Matt Silverman, the Rays President of Baseball Operations, led off Sunday’s Front Office (MLB Network Radio) and talked about his team’s off-season with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette.
Bowden asked Silverman about the countless rumors that have tied Rays to the Cubs this off-season. Reports have suggested the two teams talked about starting pitching going from the Rays to the Cubs for a position player. Silverman would not comment about how close the two teams were or could be on making a deal, but he admitted there have been conversations. And the two teams could matchup on a trade over the next couple of years.
“I think we know that we lineup potentially well with them, just given our depth and strengths versus theirs and I wouldn’t be surprised if something lined up over the next couple of years just given the constitutions of the club.”
“I don’t want to oversell anything. We got close with a number of clubs on a number of things this year, but nothing really has come to fruition.”
“There are still a number of weeks left in the off-season,” Silverman said. “Things are pretty active right now I think within the industry, especially with all of the free agents that are still out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if something materializes but I’m not talking about any specific club, just in general with trades.”
The Rays have looked at ways to acquire position players this off-season. There are teams interested in the Rays’ pitchers, both starters and relievers.
“Everyone knows we are looking to upgrade on offense if we can,” Silverman said. “That’s where our focus has been. We’re fine, we’re good coming into camp with the club that we have.” The Rays will have competition in the spring and Silverman feels good about where his team is, especially if they have a healthy starting rotation.
“We will be active. We will keep talking and see if something lines up that can help us improve our club.”
Based on reports, the Rays were targeting Javier Baez in talks with the Cubs more than Jorge Soler. But it’s believed the Rays have interest in both players. What other pieces from the Cubs’ system that has been in the discussions is unknown at this point. It is also unclear if the Cubs have asked the Rays about any of the position players, mainly outfielders, currently on the big league roster.
The Cubs have been linked heavily to Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore, along with reliever Jake McGee. Drew Smyly, Erasmo Ramirez and Brad Boxberger have also shown up in reports, but not as often as Odorizzi, Cobb, Moore and McGee.
Matt Silverman said they’ve had a lot of conversations with multiple teams, just not much activity. Silverman would not comment on how close the Rays have gotten this off-season to making deals with the Cubs, Dodgers or any of the other teams.
“I think you can look at the way we can lineup with clubs. We have a lot of quality players. We have a lot of quality pitchers, a lot of quality relievers. And those guys are in demand. It’s just a matter of us trying to figure out if something makes sense.”
Matt Silverman said the Rays have to be mindful of the team. They are trying to get better for this year and in the future.
“We can’t just put our eggs into this year. We have to make sure we are managing our future,” Silverman said. “Because we are not the club that can go out and spend big money in free agency and plug a hole. We have to be able to anticipate what those holes are now that they are coming through the system or be able to come through in a trade.”
There has been a lot of buzz over the last 72 hours that there could be activity throughout baseball in the coming days. Stay tuned to see if the Cubs are one of the teams that make moves, either through trades or free agent signings.