With a sell-off coming for the San Francisco Giants this summer, Marc Delucchi will go team-by-team for a look at how each contender fits as a potential trade partner. Next up, the Tampa Bay Rays.
The July 31st trade deadline is approaching quickly. New rules instituted this season have also eliminated August waiver trades for big league players. That means teams like the San Francisco Giants have to worry about waiting too long and missing their chance to sell on players set for free agency at season’s end.
One team in a position to buy is the Tampa Bay Rays.
After jumping out to an early lead in the AL East, the Rays have faded a bit in the standings and they now sit a half-game behind the New York Yankees. Still, they are in the driver’s seat in the AL wild-card race and are in prime position to reach the postseason.
However, the Rays would no doubt prefer to avoid the one-game chaos of a wild-card spot, and to catch the Yankees they will need to make some additions.
While the Rays have notoriously stringent payroll limits, they’ve built one of the two best stocks of prospects in baseball. They’ll be able to take their pick of the players they want to target at the deadline.
Furthermore, their system is so deep, they could probably get almost any player they wanted without giving up one of their elite-level prospects and without sacrificing much depth.
To give you a sense of how strong the Tampa Bay system is, according to FanGraphs Prospects, they had 10 prospects who would have ranked as the either the Giants #1 or #2 prospect heading into the season.
The Rays have an obvious need in the bullpen and the Giants have a number of players that could fit. Some have suggested a need for starting pitching as well, but I’m skeptical. An analytics-driven team like Tampa Bay that already has Blake Snell and Charlie Morton with the potential to get back a healthy Tyler Glasnow would likely have little interest in an aging Madison Bumgarner.
Some have suggested Brandon Belt could be a valuable addition to the Rays as well. He would add more punch to their lineup, but I just don’t see the teams lining up. Belt’s contract would have to be paid down substantially and if the Giants did that, they’re going to want legitimate prospects.
Ahead are a few trade proposals that would stand to benefit both the Giants and Rays.