Brad Boxberger and Chris ArcherWhile fans are hoping the Rays will add a bat or six to the big league roster leading up to the trade deadline, the Rays are more likely to be sellers and trade away players from their roster, according to Marc Topkin of TampaBay.com.

“[The Rays] are more likely to trade away a player from their current big-league roster, specifically one of their top relievers, even if they remain in the playoff race, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.”

Topkin goes on to list the relievers most likely to be traded, including Brad Boxberger, Jake McGee, and Kevin Jepsen, noting that Boxberger is likely to be “the most sought after,” due to his contract situation. Boxberger is making just $521,000 this season and will make close to the same amount next season. He is not eligible for free agency until 2020.

This may not be what many fans want, but at the same time it should not come as a surprise. The Rays have always looked at relievers as somewhat interchangeable parts and even the best are not as valuable as a starter or a most-days position player. According to Fangraphs, McGee and Boxberger combined have only been worth 1.1 Wins (WAR) this season. Brandon Guyer has been worth 1.6 Wins.

Now consider that there is only a little more than one-third of the season left. So maybe the two relievers are worth another Win down the stretch.

So, if you can find a team that thinks they are a reliever away from winning it all and they are willing to give couple of good prospects, the Rays are going to make the deal and ultimately it probably won’t have a huge impact on the season one way or another.

The risk of course, is if the Rays, say, trade Boxy and his replacement blows a game in the 8th inning and the Rays miss the playoffs by one game. Then you look back and say “sh*t.” But the Rays are never going to operate out of fear of the one bad result.

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7 Comments

  1. Jack says:

    I don't understand how a team that relies so heavily on its bullpen despite its bullpen not being very good can afford to trade one of its top relievers. You're gonna take away from a 'pen that had to use Brandon Gomes with a one-run lead in the sixth inning the other day?

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  2. Matt says:

    Totally counterintuitive of what we as fans think they need. However, it's not totally surprising because like Cork said, they've always been able to throw new guys into the pen rather seamlessly. Adding a bat is never going to happen. They're still under the delusion that Jennings can be the savior to this club. Plus, they're really aren't that many bats available, especially for a good price. Adam Lind might not be a bad fit, but there's no way the FO is taking on at least half of his remaining $8 million salary.

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  3. Ken says:

    If the Rays could net two top fifteen prospects from a talent rich team for Boxberger I say roll the dice. The Kazmir trade netted the A's a number 12 and 15, gotta think Boxy is worth more than that comparing age/salary etc. I'd also try and move two of Loney, DeJesus and Jaso for additional young talent. They all profile as similar type players.

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  4. Geoff Peterson says:

    Boxberger makes the most sense. McGee seems to be getting close to 100% again and I think Boxberger may have overachieved this year. He'll be a good 7th or 8th inning guy for a contending club but I don't see his future as a closer.

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  5. Gus says:

    Trading a guy from the bullpen won't send a great message; if you have to, trade Jepsen. Boxburger has a lot of Houston Street in him (and I don't mean that as a complement) and should not be the closer; but he's certainly young and cheap and effective and gets people out usually.

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  6. Jim says:

    Find a way to package either Loney or DeJesus w/ Boxburger, get prospects and bring up Shaffer as our everyday 1st baseman or DH. But I’m sure they’ll wait till Sept to call him up.

    Sad that Jennings is hurt, or he would a nice addition for a package trade.

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  7. Dave L says:

    When the Rays make a trade, it never is for this season, even at the deadline of a good year. This would not qualify as a good year nor a bad year since we are .500

    The one certainty is that any trade would be for more years of control of younger, cheaper players (plural is intentional)

    I disagree strongly with Topkin --- McGee would have 2X the value of Boxy who would have 2-4X the value of Jepsen.

    Other teams looking to contend have much less problems with cash than we do, McGees $3M vs $0.5M of Boxy is far outweighed by his longer track record and flame throwing. Plus he is a lefty. Dont discount how huge that is.

    Teams looking to get a quality bullpen arm for midseason 2015 arent looking at years of control like we Rays fans are Pavlovianly conditioned to consider.

    They want to win NOW and McGee is the best pen addition hands down by far to achieve that goal.

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