrera also represents a possibility.

    Cabrera, like Lowrie, comes with a club option for 2018. In Lowrie’s case, it’s just a $6MM cost to keep him (against a $1MM buyout). He has surely played well enough to make that a decent asset to move over the winter. And perhaps Oakland isn’t all that anxious to press Franklin Barreto into everyday duty in the majors just yet. After all, he’s only 21, didn’t hit much in his brief debut, and has encountered a rising strikeout rate at Triple-A. Lowrie could help stabilize the infield the rest of the way or even in 2018, or he could still be flipped if a decent offer comes along.

    How do you guys see the [free-agent] market for Jay Bruce developing? I have a hard time believing that a 30/31-year-old who has six seasons where he OPSed over .800 would have trouble locking down a fourth year at a $13MM AAV. — Alex W.

    As Alex helpfully pointed out in his email, there are indeed quite a few corner outfielders that have landed free-agent contracts in that range. Recent deals that could work as comparables run from Nick Markakis (4/$44MM) and Josh Reddick (4/$52MM) up to Nick Swisher (4/$56MM) and Curtis Granderson (4/$60MM). Bruce is a plausible candidate to land in that general realm.

    I do think Bruce is flying under the radar a bit, given the obvious appeal of his quality offensive output this year — .267/.334/.541 with 32 homers. It doesn’t hurt that he has turned things on thus far since going to the Indians, has finally reversed the abysmal defensive metrics, and is regarded as a top-shelf professional. The two lost seasons of 2014 and 2015 are hard to ignore entirely, and he has never hit lefties nearly so much as righties, but he has returned to his prior trajectory since and has been average at the plate when facing southpaws this season. Plus, there won’t be any draft compensation to contend with.

    But where exactly he falls, and whether he gets a fourth year or instead takes a higher AAV over three, will depend upon market forces. J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton (if he opts out) would be the two top corner outfielders, but both are righty bats that would require very significant contracts. Granderson and Melky Cabrera will present alternatives for teams seeking lefty pop, but neither has quite Bruce’s present power and both are much older. All things considered, Bruce should be fairly well positioned.

    I’m wondering if the Giants’ plan to re-tool, rather than rebuild, has a reasonable chance of success. Does SF have only two or three spots, like one outfielder and two pitchers, that will make the difference in being competitive? Or will the re-tooling need to involve more spots on the roster, like two outfielders, maybe an infielder (third base), and three or four pitchers? And are there players available in free-agency for them to do that? — Tim D.

    Let’s start with the presumption that Johnny Cueto opts into the remainder of his deal. That would fill one of the rotation slots but also keeps a lot of cash on the books — over $150MM total already for 2018, with more than $100MM promised in each of the next two seasons. And the club will also have to consider what it’ll cost to keep Madison Bumgarner around past 2019.

    Looking over the roster — see the current depth chart here — the Giants will face questions in a variety of areas. Third base is unresolved, the team needs at least one starting outfielder (a center-field-capable player would perhaps be preferred, bumping Denard Span to left), and several bench/platoon roles are open to question. The team will likely at least look into adding a starter, though it could choose instead to go with Matt Moore along with Ty Blach or another less-established pitcher to line up behind Cueto, Bumgarner, and Jeff Samardzija. Bullpens can always be improved, though the Giants can hope for a bounceback from Mark Melancon and continued performance from reclamation hit Sam Dyson in the late innings.

    On the whole, then, perhaps a more dramatic roster overhaul isn’t really needed. Assuming the club is willing to spend up to, but not past, the $180MM-ish payroll it carried entering the current season, that leaves some room to add. But the long-term commitments and 2017 downturns certainly also speak in favor of exercising some caution. I’d expect a focus on striking shorter-term deals with veterans.

