MLB Rumors: How Rays Could Make Offseason Run At Catching Red Sox, Yankees

Kevin Cash should win American League Manager of the Year for the job he did with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Despite the Rays selling off some valuable pieces at the trade deadline — how’d Nathan Eovaldi work out for the Red Sox? — Tampa Bay was still in contention into mid-September and finished the season with 90 wins.

Now, it seems the Rays, with their added financial flexibility, might be gearing up for a big offseason with hopes of toppling the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the American League East.

Tucked into a notes column from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal is this tidbit about the Rays:

“While some both inside and outside the organization believe the team over-achieved by finishing 90-72, one rival GM says the Rays’ depth of young talent in the majors and minors bodes well for their future.

“The Rays, according to sources, also possess more payroll flexibility than in years past, making them a possible landing spot for a significant right-handed hitting free agent such as designated hitter Nelson Cruz or third baseman Josh Donaldson.”

The Rays, also according to Rosenthal, have spoken with the Seattle Mariners about catcher Mike Zunino.

Tampa Bay certainly could use a jolt of power. The Rays finished 27th in baseball in home runs in 2018, despite a .740 OPS that was ranked 12th. Either Nelson, Donaldson or Zunino seemingly would improve that area of the game for Tampa Bay, especially Cruz, who hit 37 home runs last season for the Mariners. Meanwhile, Donaldson would likely split time at third base with Matt Duffy, with Duffy moving around the infield if Donaldson played third.

Tampa also could use Donaldson at designated hitter, which would be an upgrade over last year’s platoon headlined by C.J. Cron. And as far Zunino goes, the Rays need to do something at catcher after trading free-agent-to-be Wilson Ramos at the deadline.

Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images

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