The past few weeks have seen Rays fans consistently obsess over One Final Piece to head into the 2019 season. The moves the Rays have already made this season have undoubtedly improved the team, but the general consensus has seemed to be: Let’s get that one, final guy to really push this team into legitimate contention.
It’s been funny how Rays fans have approached this One Final Piece issue, as it has almost been like an ensemble orchestra in which each musician gets a solo. Instead of looking at the entire free agency class en masse, Rays fans have preferred to put the spotlight intensely on one free agent at a time.
At first it was Nelson Cruz, and that obsession lasted a longgggg time. Then Rays fans turned their focus to trading for J.T. Realmuto, and yesterday there was even a brief dalliance with DJ LeMahieu before that got shut down rather quickly.
DJ LeMahieu signing with the Rays appears very unlikely, according to a source. Several teams interested, but some rival execs believe the Dodgers are the frontrunners for the second baseman. Giants are also in play as the continue to listen to offers for Joe Panik.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 11, 2019
Well, Realmuto talks are still swirling, but I’m here to propose (well, really steal a proposition from Cliff Corcoran over at The Athletic) a new name: Mark Reynolds.
Corcoran’s piece was the first time I can recall tying Reynolds to Tampa Bay this offseason, which is surprising because the fit makes perfect sense. Reynolds would be a veteran for a young team, and as a University of Virginia grad, you just know he has to be a good clubhouse guy. Despite being 35, he has posted an OPS+ over 100 each of the past three seasons, and he could be the right-handed power bat to combo with Ji-Man Choi and give the Rays the moral equivalent to an All-Star first baseman with their platoon.
For his career, Reynolds has pretty even lefty-righty splits, so the Rays and Kevin Cash wouldn’t be tied to penciling Reynolds in only against lefties.
There are no official Reynolds-to-Tampa-Bay rumors swirling just yet, but if, as a fanbase, we are looking to diversify our offseason obsessions a bit, Reynolds is a name to keep an eye on.
- Juan Toribio has his first mailbag for MLB.com, so you know you have to check that bad boy out.
- The Hillsborough County Commission doesn’t want to let the plan to move the Rays to Ybor City die just yet.
- In case you weren’t won over by the Reynolds idea, here’s another Realmuto rumor to satiate you.
- Here’s Rays No. 3 prospect (per FanGraphs) Jesus Sanchez looking ahead to 2019:
- MLB.com selected the minor league player with the best fastball for each team, with Colin Poche winning for the Rays. Do you think the deception will be able to hold up at the major league level?
Around the League
- Jed Lowrie looks to be signing with the Mets. I’m calling it now, the Mets are going to be literally every prognosticator’s sleeper pick heading into 2019. I’m already sick of it.
- Do you like to gamble? I know I do. Eno Sarris has some 2019 team win over/unders to pick apart for you.
- Sarris also likes Dozier a lot as a bounceback candidate in 2019.
- The people love offseason “what does your team need” articles, and while the Rays do not appear on this list, the Reds do, and I like that because usually these lists just consist of the same dozen or so teams, and that grouping don’t usually include Cincinnati.
- And finally, Paul Sporer with some late-round sleepers for your fantasy team.