    Possibilities at third could include Pablo Sandoval, Todd Frazier, and Yunel Escobar, or the Giants could go bigger and chase the still-youthful Mike Moustakas. In the outfield, Lorenzo Cain would be the top center-field target, though he’ll be entering his age-32 season and won’t be cheap. There are some interesting alternatives, including Carlos Gomez, Jon Jay, and Jarrod Dyson. It’s also possible the Giants could chase Bruce or another corner piece while adding a player like Austin Jackson to platoon with Span in center. And as ever, there are lots of different pitchers available at different price points should they look to add there.

    Ultimately, there ought to be decent value available in the price range the Giants will be shopping. Whether that’ll work out or not … well, that’s dependent upon quite a few other factors and is tough to predict at this point.

    Which young, controllable starters (like Chris Archer, for example) will potentially be available via trade this upcoming offseason? –Matt H.

    Archer is certainly a good example of a guy who could be available and who’ll be asked about quite a lot. Depending upon how things end up for the Rays this year — currently, it’s not trending in the right direction — they may be more or less inclined to undertake a more dramatic move such as dealing the staff ace.

    Generally, though, I’d expect the pickings to be slim. Several teams that sit in the bottom of the standings and have young arms don’t seem likely to move them. For instance, I don’t really expect the Mets (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, etc.), Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez), or Phillies (Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez) to be looking to deal young starters.

    There are a few other names to watch, though. Michael Fulmer of the Tigers would figure to draw some of the most fervent interest, and Detroit has to be thinking creatively entering an offseason full of questions. The Pirates could decide that now’s the time to move Gerrit Cole, though he’ll only have two years of control remaining so may not really meet the parameters. Julio Teheran of the Braves will surely again be a topic of speculation, at least, and the Marlins will have to consider cashing in Dan Straily.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Heyman’s Latest: Astros, Verlander, Samardzija, Rays, Mets, Dickey]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100585 2017-08-18T03:21:59Z 2017-08-18T03:20:58Z In his weekly Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag takes a look at the tightly packed AL Wild Card race. He also provides some notes from both the American League and National League. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of relevance to the transactional landscape:

