After leaving the Winter Meetings the Tampa Bay Rays had work to do, but a roster that already looks to be one of the top five teams in the majors heading into 2020.
The Rays didn’t wait long before making an addition in signing left fielder Yoshimoto Tsutsugo to a two year contract.
26 Man Roster:
2020 Projected Rays Roster
The salaries for Hunter Renfroe, Daniel Robertson, Tyler Glasnow, Chaz Roe, and Oliver Drake come from the projections at MLBTradeRumors.com. The amounts could be off a few hundred thousand in each case, but overall tend to be accurate.
This assumes that the 2/$12MM deal being reported with Yoshimoto Tsutsugo is split $6MM in each season. The Rays would owe a posting fee of $2.4MM.
The Rays also have $2MM going to the San Francisco Giants to pay down part of the Evan Longoria contract. The money is deferred, so it could reasonably be accounted for in the 2020 budget or as part of a future budget.
Including the money going to San Francisco and the posting fee the Rays payroll sits at roughly $66.65MM. If they went back to their typical $70-80MM payroll range there is still room to add.
Offensively this lineup is extremely left handed. Austin Meadows, Ji-Man Choi, Brandon Lowe, Kevin Kiermaier and Yoshimoto Tsutsugo are everyday or most day options that hit left handed. Michael Perez and Joey Wendle are on the bench.
A right handed bat is still the top priority. Now that the Rays have four reasonable everyday outfield options in Meadows, Kiermaier, Renfroe, and Tsutsugo the Rays could reasonably fill the vacant roster spot with a full time designated hitter like Edwin Encarnacion. Now that Howie Kendrick re-signed with the Washington Nationals one of my under the radar options would be Wilmer Flores.
The pitching side is pretty much set. They have reported interest in Dellin Betances which would be a great addition. If they fail in that pursuit then I could see them only adding relievers on MiLB deals with Spring Training Invites. Any upgrades to come would need to be a serious upgrade to move the needle.
Brendan McKay likely starts the season in Durham as the sixth starter. This serves two purposes. The first is the commitment to giving him the opportunity to hit. The second comes from the pitching side where he only threw 122.1 innings combined between the majors and minors. It’s hard to see him being pushed beyond 150-160 innings. He also needs to get comfortable working a normal five day schedule.
The roster is coming into focus, but there is still work to do.