As expected, the Tampa Bay Rays front office staff left the 2017 GM Meetings without making any big deals, although they are more educated about the possibilities that lay before them.
For the most part, we’re exiting here with a better understanding of what teams are trying to address, so it’s certainly helpful to have that information in hand, said Rays GM Erik Neander. Now it’s a matter of processing it, figuring out what kinds of fits in to where we are and what we want to accomplish, and see where things go from there.
Three possibilities rose to the surface Wednesday afternoon.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 15, 2017
St. Louis is in need of arms — which makes Tampa Bay a popular target — and is flush in young position players. Because of it, there is reported speculation about the two clubs matching up at different levels.
Jon Morosi (MLB Network) broke the news of one discussed trade scenario that could send right-handed relief pitcher Alex Colome to the St. Louis Cardinals — a team in need of a closer after they released Trevor Rosenthal following Tommy John surgery.
Colome is projected to earn $5.5-Million and can be retained for two additional seasons through the arbitration process. While he led the AL in saves last season, Colome regressed from his prior campaign. After performing to a 1.91 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 2016, the right-hander’s ERA rose 133 points to 3.24 in 2017 with just a 7.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 (2.52 K/BB).
Who might the Rays be targeting? Tampa Bay is in need of a right-handed hitting outfielder; aside from Steven Souza Junior, the team doesn’t have any realistic big league ready options available for the foreseeable future.
JT Morgan (DRaysBay) made mention of five players that the Rays could target: Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk and Jose Martinez.
Whether something will get done between the two fails to be seen at the moment, although the groundwork for a potential deal has been laid.
Just ran into Melvin (B.J.) Upton at GM meetings lobby. Is meeting with some teams, planning to play in 2018. Said he’d be open to returning to #Rays
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) November 15, 2017
Former centerfielder Melvin “BJ” Upton spoke with teams at the meetings hotel Wednesday, as he continues his search for a job after missing all of last season due to injury. Upton told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) he would be interested in coming back to the Rays.
— DRaysBay (@draysbay) November 15, 2017
The Rays had rumored interest in Jose Bautista in 2016, and surprise surprise, those rumors have continued into the 2017 offseason. Morosi reported the Rays are interested in adding the veteran outfielder to the fold for the 2018 season. If a deal were to get done, Bautista would likely be relegated to DH duty.
— Per Topkin, Alex Cobb is set to decline the Rays’ one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer by today’s 5 p.m. deadline. That allows him to pursue a longer and more lucrative deal elsewhere, with the Cubs and Twins most rumored, and the Rays to get a compensatory draft pick when he does.