The Rays have officially signed Steve Pearce, who can serve as a utility player first baseman, outfielder, or DH, and the Rays think he could do even more across the infield. That's a promising move for the Rays depth.
In the midst of making the signing official, the Rays also acquired Corey Dickerson and Kevin Padlo from the Rockies in exchange for Jake McGee and German Marquez. Dickerson could theoretically play some first base, but his major league career has been in the outfield, where he has great range and a meager arm.
Both players carry a big stick, though, and look likely to force out other players on the projected 25-man roster.
Someone Has Got to Go
In particular, the Rays have a surplus of major league talent in the outfield, and possibly first base and catcher. Even Silverman admits they have a logjam.
#Rays Silverman says Dickerson is big piece for now + future. Acknowledges they may have "1 too many" for lineup but willing to work it out— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) January 29, 2016
No doubt Silverman is currently working the phones, trying to find a suitor for one or more of his players. After all, the Rays have plenty of talent at each position, but which player will be the one to go?
The team's first baseman of the past three years, he is the entering the final season of his franchise record contract and is owed just over $9 million. He had an injury marred 2015 that probably hampered his performance, but his production has been trending downward since 2013. There are unlikely to be teams that want Loney at his current price, so the Rays would have to be willing to eat some salary to trade him.
LoMo was just acquired in November but if the Rays are unable to trade Loney, it may be hard to squeeze Morrison into the line-up. His value is pretty low right now after a weak 2015, 17 long balls notwithstanding. However, a team looking for a cheap first base option may be interested in picking him up.
He has been the subject of earlier trade chatter but he has managed to stay with the club thus far. Once hailed as Carl Crawford's replacement, Jennings has never quite lived up to the hype despite having some solid years. Injuries have caused his stock to plummet and with cheaper, younger talent ready to take over, it seems his days with the Rays are numbered.
He seemed like an obvious choice to non-tender earlier this off-season but the Rays decided to tender him contract. A few days later, they acquired Hank Conger, however, and with Curt Casali seemingly ready to stick in the majors, it's three's-a-crowd. Coming off an absolutely dreadful season, the Rays are unlikely to find a trade partner for the catcher unless another heady organization can see the value in his glove. If his spot is needed he may just be designated for assignment.
Of course, "do nothing" is still an option.
Silverman acknowledged that if all stay healthy, "we probably have one too many" and said trade talks remain "active." But he also said the Rays plan to take the current group to camp and see how it works out, knowing there are usually issues and they have extraordinary depth.
If all are healthy, Loney seems most likely to go, and perhaps Jennings, who missed most of last season with a knee injury.
You never know when injuries might crop up, and the Rays do not have to move anyone off the 40-man roster now that the Dickerson trade is complete. As an example, the Rays could not find a trade partner for David DeJesus last off-season and were probably glad they had retained him when they lost several players to injury early in the season.
What say you? Is any player the most likely to be moved?