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Rays certain to receive multiple trade offers

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With the all-star game behind them, baseball clubs now point to the trading deadline of July 31. That is the final day when a trade can be completed without having to put those players on waivers.

This process is often called “rent-a-player.” Contending clubs may seek to find a top-line pitcher or hitter who will put them over the top for a division, or league, or World Series championship.

The player acquired is often at the end of his contract and set to become a free agent at season’s end. The price often puts the contending team in a high rent district.

Who are this year’s buyers? Who are the sellers?

With a record of 34-54 and 10 games behind the fourth-place New York Yankees (forget first place Baltimore), it is a seller’s market for the Rays. Who might be available and what might they receive in return?

While none of Tampa Bay’s pitchers are free agents after this season, that does not mean they would not make a deal. Jake Odorizzi is drawing interest from the Rangers, Giants and Marlins. Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers are also reportedly in the mix.

The Rangers are also said to be interested in left hander Matt Moore. Drew Smyly will draw interest and some clubs are certain to offer a deal for a struggling Chris Archer.

At this stage, President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman would listen to proposals involving any player other than Evan Longoria. Unless an offer comes that simply could not be refused, Longoria is not going anywhere.

He has expressed his desire to play his entire career here. If you are going to trade away the face of the franchise, a suitable replacement and “can’t miss” prospects had better be part of the deal.

The Rays franchise is in a good position, business-wise. In addition to not having key players entering free agent years, management is also not dealing with salary arbitration.

Small market teams like the Rays have no choice but to sell some talent when times are tough. It will be interesting to see who comes and who goes over the next two weeks.


Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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