I'm running around this morning for work-related reasons, so I'm unfortunately not going to be able to give my full thoughts on the Ryan Roberts trade. I'll touch on it briefly, but please check out Tommy Rancel's writeup over at The Process Report and Bradley Woodrum's coverage over at SB Nation Tampa Bay. They both hit upon this trade far better than I'm going to be able to do, and their analysis is spot on.
Ryan Roberts basically has the following things going for him: he plays good defense at second and third base; he's a contact hitter with power potential; the Rays didn't have to give up much to acquire him; and he's under team control for the next three seasons as well. He is already making $2 million and will get a raise through arbitration, so it's debatable if they Rays will hold onto him for 2013 and beyond, but the option is certainly there.
The Roberts trade also give the Rays flexibility going into the trade deadline and beyond. At the moment, Roberts can fill in for Evan Longoria at third base and provide the Rays with better offensive production than they're currently receiving, but he could also slide over to second base or serve as a bench player when/if Longoria returns. This could potentially open up the Rays to trading B.J. Upton -- as the outfield could then be Jennings, Joyce, and Zobrist, with Roberts at second base -- or even trade Ben Zobrist if the right deal came around.
To me, this deal is a harbinger for more to come. It's the opening salvo in this year's trade deadline, and judging from recent rumors and this team's current position, it's seemingly increasingly likely that the Rays are going to make a handful of moves this year. So hold on to your butts, this ride is just beginning.
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