Tampa Bay Rays Rumors: Archer, Odorizzi, Cobb

No imminent deals in place, however plenty of speculation surrounds the Tampa Bay Rays as Day Two of the Winter Meetings is underway.

Tis’ the season to be jolly, and hopefully it will be for the Tampa Bay Rays as numerous teams are very interested in the availability of pitchers within the rotation that could possible land a veteran and boatload of close to major league prospects.

Unfortunately, from the way things are going the holdup to any trade could be the Rays asking price for Chris Archer. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have asked for five or six players in return for Archer, though he is not sure if that is team specific.

With Chris Sale just about out of the picture for the Braves, they are focusing on Archer. However, Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweets that the Rays asking price far exceeds what Atlanta is willing to pay.

Topkin also writes that the Pittsburgh Pirates have inquired about Odorizzi. Both clubs had discussions prior to the trade deadline, which is as far as things went. No specifics on the accuracy of the conversation, though Topkin thinks it would be fascinating to see what kind/if any deal the teams could work out.

Prior to the non-waiver trade deadline this past summer, the Texas Rangers had extensive talks about Archer, Odorizzi and Drew Smyly, but both teams were not expected to renew any of those talks during the Winter Meetings.

However, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers have discussed Alex Cobb, as he would be more affordable than the above-mentioned players would for a few reasons. First, Cobb missed all of 2015 and the majority of 2016 following Tommy John surgery and secondly, Cobb is under control through 2017 and is free agent bound following the upcoming season.

Surprisingly, Cobb announced that he had changed agents and it makes me wonder if this could be a prelude to a potential trade. Via a text to Topkin, Cobb said, “I really don’t like the business side of baseball, but I thought this would be the best fit for my family and I on and off the field.”

Keeping focused with the Rangers, the Tampa Bay Rays are showing interest in left reliever Dario Alvarez. Alvarez pitched for the Rangers and Atlanta last season where he posted a 5.06 ERA, 13.8 K/9 and 5.86 K/BB rate over 26 2/3 innings.

The opportunity to add free agent catcher Welington Castillo will not come easy for the Rays as the competition and price are heating up. With several teams, including the Braves and Orioles in the mix, speculation is that Castillo is likely to get a multi-year deal that could reach $15 million. Castillo was projected to make $5.9 million on a one-year deal he was currently set to receive through arbitration.

Even though Silverman said that no Rays are untouchable, I doubt he would pull the trigger involving Kevin Kiermaier or Evan Longoria – then again nothing at this point would surprise me more and of course the return would have to blow everyone’s socks off.

Nonetheless, Silverman continues to entertain calls on Kiermaier’s availability and the Washington Nationals, looking for a centerfielder have contacted the Tampa Bay Rays according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today regarding him. Despite an injury-riddled season, Kiermaier hit a career high 12 homers, stole a career high 21 bases and won his second consecutive Gold Glove Award.

A return of free agent Steve Pearce will not happen. Pearce moves across the border to Toronto as he signed a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Blue Jays. Pearce is expected to platoon at first and will be used in left and throughout the infield according to Jays GM Ross Atkins.

Waiting to make a move is not necessarily a bad thing, considering that in the end it could be very beneficial for the Rays. For instance, as some of the big names have come off the board like Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, and Yoenis Cespedes many others remain.

With the Rays still in need of a corner outfield/DH and first baseman, the wait could give them the financial flexibility to sign a player such as Jose Bautista says Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times who makes a great point.

On the subject of Bautista, who was drafted by the Pirates in 2000 had been with the Rays, then known as the Devil Rays back in 2004. His way to the Rays was via the Orioles who had selected him in the Rule 5 Draft (from Pittsburgh) and was on the O’s 2004 Opening Day roster.

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Bautista would make his major league debut on April 4 with the O’s. However, the Orioles waived him and the Devil Rays selected him on June 4. After appearing in 12 games, where he batted .167 with just two hits in 12 at-bats for the Devil Rays, the Kansas City Royals purchased him on June 28.

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