    • While the Astros could still conceivably renew their pursuit of Tigers righty Justin Verlander, it may be that the talks are over barring a significant change of heart from one or both of the organizations. Heyman cites a source who said he felt negotiations were “put to bed last week.” In other news regarding Houston, Heyman says the club “never got serious” in their apparently limited pursuits of Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish in July, and one source indicated to Heyman that it never even made an offer for Quintana this summer. The Astros, of course, pursued Quintana extensively this offseason, so the front office was likely already well aware of Chicago’s lofty asking price for Quintana.
    • It seems the Giants have yet to place righty Jeff Samardzija on waivers, with Heyman suggesting it’s seen as unlikely he’ll be claimed when he does go on the wire. But the belief is that the starter could be targeted if he does clear waivers. Samardzija has carried compelling strikeout (160) and walk (23) numbers through his 155 2/3 innings on the year, though he has also allowed 22 home runs and owns a 4.74 ERA. He has turned in four-straight quality outings, it’s worth noting.
    • The Rays are interested in finding a right-handed hitter, according to Heyman, though it’s unclear just what the club might realistically look to do. Tampa Bay has not performed as had been hoped when the team reshaped its roster over the summer, which surely also alters the picture. Reserves such as Trevor Plouffe, Daniel Robertson, and Peter Bourjos have all struggled with the bat, though finding upgrades will be challenging at this stage. (As mostly goes without saying, the decision to part with Tim Beckham has not looked good thus far.)
    • After striking a variety of deals already, the Mets are “still working hard” to deal away more players this August, Heyman writes. Veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson still seems like the most obvious possible trade piece, though perhaps infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, lefty Jerry Blevins, catcher Rene Rivera, or even recently-acquired reliever A.J. Ramos could be moved.
    • The Braves are considering exercising their $8MM club option over knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for the 2018 season, per Heyman. That option comes with a $500K buyout, effectively making it a $7.5MM decision. The Braves are pleased with the 42-year-old’s durability, innings and leadership. Through 141 frames this season, Dickey has a 3.89 ERA with 6.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 49.5 percent ground-ball rate. Realistically, the club would be hard pressed to find better value on the open market and will need the innings next year.
    • Some clubs believe that the Angels are the team that placed the claim on Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, per Heyman, who notes that Anaheim is still in the market for a second base upgrade. However, the Halos have only “limited” interest in Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has reportedly cleared revocable waivers and is having a solid season at the plate.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jose De Leon Back On Minor League Disabled List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100454 2017-08-16T19:09:14Z 2017-08-16T03:48:37Z
  • Rays right-hander Jose De Leon is on the minor league disabled list for the third time this season, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. De Leon, who has previously dealt with forearm/flexor issues, now has tendinitis in his right elbow, per Topkin. It’s been a frustrating first season with the Rays organization for De Leon — a highly touted pitching prospect that was acquired in a straight-up swap that sent Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers. De Leon has appeared in just one big league game with the Rays and has only 38 1/3 minor league innings under his belt, though he’s logged a 3.05 ERA with 44-to-16 K/BB ratio in the minors when healthy.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Andriese Nearing Minor League Rehab Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99783 2017-08-09T14:18:08Z 2017-08-09T14:12:29Z
  • Rays right-hander Matt Andriese, who has been out since early June with a stress reaction in his right hip, threw an extensive live batting practice session yesterday and is slated to begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend, per Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times. That’d put him back on track for a return late this month, Mooney notes, assuming no setbacks and a four-start rehab schedule in the minors. Mooney also notes that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who had a setback earlier this month, will begin a running program Thursday and isn’t expected to be ready until the Rays’ Aug. 18-24 home-stand.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cobb Lands On DL With Turf Toe]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99760 2017-08-09T03:13:51Z 2017-08-09T03:11:22Z
  • Rays right-hander Alex Cobb has landed on the 10-day disabled list due to a case of turf toe, the team announced. Cobb tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that the injury was an issue in his last start and adds that he felt he could’ve pitched through it, but the team wanted to proactively get him healthy (Twitter link). It’ll be Blake Snell taking Cobb’s place for what looks to be a minimum-stay DL stint, per Topkin, meaning that prized prospect Brent Honeywell will have to wait a bit longer to make his big league debut with the Rays.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Kelvin Herrera, Gregory Polanco, Alex Colome & Francisco Cervelli Move To Wasserman]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99717 2017-08-08T17:32:53Z 2017-08-08T17:32:53Z Six players have elected to change their agencies, following agent Rafa Nieves in his recent move from Beverly Hills Sports Council to the Wasserman Media Group, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links).

    Among the veterans making the change are a pair of closers — the Royals’ Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome of the Rays — as well as two Pirates players, outfielder Gregory Polanco and catcher Francisco Cervelli. Two less-experienced players — each of whom has a 40-man spot but is currently at Triple-A — will also move: Athletics righty Frankie Montas and Nationals catcher Pedro Severino.

    Of these players, it seems that Herrera’s situation is most interesting. The 27-year-old will be eligible for free agency one final time over the winter. He’s earning $5.325MM currently and will look to build upon that figure before hitting the open market.

    Herrera’s case will be an interesting one to track, as he has slipped to a 4.19 ERA this year but has also already posted 43 strikeouts and has served as Kansas City’s full-time closer. With 24 saves in the bank — double last year’s tally — Herrera should be well-positioned to argue for a hefty raise, especially if he can drive down the earned run average before the end of the season.

    Also slated for arbitration is Colome, who’ll go through the process for the first time. He, too, hasn’t been quite as dominant this year as he was last. But he’ll bring a loaded resume to the table with 37 saves in the bank from last year and a league-leading 33 added already in 2017. As things stand, Colome has a career 3.16 ERA and has also accumulated more innings than a typical closer (256 2/3) since he also has 19 MLB starts on his ledger.

    As for the two Bucs regulars, they’re playing under long-term contracts. Polanco is under team control all the way through 2023, while Cervelli is locked up through 2019 under the extension he signed last year. Both Montas and Severino have seen the majors on multiple occasions, but neither has accumulated significant service time to date. The pair of 24-year-old Dominicans are still a fair ways away from possible arbitration eligibility.

    As always, you can find the most up-to-date agency information in MLBTR’s database.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Ryan Garton, Mike Marjama From Rays]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99600 2017-08-06T18:04:53Z 2017-08-06T17:39:33Z Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is at it again. Shortly after the team’s Yonder Alonso trade with the Athletics, Dipoto announced that Seattle has acquired right-hander Ryan Garton and catcher Mike Marjama from the Rays for two minor leaguers – left-hander Anthony Misiewicz and infielder Luis Rengifo – and a player to be named later. Garton and Marjama will report to Triple-A Tacoma, tweets Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. To make room for their new additions, the Mariners designated catcher Tuffy Gosewisch for assignment.

    The only player in the trade with major league experience is the 27-year-old Garton, who debuted in the majors in 2016 and has also seen action this season. Garton did passable work in 39 1/3 innings and 37 appearances out of the Rays’ bullpen last season (4.35 ERA, 7.55 K/9, 2.52 BB/9 and a 45.2 percent ground-ball rate), but this year has been a different story. Across 10 1/3 frames prior to the trade, Garton allowed 10 earned runs on 13 hits and five walks, with nine strikeouts. He has dominated Triple-A hitters in 2017, however, with a 1.64 ERA, 12.55 K/9 against 4.36 BB/9 and a 51.5 percent grounder rate in 33 frames.

    Marjama, 28, is joining his third organization since the White Sox used a 23rd-round pick on him in 2011. In his first taste of Triple-A ball this year, he has batted a solid .274/.342/.445 in 292 plate appearances.

    Misiewicz, meanwhile, was an 18th-rounder in 2015. The 22-year-old ascended to the Double-A ranks this season and has notched a 4.35 ERA with 6.97 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 41 1/3 innings (seven starts).

    Unlike Misiewicz, the 20-year-old Rengifo ranked among the Mariners’ top 30 prospects before the trade, according to MLB.com, which placed him at No. 27. The outlet notes that the 2014 international signing from Venezuela, a switch-hitter, “has a short, compact swing from both sides of the plate,” “above-average speed” and the range and arm strength necessary to make him a quality defensive infielder. Rengino has shown off his speed this year with 29 steals at the Single-A level, to go with a .250/.318/.413 line and 11 home runs in 450 PAs.

    As for the 33-year-old Gosewisch, whom the Mariners claimed off waivers from the Braves in January, he appeared in 11 big league games back in May and limped to an .071/.103/.071 batting line in 31 tries. Gosewisch has generally been unusable with the bat during his career, having slashed .190/.228/.271 in 447 PAs between Arizona and Seattle, though he has thrown out 35 percent of would-be base thieves on the defensive side.

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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Rays Option Blake Snell]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99495 2017-08-05T14:53:33Z 2017-08-05T13:47:11Z
  • Prior to yesterday’s game, the Rays optioned lefty and former top prospect Blake Snell to Triple-A Durham, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times noted. They also recalled lefty Jose Alvarado (giving the Rays’ bullpen an extra arm for the time being), activated infielder Daniel Robertson, and optioned infielder Taylor Featherston. The 24-year-old Snell has a 4.98 ERA this season with 8.0 K/9 and a too-high 5.1 BB/9. This is the second time he’s been sent down — he also spent a six-week stint with Durham beginning in mid-May. Topkin notes that it’s unclear who will take Snell’s rotation spot, although the team has an off-day Monday, so there will be time to sort that out. One possibility is that Austin Pruitt (who pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings against Houston earlier this week) could remain in the rotation after Jake Odorizzi returns from a back strain. But Topkin also mentions that the team could promote 22-year-old top prospect Brent Honeywell, who has a 3.95 ERA, 11.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 100 1/3 innings in his first season with Durham.
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    Jason Martinez <![CDATA[Knocking Down The Door: Honeywell, Kemp, Lopez, McMahon, Smith]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=96419 2017-08-03T01:39:12Z 2017-08-02T15:00:18Z “Knocking Down the Door” is a regular feature that identifies minor leaguers who are making a case for a big league promotion.

