The 2022 regular season has concluded, and the brains of the Rays front office likely entered off-season mode weeks ago, so it’s time for us to do the same. This winter won’t be much different than recent off-seasons for the Rays, as they yet again have more quality players than the rules will allow for them to hold onto.
All of these moving parts will force the Rays to be active early on in the offseason. Everything will be on the table for the always creative Rays including trades, signings, non-tenders, prospect promotions, you name it. For all of us who love to put our GM caps on, here is your guide for where things currently stand roster-wise for the Tampa Bay Rays:
Current 40-man roster (38)
Pitchers (19): Jason Adam, Shawn Armstrong, Jalen Beeks, JT Chargois, Yonny Chirinos, Garrett Cleavinger, Pete Fairbanks, Calvin Faucher, Josh Fleming, Tyler Glasnow, Javy Guerra, Shane McClanahan, Luis Patiño, Colin Poche, Brooks Raley, Drew Rasmussen, Jeffrey Springs, Jimmy Yacabonis, Ryan Yarbrough
Catchers (3): Christian Bethancourt, Francisco Mejia, Rene Pinto
Infielders (8): Jonathan Aranda, Vidal Brujan, Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz, Wander Franco, Miles Mastrobuoni, Isaac Paredes, Taylor Walls
Outfielders (8): Randy Arozarena, Josh Lowe, Bligh Madris, Manuel Margot, Roman Quinn, Luke Raley, Harold Ramirez, Jose Siri
After subtracting the impending free agents (which are listed in the next section), The Rays current 40-man roster sits at 38, including an even 19 pitchers and 19 position players. It is fair to say that not all of these players will be back with the Rays next year, especially considering a major league high 19 of them will be arbitration eligible.
The non-tender deadline is on December 1st.
Free Agents (4)
Kevin Kiermaier*, Corey Kluber, David Peralta, Mike Zunino
*Kevin Kiermaier is not technically a free agent yet, but it has been widely speculated that the team will not be picking up his $13 million 2023 option and will instead pay him a $2.5 million buyout.
Impending free agents David Peralta and Corey Kluber were the two oldest players to play for Tampa Bay in 2022. After four straight seasons of serving as the Rays primary catcher, Mike Zunino is entering free agency, though there is some mutual interest in a reunion.
On the whole, that’s a lot of veteran leadership heading out the door.
60-day Injured List (7)
Nick Anderson, Shane Baz, J.P. Feyereisen, Andrew Kittredge, Brandon Lowe, Brendan McKay, Ryan Thompson
On November 5th the Rays will face their first deadline of the offseason: The 60-day IL activation date.
This means that for any injured players the Rays wish to keep in the organization, they will need to add them to the 40-man roster a few days after the World Series concludes. Once this deadline passes, free agency and trading opens up for all clubs.
Right now, there are only two open spots on the 40-man roster, which means the Rays will need to find a way to clear five additional spots in order to protect all seven of these injured players. It is fair to wonder though if all seven of these players will in fact be protected. For example, will Tampa Bay look to move on from oft-injured pitchers like Nick Anderson and Brendan McKay?
Rule 5 Eligible Prospects
Curtis Mead, Taj Bradley, Colby White, Xavier Edwards, Greg Jones, Heriberto Hernandez, Osleivis Basabe, Kameron Misner, Brett Wisely, Jose Lopez, and more...
Shortly after the 60-day IL players must be activated, the Rays will have to decide which of their rule 5 prospects to protect by November 20th. Any eligible prospect who is not protected by the deadline will be available to all teams in the rule 5 draft at the winter meetings.
Curtis Mead and Taj Bradley are the two top tier prospects in this crop and will certainly be added to the roster. After those two come the hard decisions.
The team’s infield prospects is the most interesting discussion, as there doesn't appear to be room for all of Xavier Edwards, Greg Jones, and Osleivis Basabe on the roster, especially considering utility players such as Miles Mastrobuoni, Jonathan Aranda, and Vidal Brujan are already on the 40-man.
Colby White is another strong possibility to be added, as he had huge success as a reliever in the Rays system but he underwent Tommy John surgery during the 2022 season.
If you’re wondering how the Rays may approach this situation, last season’s blueprint can provide some context.
In November 2021, the Rays added five prospects to their 40-man roster before the rule 5 deadline (Jonathan Aranda, Calvin Faucher, Rene Pinto, Ford Proctor, Tommy Romero) and traded another (Tobias Myers). The Rays made a few small additional trades in November to clear space for these players as well (Mike Brosseau, Louis Head, Brent Honeywell Jr.).
This is a lot to think about, so I’ll end with a question for y’all:
Between 60-day IL players and R5 eligible prospects, how many total players will the Rays add to their roster next month?
This poll is closed
7 or less
8 - 9
10 - 11
12 or more