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Rays discussed trading a centerfielder to New York at the trade deadline

This revelation is courtesy of the NY Post.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

As the dust from the season begins to settle in the AL East, there will start to be interesting tidbits that went unpublished that will finally be revealed. Today we got one such instance from the NY Post, courtesy of Joel Sherman.

In discussing possible trade destinations for Joey Gallo, who has one year left on his rookie contract that should pay him approximately $10 million next season, Sherman first highlighted a team that had interest in him at the trade deadline: the Tampa Bay Rays.

It should come as no surprise that the Rays considered Gallo, as they were early movers at the trade deadline when they secured a deal for Nelson Cruz instead.

What may come as more of a surprise is that the Rays also considered making roster space by dealing one of their three centerfielders as well in a trade with the teams in New York:

[...] Tampa Bay also had multi-year interest in Gallo. And the Yanks (and Mets) did talk to the Rays about center fielders — Kevin Kiermaier, Brett Phillips and Manuel Margot — as recently as the trade deadline without approaching a deal.

The Rays would end up only using two of those three players in the playoffs this year, which adds credence to the rumor.

The Yankees were desperate for a centerfielder at the trade deadline following an injury to Aaron Hicks, and in this piece Sherman wonders if a trade might still be in the cards thanks to the groundwork laid at the trade deadline:

I wonder if there are the rudiments of a trade with Kiermaier and Gallo. [...] Kiermaier is owed $14.5 million by Tampa via a $12 million salary in 2022 and a $2.5 million buyout on a $13 million club option in 2023. So the ever financially conscious Rays would save a few million to earmark elsewhere.

Sherman concludes that a 1:1 swap wouldn’t be the right price in his mind, but sees merit in the clubs filling needs for 2022 in such a deal.

The Rays do seem poised to eventually deal a centerfielder, particularly given the redundancy between Brett Phillips and Kevin Kiermaier — as evidenced by the team’s difficulty placing both on the ALDS roster — and given the coming promotion of left handed hitting OF Josh Lowe, who is now on the 40-man roster after earning a cup of coffee earlier this season.

You can read Sherman’s lengthy write up on Gallo destinations here: