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San Francisco Giants Should take Advantage of Rays Lack of Payroll

Jake Mastroianni
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 24: Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier #39 of the Tampa Bay Rays dives to haul in the fly out by Justin Smoak of the Toronto Blue Jays with the bases loaded to end the top of the fifth inning of a game on August 24, 2017 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 24: Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier #39 of the Tampa Bay Rays dives to haul in the fly out by Justin Smoak of the Toronto Blue Jays with the bases loaded to end the top of the fifth inning of a game on August 24, 2017 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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With the Tampa Bay Rays looking to cut payroll, the San Francisco Giants should try to pounce on some of their best players with bigger contracts.

A recent article from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times mentions that the Rays will try to cut their payroll in 2018. How much they try to cut is unknown, but they started last season at $70 million.

As their roster currently stands, they’re already on the books for close to $80 million.

While the Rays look to stay competitive, they’ll need to shed some big contracts.

Topkin suggests that the Rays could be looking to deal some of their better players, in which case the Giants should be ready.

A couple of names come to mind here, including Kevin Kiermaier, Chris Archer, Evan Longroia, Jake Odorizzi, Steven Souza Jr. and Corey Dickerson.

The name that intrigues me the most is Kiermaier. Now Topkin did not mention Kiermaier as a player the Rays were likely to move, and I doubt they’d want to part with him after signing him to a long-term deal.

But he is set to make $5.6 million in 2018 with that rising up to $13 million by 2023.

If the Giants could steal him away, they would have a Gold Glove center fielder for the next five-to-six years.

Archer is set to make $6.4 million in 2018, and has been rumored in trade talks before. He’s signed through 2021 with team options in 2020 and 2021 at $9 and $11 million respectively, so it’s a team friendly deal.

Archer has put together back-to-back seasons with an ERA over four though, and might not be much of an upgrade over the top three currently in the rotation. It might not be worth the price we’d have to pay for a middle of the rotation starter.

Longoria seems like a longshot, but if the Rays are serious about cutting payroll he could become available. He’s signed through 2023 with his most expensive season being 2022 at $19.5 million.

He’ll play next season at age 32, but is still a very productive hitter and defensive player. In 2017 he hit. 261 with 20 home runs and 86 RBI.

While Souza’s defense is nowhere near Kiermaier’s, he brings some power to the lineup. He belted 30 homers in 2017 with a .351 on-base-percentage. He could add some pop to the Giants roster and fill a corner outfield spot.

He’s only expected to make around $3.6 million through arbitration this year, so the Rays may hold onto him for now.

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Odorizzi and Dickerson will probably be their most expensive arbitration guys this offseason, expected to make over $6 million.

Odorizzi could fill the fifth spot if the Giants like him better than their in-house options.

Dickerson had a huge first half in 2017, but really cooled off after making his first All-Star Game appearance. Still, he’s hit 24 or more home runs the past two years and could be a good upgrade in a corner outfield spot.

Of course with all of these potential moves, it depends on what we’d have to give up. None of these guys are season changers, but rather complementary pieces. So I wouldn’t want to give up our top three-to-five prospects for most of these guys.

Next: San Francisco Giants Pick Up Options on Bumgarner, Moore and Sandoval

As the offseason progresses, look for the Giants to pick from the Rays basket for potential upgrades.

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