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Rays to trade Tommy Pham to Padres for Hunter Renfroe, prospect Xavier Edwards

The Rays are considering trading their top player, again.

MLB: ALDS-Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it’s really happening. The 96-win Rays are trading their top player on offense to the San Diego Padres.

At first blush this is disorienting, and then a bit demoralizing.

Is this about money?

Tommy Pham is “expensive” as far as Rays players go, his arbitration projections should pay the veteran player at least $20 million over the next two seasons, but he is also the best hitter on a team with a payroll currently around $60 million.

As written, this trade does not make the 2020 Rays better or much cheaper, as Renfroe — a right handed hitting right fielder making around $4 million (and who will get three arbitration raises after that) — functions as a replacement for free agent Avisail Garcia, not Pham.

The gap in trade value is thus made up by Xavier Edwards, who is a top-100 worthy prospect and young enough that his window for major league contention may allow the Rays more freedom to deal other top prospects to acquire a replacement for Pham.

We are, after all, just days away from the Winter Meetings, where baseball’s biggest trades frequently occur. The Rays could add to the 2020 team... but for now, they haven’t on net.

Instead it’s shades of Longoria, as — again, this is really happening — the Rays appear to have traded one of the best and most popular players on the team.

Tampa Bay has time to make things right for next season — this is the part where we say “trust the process,” right? — but in the meantime, yikes.

Without knowing what other moves are coming, this one is tough to process.

We will have more when the trade is finalized tomorrow.

Go Rays?