The Tampa Bay Rays made a pair of roster moves on Wednesday, acquiring outfielder/first baseman Brian O’Grady from the Cincinnati Reds — who, in turn, will receive a player to be named later and cash — while designating first baseman/designated hitter Jesus Aguilar for assignment to create roster space. Aguilar had been projected to earn $2.5-Million in arbitration.
Aguilar, who was traded to the Rays at the July 31st deadline, turned in a .261 BA/.336 OBP/.424 SLG/.760 OPS slash line, with a 103 wRC+ across 107 plate appearances and 37 games (26 starts). His modest production, however, was not enough to motivate the Rays to commit to his salary and tie up a roster spot. The six-year veteran of Cleveland, the Brewers, and Tampa Bay is a career .256 hitter with a .805 OPS, 63 career home runs, and 215 RBI making him an interesting target for teams in need of 1B/DH help.
O’Grady is a left-handed hitter who earned his first shot at the big leagues last season. The speedy multi-dimensional player scuffled in his limited opportunities, although he showed well with Triple-A Louiseville, where he was co-MVP. At the Triple-A level, O’Grady slashed .280 BA/.359 OBP/.550 SLG/.909 OPS with 28 home runs, 77 RBI, and 20 stolen bases over 489 plate appearances. He became Louisville’s first-ever player to hit at least 20 home runs and swipe 20 bases in the same season.
Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) wrote about O’Grady, saying:
O’Grady also made nine starts and appeared in 28 games for the Reds, his first MLB action. Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the Best Defensive First Baseman in the International League in its Best Tools survey. In the outfield, Grady has played all three spots, with more time in left field and center than right.
O’Grady was selected by the Reds in the eighth round of the 2014 June Draft out of Rutgers University, where he earned third team All-Conference honors as a senior. Over six minor league seasons, he is a career .252 hitter with an .807 OPS with 76 home runs, 299 RBI and 85 stolen bases.— Neil Solondz
Tampa Bay now has six arbitration-eligible players to decide upon since Aguilar and Matt Duffy were designated for assignment, and Mike Zunino agreed to terms.
Those remaining players and their estimated 2020 contracts (courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors) are:
- Oliver Drake — $1.1-Million
- Tyler Glasnow — $1.9-Million
- Guillermo Heredia — $1.1-Million
- Tommy Pham — $8.6-Million
- Daniel Robertson — $1.1-Million
- Chaz Roe — $2.2-Million.
As Solondz notes:
The six players above will earn about $16 million in 2020 if they all are tendered. Add in the approximately $32.5 million that five players under contract are to receive (Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Lowe, Charlie Morton, Blake Snell and Mike Zunino and that’s that’s about $48.5 million for 11 players. Several others would make near the minimum (ie — Willy Adames, Austin Meadows, Diego Castillo etc) but there are still several areas still to improve upon in order to upgrade next year’s version of the Rays from a 96-win total and a year that ended in the ALDS.— Neil Solondz
The Rays have until 8 p.m. Monday to decide whether to tender a contract to the above mentioned arbitration-eligible players.