One of the Rays newest acquisitions; RHP Jose Dominguez.
One of the Rays newest acquisitions, RHP Jose Dominguez.

The standing question after Andrew Friedman left for the supposed greener pastures of Los Angeles, how effective would Matt Silverman be in the vacated position? If his recent off-season moves — last night’s roster deadline included — speak to anything, I’d say he’s going to be pretty damn effective.

First, he executed a deal to the Los Angeles Angels of the Rays former long reliever, LHP Cesar Ramos. Then, he dealt Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona for a pair of up and coming prospects. Finally, when faced with opening six roster spots ahead of the 40-man roster deadline last night, Silverman executed a trade of Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore — paired with a few other moves — to protect six players who were at risk of being picked up in December’s Rule-5 Draft. Well done Mr. Silverman, well done.

In short, Silverman opened up two slots by sending two relievers — Peralta and Triple-A prospect Liberatore — to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the blazing fastball hurler Jose Dominguez, and starter from Class-A named Greg Harris. The Rays also literally thinned out the roster by designating the swarthy Jose Molina, recently signed reliever Michael Kohn, and infielder Cole Figueroa for assignment. Both Molina and Kohn are under contract and have ten days to be traded or the Rays will have to eat their salary.

These moves gave the Rays six open roster slots and removed Liberatore from the depth chart — allowing Tampa Bay the opportunity to add Dominguez, RHP Matt Andriese, INF Ryan Brett, LHP Grayson Garvin, OF Mikie Mahtook, and C Justin O’Conner to the 40-man roster. Among the names under consideration for the Rays (but not protected from the Rule-5 Draft) are High-A starter Jeff Ames, Double-A corner outfielder Taylor Motter, longtime Triple-A starter Merrill Kelly, and Double-A center fielder Kes Carter.

Danny Russell of DRaysBay was quick to offer his thoughts on last night’s roster action,

The Rays can’t protect everyone on their list, and if Liberatore was to be exposed, the thought process would be to get something else in return. Still, the lefty Liberatore had some shiny stats last year at Triple-A, including a 1.66 ERA and 1.65 FIP while striking out nearly 12/9. He takes the place of top-ten prospect Onelki Garcia, a southpaw reliever the Dodgers lost earlier today to the White Sox after designating from the 40-man. Dodgers fans are excited to have the Durham southpaw, and rightfully so.

Paired with Joel Peralta going out the door, and bringing back only one pitcher who needed protecting on the roster, will prove to either be fateful or shrewd, depending on who is more successful: strike-em-out southpaw Liberatore, or light-em-up righty Jose Dominguez.

When all is said and done, even though the roster moves were slow in coming, Silverman passed the initial seeing eye test.

Noteworthiness

  • The Rays are expected to trim the eight-man managerial field this afternoon, with the intent to bring in three candidates for in-depth, in-person interviews. The narrowed field would expedite the interview and hiring process, though the conclusion of the process is unknown. Marc Topkin tweeted (seen below) that both Manny Acts and Brewers special assistant Craig Counsel are no longer in consideration for the position. Counsell told MLB.com that he withdrew himself from consideration for the Rays job because he likes his current gig with the Brewers.

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