Since the days when Andrew Friedman was leading their front office, the Tampa Bay Rays have been regular players in the trade market. At times, it’s been more smoke then fire, but the team has occasionally moved forward with deals.
Tampa Bay finds themselves in a bit of a difficult situation this winter. They’re coming off a fourth consecutive losing season, though one which they won 80 games for a second time in that span. Alex Cobb, who was extended a qualifying offer, is a key free agent.
Lucas Duda, Logan Morrison and Colby Rasmus are also among the players no longer under contract. Furthermore, the Rays are in a division with traditional contenders Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Mulling over a potential rebuild, the Rays are considering trade offers for Chris Archer and others who remain under team control, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
The Tampa Bay Rays, perennially disadvantaged by revenue restraints, are gauging interest in some of their top players, including star pitcher Chris Archer – talks that carry the potential to shake up the market, if they ultimately decide to rebuild.
“We’re listening right now,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said.
If made available, Archer would join Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton as one of the more sought-after players this offseason. Unlike Stanton, the right-hander has neither an exorbitant contract or no-trade clause.
It’s believed the Rays fielded offers for Archer prior to each of the last non-waiver trade deadlines. The Los Angeles Dodgers were among the clubs linked to the young ace in each instance.
They presumably would still have interest in Archer, who could serve as a replacement of sorts to Yu Darvish. Of course, it’s likely the Rays will continue to have a high asking price for the 29-year-old.
Archer is owed $6.4 million next season, $7.6 million in 2019, and has $9 million and $11 million club options on his contract for 2020 and 2021, respectively. Those years also include $1.75 million and $250,000 buyouts.