Every Rays offseason inevitably leads to trade rumors about their higher-paid players, whether they are players who are becoming more expensive due to their arbitration years or players entering the more expensive years of their current contracts. It should be similar this winter, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times Tyler Glasnow AND Manuela Margot “They appear to be in trade discussions” as the Rays try to both manage their budget and maintain a competitive roster.
It’s no surprise that either player would potentially decide to trade, especially since Tampa reportedly offered Margot to other teams before the trade deadline. Margot also caused some trade confusion in the 2021-22 offseason because 2022 was his final year of salary arbitration, but the Rays not only avoided an arbitrator hearing by agreeing to a salary deal with Margot for 2022, but also signed him to a two– one-year, $19 million extension with a $12 million club option through 2025.
Glasnow’s extension with the Rays seemed to only create more trade speculation than assurance about his future with the St. Petersburg. The right-hander signed a two-year, $30.35 million contract extension in August 2022, just over a year after the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery that cost him almost the entire 2022 season. The deal broke down at a salary of $5. $35 million in 2023 (basically what Glasnow would have earned anyway on his arbitration salary), and then as much as $25 million in 2024.
Basically, from the moment this deal was announced, many expected the Rays would want to trade Glasnow before the $25 million bill came due. That dollar amount may not deter many teams as a one-year splurge, given Glasnow has returned to reasonably good health and had a strong season. The unexpected workload cost Glasnow the first two months of the 2023 campaign, but he posted a 3.53 ERA, a 51.2% ground attack rate and an elite 33.4% strikeout rate over 120 innings.
Of course, the Rays themselves might consider $25 million to be a good investment in a top-of-the-rotation arm, especially given the other injury issues in Tampa Bay’s rotation. Glasnow i Zach Eflin project as the Rays’ two best pitchers, with Taj Bradley included in the rotation at least at the beginning of the season, Shane Baz returning from Tommy John surgery, Drew Rasmussen (elbow brace surgery) i Jeffrey Springs (TJ surgery) expected to return mid-season and Shane McClanahan he will most likely miss a year altogether due to another TJ procedure. Considering how all these injuries have hampered the Rays this year, Tampa could feel comfortable keeping Glasnow and then get draft compensation from next winter via a qualifying offer or perhaps even a midseason trade if the Rays fall out of the race.
If Glasnow is retained and the Rays want to cut payroll elsewhere, moving Margot seems like a natural place to start since he will be owed $12 million in 2024 ($10 million salary, $2 million vested option for 2025). . Margot has batted slightly below average overall in his eight MLB seasons, and his slash line of .264/.310/.376 in 336 plate appearances in 2023 has generally matched his career numbers. Margot’s speed and defense helped him produce value beyond an average tackle, although public metrics pointed to a decline in his glove work in center field in 2023, even though his effectiveness in right field was still solid. Margot’s playing time has also been limited by injuries over the past two years, as well as the Rays’ natural penchant for outfield platoons.
Perhaps especially if Tampa Bay feels Margot has lost a step or two defensively, she could prove to be an expendable part of a crowded Rays outfield. Josh Lowe AND Jose Siri he could take over the midfield platoon, and prospects like Kameron Misner Or Chandler Simpson they may also be getting close to making their big league debut. The trade market for Margot may be somewhat limited due to his performance in 2023, but with few free agents available for position players, any outfield help could gain additional interest this particular winter.
Moving from possible Rays trades to some moves that didn’t happen, Tampa Bay was interested Shohei Ohtani last summer, even though it seemed like the Angels had no interest in dealing the two-way star. That hasn’t stopped several teams from making variable offers, with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reporting that Tampa has made such an offer Junior Caminero and two other top-10 prospects in exchange for the final two months of Ohtani’s 2023 season.
It would be a high price for a loaned player, but not excessive for a player of Ohtani’s stature and exceptional, versatile skills. Of course, no trade happened, and the Rays probably don’t have much to regret considering Ohtani’s partial UCL injury prematurely ended his pitching season in August, and the oblique strain ended his season entirely a few weeks later.
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