The 2020 MLB trade deadline is just a few days away with the deadline set to officially pass at 4pm on Monday, August 31st.
With that being said, Buster Olney reports that the Tampa Bay Rays have been among the more aggressive teams in trade talks and understandably so as their pitching has been absolutely ravaged by injuries this past month. Heading into play on Wednesday, the Rays have 9 pitchers on the Injured List with Jalen Beeks likely joining that group by the end of the day.
Other teams say the Rays are being very aggressive in conversations, six days away from the trade deadline.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 25, 2020
There are myriad targets for the Rays to go after, some we know about and some we would never have considered if they do get them. However, the focus of this article is not about who the Rays will go after, but rather who they could use to acquire their targets and since they boast the top farm system in baseball, as the Rays have no shortage of supply.
Previously: Who are the Rays top trade targets?
Here are some of the potential trade chips the Rays could include to make a deal happen.
Vidal Brujan, INF
Brujan does everything right and would only be offered by the Rays to get a player that they truly covet. Entering the season, DRaysBay had him pegged as the team’s 3rd top prospect behind Wander Franco and Brendan McKay, while FanGraphs has him ranked the 21st overall prospect in baseball.
Brujan is a bundle of energy concentrated in a small frame. He swings like he’s trying to hit a homer in every at bat. It hasn’t caused contact problems to this point. He has posted strikeout rates in the low teens at every stop. He has a good eye that should allow him to post good OBP.
Brujan’s speed is his biggest weapon at this time. In two years of full season ball he has stolen 103 bases. Brujan has the speed that he might start a conversion to center field in the near future.
Lucius Fox, INF
UPDATE - August 27: The Rays have traded SS Lucius Fox to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for OF Brett Phillips
The “prize” of the Matt Moore trade, Fox himself could be used once again to acquire a promising pitcher, or some other player at another position. Fox is in the same boat at Walls, with the exception that Fox currently inhabits a place on the Rays 40-man roster, making him even more likely to be dealt as the Rays will look to clear more space.
DRaysBy had Fox ranked as the Rays 18th best prospect entering the season:
Fox has plus speed with solid contact rates that help him overcome a lack of power (even if it isn’t always quality contact). He has a good eye which led to a 12.3% walk rate and 21.7% strikeout rate despite little power. Extra bases will come from doubles and triples rather than homers, and last year he stole 39 bags.
He’s got speed.
Nate Lowe, 1B
Nate Lowe is a solid hitter capable of producing in the big leagues right now. Unfortunately, the Rays have several players that are also capable of hitting in the big leagues and they play the same position as Lowe, causing him to be effectively blocked. However, a lot of teams around the league could find a spot for Lowe, especially with the universal DH being employed.
We previously highlighted Lowe as a potential return to the Royals in exchange for relief pitching.
Lowe is a major leaguer and would be ready to contribute immediately.
Hunter Renfroe, OF
Randy Arozarena is tearing it up in Port Charlotte for the alternate Rays, but has no position to play at the big league level with Hunter Renfroe blocking him in right field. Thus, the Rays could look to move their slugging outfielder to clear a roster spot for Arozarena, and also clears a spot on the 40-man roster while also saving the Rays some money as Renfroe (who is making a prorated amount of $3.3M in 2020) set to be arbitration eligible for the next three seasons.
Renfroe has not wowed offensively thus far in 2020, hitting .171/.247/.421 with 5 HR over 85 plate appearances.
But he’s got power and plus defense.
Joe Ryan, RHP
The Rays need quality Major League pitching and teams are usually more receptive to giving that up when they receive possible future Major League pitching and that is what the Rays have to offer with Joe Ryan, their 2019 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
A bizzaroland pitcher, Ryan shouldn’t succeed with the arsenal he has, but he has become one of the premier strikeout pitchers in the minor leagues, despite his main weapon being a low 90’s fastball. What makes Ryan stand out is the rise he gets from that pitch, which has led to some dubbing it as ‘an unhittable fastball’ and his ability to quickly develop a feel for new pitches.
DRaysBay ranked Ryan the team’s 13th top prospect, so he should slot into the top-10 of most any system.
Taylor Walls, INF
A tremendous defender, Walls has the awkward distinction of being a solid middle infield prospect on a team with several of the games premium prospects up the middle. Entering the season, he was ranked the 14th best prospect in the Rays system by DRaysBay.
Walls is a player that has no real standout skill but seems to do everything good enough. He’s rated very well defensively to this point in the minors. He hit .270/.343/.452 and put up a 130 wRC+ split between Port Charlotte (A+) and Montgomery (AA). He hit 10 homers and stole 28 bags but was caught 15 times.
It’s a bit of a surprise he hasn’t already broken into the major league side, but at the Alternate Training Site he’s likely getting everyday playing time, which is of greater value at this stage of development.