The Tampa Bay Rays are currently in the very enviable position of having too few spots for too many quality players, whilst several teams across the game are starved for production from their players up the middle of the field.
Currently on their active roster, the Rays have four players circulating between second and shortstop: Willy Adames, Brandon Lowe, Joey Wendle, and Mike Brosseau. Meanwhile, the depth at Triple-A are doing their best to force their way onto the Rays roster with Vidal Brujan, Taylor Walls, and Wander Franco all excelling with the Durham Bulls.
Thusly, the Rays may have began to field offers for some of their middle infielders in order to find potential opportunities for their prospect core or just as a way of finagling their roster to take some of their excess at one spot and exchange it for some depth where they’ve been depleted.
So, let’s rank the Rays infielders most likely to be traded:
1. Mike Brosseau
The hero of the 2020 ALDS, Brosseau cemented himself into Rays lore with a dramatic go-ahead eventual game winning series clinching homerun against Aroldis Chapman in the 8th inning of Game 5 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees. But, historic moments do not cement you a place on a roster and Brosseau has been relegated to a role on the bench for the Rays.
Brosseau has receive just 93 plate appearances this season over 32 games played. He hasn’t been able to replicate his offensive production from his first two seasons in the big leagues (59 wRC+, compared to a career mark of 109). He has come through with a couple of clutch hits already this season, but the Rays still may be willing to part with Brosseau in order to give him more of an opportunity with another team in the league, as well as opening up a spot on their roster.
2. Willy Adames
Over the offseason, the Tampa Bay Rays reportedly were discussing their starting shortstop, Willy Adames, with several teams. The rumor that caught the most wind was a deal with the Cincinnati Reds, but the rumors were just that, and Adames opened the season with the Rays. Adames value had never been higher as he hit .259/.332/.481 in 2020 and accrued 1.5 fWAR.
Thus far through the early part of the season, Adames has not been able to replicate his offensive success from the abbreviated 2020 campaign, hitting just .197/.254/.371 over 142 plate appearances.
The writing is on the wall for Adames’ eventual departure from the Rays and that time may be closing in with his quality of play and the top prospects knocking on the door.
3. Joey Wendle
There isn’t a single team in baseball that wouldn’t want Joey Wendle on their team. Following his breakout rookie campaign in 2018, Wendle has dealt with nagging injuries. However, the scrappy infielder is now fully healthy, allowing him to fully excel.
Entering play on Friday, Wendle currently leads the team in fWAR and wRC+, hitting .309/.354/.537 with 5 HR over 147 plate appearances.
With his production, the Rays may not be too eager to part ways with the tenacious Wendle, however, if the right offer is made, the Rays are always willing to accept it.
4. Brandon Lowe
The 2021 season started out roughly for Lowe as his prolonged slump from the 2020 regular season and postseason seemingly carried over to kick off this campaign. However, Lowe has now seemingly shrugged off his early season woes and has begun showcase glimpses of his offensive potential.
Over his last 31 games, Lowe is hitting .209/.298/.417 with 7 HR over 131 plate appearances.
Regardless of his output, the Rays may be hard pressed to find a suiter for Lowe, due to the contract extension he was given prior to the 2019 season. Lowe is slated to earn $2.5M in 2021 and then $18M over the next three seasons, plus two team options for 2025-2026.
Baseball is a fickle game that is never constant, despite what James Earl Jones says. Any of these players mentioned, could just as easily be placed on the IL tomorrow with a career ending injury instead of being traded. However, as of right now, this is the ranking of the Rays infielders most likely to be dealt.
UPDATE - 4:17 PM
WE HAVE AN ANSWER
The Rays have traded Willy Adames to the Brewers, per source.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) May 21, 2021