    Brent Honeywell, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham) | Rays Depth Chart

    While the Rays were busy adding first baseman Lucas Duda and a trio of relief pitchers prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, they didn’t make the splash that they were probably capable of making based on the depth and quality of their prospect talent. The team’s likely unwillingness to include the 22-year-old Honeywell in a deal is probably among the top reasons.

    Not only is Honeywell one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, there’s also a chance that he can help the Rays down the stretch in the same way that rookie David Price did in 2008 when he pitched 14 innings in September and another 5 2/3 frames in the playoffs for the AL Champs. Since being named the Futures Game MVP, the right-hander has continued to look more and more comfortable in Triple-A, allowing only three runs and 12 hits over his past 16 innings while striking out 22.

    Tony Kemp, OF/2B, Houston Astros (Triple-A Fresno) | Astros Depth Chart

    The window could close quickly depending on how quickly George Springer returns from the disabled list, but the recent trade of Nori Aoki could allow the Astros to give Kemp a rare chance for semi-regular playing time in the big leagues.

    Kemp is doing his best Jose Altuve impersonation down in Triple-A, and it’s not just because he’s a 5’6″ second baseman. The 25-year-old is slashing .324/.376/.465 with 19 stolen bases, 31 walks and 32 strikeouts in 90 games. His ability to play left field—he started 24 games there for the Astros in 2016—and left-handed bat should give him plenty of value on the Astros’ roster down the road, even if he’s destined to be a bench player. But it’s probably a good time to find out if he can be more than that.

    Reynaldo Lopez, SP, Chicago White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte) | White Sox Depth Chart

    Somewhat surprisingly, the White Sox did not trade free agents-to-be Miguel Gonzalez and Derek Holland prior to the deadline, which would’ve cleared a path to the big league rotation for Lopez — one of several elite prospects that the team has acquired since the offseason.

    The 23-year-old Lopez, who came to the ChiSox in the Adam Eaton trade, could be forcing the team’s hand anyhow, though. In his past six starts, he has a 1.97 ERA with 26 hits allowed, eight walks and 49 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs over that span and has three 10+ strikeout games. It will be a surprise if he makes more than two more starts in Triple-A.

    Ryan McMahon, INF, Colorado Rockies (Triple-A Albuquerque) | Rockies Depth Chart

    USATSI_9701237_154513410_lowres

    Mark Reynolds has been productive enough in 2017 that a less-than-stellar month of July (.229/.319/.410) won’t cause him to lose his starting job, especially to a rookie with zero Major League at-bats. But it’s getting to the point in the season where it makes sense for the Rockies to at least give the 22-year-old McMahon, the No. 1 ranked player in Roster Resource’s MiLB Power Rankings, some occasional starts at first base while utilizing him occasionally at other spots on the diamond.

    McMahon, who has played a good amount of games at first base, second base and third base this season, is 19 for his last 34 to push his Triple-A batting average to .396 (86-for-217). Overall, he’s slashing .364/.406/.598 between Double-A and Triple-A with 36 doubles and 17 homers. It’s safe to say that he has very little left to prove in the minors.

    Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets (Triple-A Las Vegas) | Mets Depth Chart

    Despite hitting only 10 homers in the low minors over his first three professional seasons, Smith was a highly-touted prospect who many experts believed would develop power at some point. They were right. And it didn’t really take that long. Since reaching the upper minors as a 20-year-old in 2016, the left-handed hitting first baseman has 30 homers and 62 doubles while hitting over .300 and maintaining a disciplined approach at the plate.

    Even after trading Duda, the Mets are holding off on calling up the 22-year-old Smith for some reason. That’s difficult to do after he slashed .385/.437/.725 in July, but this is the organization that called up Amed Rosario, arguably, two months after he was making it clear that he was ready for the Major Leagues. GM Sandy Alderson has suggested that they won’t wait much longer on Smith, though. He should settle in as the team’s first baseman before the end of the month.

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Tim Beckham]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99113 2017-07-31T22:23:46Z 2017-07-31T20:29:44Z The Rays and Orioles slipped a small-scale, last-minute move in just prior to Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline, with infielder Tim Beckham heading from Tampa to Baltimore in exchange for minor league right-hander Tobias Myers. Both teams have announced the deal.

    Tim Beckham | Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Beckham, 27, was the first overall pick of the 2008 draft but has yet to live up to that billing. He has, however, provided nearly league-average offense in a somewhat limited role with the Rays over the past three seasons, hitting a combined .245/.299/.421 with 26 homers in 783 plate appearances (96 OPS+).

    After narrowly qualifying as a Super Two player this past offseason, Beckham agreed to a one-year deal worth $885K with the Rays to avoid arbitration for the first time. The O’s will now control him for another three seasons via that arbitration process, should they see fit.

    [Related: Updated Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles depth charts]

    With J.J. Hardy on the shelf and a lack of quality internal options to replace him, Beckham will likely step into semi-regular playing time at shortstop with Baltimore — an opportunity that was not present for him with the Rays. Barring a huge surge in production over the season’s final two months, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be a consideration for the regular job next season, but Beckham does have experience at multiple infield positions and could be a utility piece for the O’s moving forward.

    Myers, who turns 19 later this week, was the Orioles’ sixth-round pick just last year. He’s currently pitching against older competition in short-season Class-A and holding his own, with a 3.94 ERA and an excellent 35-to-6 K/BB ratio through 29 2/3 innings.

    Tampa Bay’s acquisition of Lucas Duda pushed Brad Miller to shortstop, leaving Duda and Logan Morrison to share time at first base and DH. With midseason pickups Trevor Plouffe and Adeiny Hechavarrria both also in the mix for the Rays, Beckham’s path to playing time was cloudier than ever, which likely accelerated the Rays’ efforts to facilitate a move. While Myers won’t slot in near the team’s top-ranked prospects, he gives the Rays a fairly low-level lottery ticket with encouraging K/BB numbers — a reasonable return for a player likely viewed to have a limited ceiling at this point.

    Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the agreement and the Rays’ return (Twitter links).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brandon Kintzler Trade Rumors: Deadline Day]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=98952 2017-07-31T18:53:27Z 2017-07-31T18:53:11Z When the Twins decided to change course and begin selling assets, righty Brandon Kintzler immediately became the club’s most obvious trade chip. He’s a pending free agent with an affordable salary and sterling track record over the past two seasons. While contenders won’t likely be targeting him as a closer, he has succeeded in that role over the past two seasons in Minnesota.

    Here’s the latest chatter on his still-developing market:

    • The Twins appear to be nearing a trade involving Kintzler, though it’s not yet apparent where he’s headed, according to a tweet from ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick.
    • Also still involved on Kintzler are the Diamondbacks, per LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune (Twitter link).
    • The Nationals are indeed “in touch” on Kintzler today, tweets Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, with MLB.com’s Jon Morosi characterizing things similarly on Twitter by citing “ongoing discussions” between the teams.
    • Discussions are likely to go right up until the deadline at 4pm EST today, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter). The Nationals and Rockies are among the teams that have checked in on Kintzler, he notes. Likewise, the Rays have shown at least some interest, per 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (via Twitter).
    • With the Red Sox landing Addison Reed, that may have taken one suitor out of the running. But it also perhaps teed up Kintzler as the next-most-appealing righty rental reliever. As MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand suggests on Twitter, the volume of traffic on Kintzler now has the Twins believing he’ll be dealt today.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Stuart Sternberg On Rays' Trades]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=98688 2017-07-30T03:11:33Z 2017-07-30T02:56:47Z Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson changed clubs when the Phillies traded him to the Orioles on Friday, but a car crash has delayed his arrival to meet his new teammates, reports Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com (on Twitter). Hellickson was rear-ended on his way to the airport to fly to Texas, where the Orioles are playing, and he and his girlfriend had to go to the emergency room as a result. Fortunately, it seems the two avoided major injuries. “I think Jeremy is OK, but his girlfriend had to go to the emergency room,” manager Buck Showalter said Saturday (via Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com). “I know Roger (McDowell) has talked to him a couple of times. If everything stays…if she gets cleared, they’ll be in Baltimore tomorrow. No reason to come here (to Texas) now. We’ve got a catcher set up tomorrow in Baltimore.”

