Several teams are facing a 40-man roster crunch this winter, with the Rays in particular facing a lot of tough decisions due to the depth in their talented farm system. As such, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (Twitter links) reports that the Rays have been “in advanced trade negotiations” and could make multiple deals before Tuesday’s deadline to set 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. The Reds, Cubs, Mets, and Angels are among the teams who have called the Rays in search of pitching.
Any number of options could be on the table for a Tampa Bay front office that is always seeking roster and payroll flexibility. It is possible and even likely that the Rays might not swing any major deals, as Tampa might first be exploring the trade value of any players at the back end of their 40-man roster. Before leaving these players unprotected or maybe even non-tendering them or designating them for assignment, the Rays first want to check if anything can be obtained in exchange for these somewhat expendable pieces.
A more interesting wrinkle would see the Rays discussing trades involving prospects or part-time players who might also be a bit superfluous within the organization. Last November, the Rays dealt Louis Head, Mike Brosseau, Brent Honeywell Jr., and Tobias Myers in separate trades in the week prior to the 40-man deadline. Of that group, only Brosseau had some success at the MLB level in 2022, posting some solid numbers in a reserve role with the Brewers.
Of course, the biggest headline-grabber for the Rays would be a trade involving a regular on their Major League roster, and this possibility certainly can’t be ruled out given Tampa’s history of aggressive deal-making. The Rays have a very large arbitration class that they’ve already reduced to “only” 16 remaining players, after trading Ji-Man Choi to the Pirates and parting ways with Nick Anderson and Roman Quinn. None of the arbitration-eligibles are projected to earn truly huge money, but every dollar counts for the budget-conscious Rays, and Yandy Diaz ($5.4MM in projected salary), Ryan Yarbrough ($4.2MM) and Randy Arozarena ($4MM) are the most expensive of the bunch.
Yonny Chirinos is projected for $1.6MM and Shawn Armstrong for $1.4MM, and those two hurlers stand out since Morosi reported earlier this week that the Rays were discussing Chirinos, Armstrong, and Yarbrough during the GM Meetings. It isn’t known if the Reds, Angels, Cubs, or Mets were focused on…