The Rays have the third ranked farm system, according to MLB.com’s rankings, but that blessing could be a curse if the Rays don’t start dealing from their depth.
MLB.com Top 30 that will be Rule 5 eligible:
1. RHP Brent Honeywell (Triple-A; No. 14 overall)
5. 1B/OF Jake Bauers (Triple-A; No. 84 overall)
10. 1B Casey Gillaspie (Triple-A)*
11. OF Justin Williams (Double-A)
16. LHP Genesis Cabrera (High-A) — Maybe! We’re not sure, as he signed late and aspects of the rules depend on if he was assigned to a team in 2013...
20. RHP Yonny Chirinos (Triple-A)
24. LHP Ryan Yarbrough (Triple-A)
26. C Nick Ciuffo (Double-A)
It’s easy to imagine each of the first five prospects listed above being protected, while the others may result in excellent trade bait in the months to come.
But that’s not all. The Rays farm has several players coming up that will need protecting on the 40-man roster if the team intend to keep them long term.
Triple-A Durham Bulls
LHP Kyle Bird
UTIL Ryan Brett
RHP Diego Castillo
OF Johnny Field
OF Cade Gotta
INF Jake Hager
INF Patrick Leonard
INF Kean Wong
Double-A Montgomery Biscuits
RHP Greg Harris
UTIL Grant Kay
C Justin O'Conner
RHP Jose Mujica
UTIL Michael Russell
INF Ryan Unroe
UTIL Andrew Velazquez
High-A Port Charlotte Stone Crabs
OF Tommy Milone
LHP Travis Ott
RHP Michael Santos
Low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods
C Jonah Heim
The upcoming Rays schedule is absolutely brutal, but the good news is that if they want reinforcements for that stretch, the team has plenty of pieces to deal from.
However, regardless if they use these players now, the 2018 protection list is going to be nuts.
Tampa Bay is typically quiet at the trade deadline, but they might as well move a few pieces now while players like RHP Yonny Chirinos and 1B Casey Gillaspie hold value.
*UPDATE - 11:00 AM, July 27, 2017