    The Phillies received little-used outfielder Hyun Soo Kim in the package for Hellickson, and the 29-year-old’s playing time won’t increase with his new team, writes Matt Breen of Philly.com. “I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to get for Kim,” admitted manager Pete Mackanin. “It’s a conundrum.” With Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams flanking center fielder Odubel Herrera, the Phillies have younger options entrenched in starting roles. That’s unfortunate for Kim, who hit .302/.382/.420 in 346 plate appearances as a rookie last year. The free agent-to-be took massive steps backward this season before the trade (.232/.305/.288 in 142 tries), and he won’t have an opportunity to improve his stock in the next couple months. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams suggested Friday, including Kim and his $4.2MM salary in the trade was a money-driven decision by the teams.

    The latest on a couple of Baltimore’s AL East rivals:

    • The Yankees made Double-A right-hander Zack Littell a healthy scratch from his start on Saturday, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Sherman believes the move has something to do with Monday’s trade deadline, and it’s worth noting that the Yankees and A’s are deep in talks regarding Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray. Speculatively, Littell could end up in the package going to Oakland if the Yankees acquire Gray (or as part of another deal). MLB.com ranks the 21-year-old Littell as New York’s 22nd-best prospect.
    • More from Sherman, who writes that the Yankees may trade hot-hitting Triple-A outfield prospects Billy McKinney and Jake Cave by the end of August as a way to alleviate the 40-man roster crunch they’re slated to face in the offseason. Neither player is on the Yankees’ 40-man right now, and the team is already well off in the outfield. In lieu of protecting the McKinney-Cave tandem over the winter, then, the Yankees could do what they did with outfielder Ben Gamel last year and deal one or both of them. Gamel wasn’t on the 40-man for New York when it traded him to the Mariners last Aug. 31 for a pair of pitching prospects. While Gamel’s now enjoying an excellent rookie season in Seattle, odds are that he wouldn’t have gotten the chance to shine as a major leaguer this year had he stayed in the Yankees organization.
    • In regards to the low-payroll Rays’ trading spree this season, owner Stuart Sternberg told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times: “The impetus? This is a special group of guys who have the talent and are hungry.” Sternberg has picked up $7MM in salary via trades this year – though Colby Rasmus’ departure did save the team $2.5MM, as Topkin points out – and is looking to make more additions to the Rays’ playoff-contending roster. “The money and the talent we no longer have hurts, and makes us a bit weaker in the future,” continued Sternberg. “In a perfect world there will be more to do to improve the club. It’s hard to see how that presents itself, though I have confidence (we) will explore any and every opportunity.”
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Indians Claim Diego Moreno From Rays]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=98644 2017-07-29T19:42:26Z 2017-07-29T19:42:26Z The Indians have claimed righty Diego Moreno from the Rays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. To clear space on their 40-man roster, the Indians have announced that they’ve moved lefty Boone Logan (lat) from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. They’ve also optioned Moreno to Triple-A Columbus. The Rays designated Moreno for assignment when they acquired Dan Jennings from the White Sox earlier this week.

    The 30-year-old Moreno came through the Pirates’ system as a hard-throwing relief prospect, then headed to the Yankees in the A.J. Burnett deal and then to the Rays as a minor-league free agent. Despite missing time to shoulder trouble, Moreno thrived in brief duty for Triple-A Durham this season, allowing two runs over 16 1/3 innings while striking out 17. He also briefly pitched in the big leagues for the Rays, flashing a fastball in the mid-90s. He only has 16 career Major League innings to his name at this point, however.

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