Jed Hoyer and Matt Silverman have acknowledged publicly they talk on a regular basis. The Cubs-Rays rumors figure to continue as long as there are players that would fill needs for both teams. And the reports connecting the two teams have picked up, again, over the last two days.
The Rays are happy with their roster, according to Marc Topkin, but could still make moves to improve the team. Topkin reported Silverman would like to add a veteran reliever, like Tyler Clippard, to the backend of the bullpen. The Rays have a need for a late-inning reliever after trading LHP Jake McGee to the Rockies for OF Corey Dickerson in the four-player deal.
Other free agent bullpen options for the Rays include Ryan Webb, Tommy Hunter and Burke Badenhop. Plus, the Rays could move an outfielder (Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer) to a team like the Indians, Nationals, Rangers or Angels for a reliever.
The Rays continue to be linked to Ian Desmond, but the Rays are reluctant to sign him and surrender their first round draft pick.
Bruce Levine reported Saturday the Rays are still looking to move players, even with Spring Training being just around the corner. There could be options in Tampa for both the Cubs and White Sox. Levine explained numerous clubs are discussing deal with the Rays.
According to Levine, more than 10 teams “have asked Tampa about the availability of its young pitching.” The Cubs, White Sox, Cardinals and Dodgers are four of the teams that have been linked to Rays’ pitchers this off-season with RHP Jake Odorizzi at the top of the list of Tampa’s young arms clubs have been connected to the most.
The Cubs are believed to be very interested in Jake Odorizzi and Hoyer has also talked to Silverman about outfielders. Levine added the Rays “would seem to be in a mode of dealing young veterans like Odorizzi and outfielder Desmond Jennings for the right cache of good young prospects.”
Multiple reports have indicated the Cubs have not been willing to trade from Major League roster, if Tampa is willing to take prospects for a starting pitcher like Odorizzi, instead of players like Javier Baez or Jorge Soler, there could actually be a match between the two teams.
According to Nick Cafardo there is quite a bit of interest in Alex Cobb despite the fact he’s not expected back until late-July at the best, with a more realistic return in early August. One of Joe Maddon’s favorites from his time in Tampa is Alex Cobb according to Jim Bowden. Cafardo pointed out the Rays are “likely to hold on to their pitching for now” because Silverman likes the starting staff he’s built with Chris Archer, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi at the front of the rotation followed by Drew Smyly and Erasmo Ramirez.
Trade talks continue throughout baseball, even with the large number of free agents still available very late in the off-season. It could be a rather busy Spring Training in terms of trades around the game as front offices assess their rosters.