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Tampa Bay Rays hot topics: Flip or flop? Time for a rebuild?

By Marc Topkin
Published: December 5, 2017 Updated: December 6, 2017 at 11:02 AM
If the Rays decide to blow up their roster, Wilson Ramos - and his $10.5M salary - could be traded. [WILL VRAGOVIC / Tampa Bay Times ]

   We don't know what moves the Rays will make this off-season, just that there will be some big ones as they look to cut payroll and decide whether to try to remain competitive or go for a rebuild. With the annual winter meetings next week at Disney, we are looking today at some of their hottest topics:

Rays officials acknowledge they are at least considering a massive rebuild, which means they at least go into the meetings willing to consider trading just about any veteran player on the roster, especially if they make any money.

Will they?

Should they?

That depends on whether they think they have a real chance  to compete this season, or are more likely headed toward a fifth straight season of being not good enough and missing the playoffs.

The success of the Cubs and Astros in winning the last two World Series certainly makes a case for the benefits of rebuilding  – or, depending on your perspective, tanking – in that they can further enhance their core of young players and gear up for a run of success over an extended period.

If the Rays opt for that route, their list of trade candidates would be extensive. At the least, expect them to trade a few of their bigger name players, with closer Alex Colome high atop the list.

Here are their top-paid, and more likely to be traded players, listed with signed-for- or projected 2018 salary:

3B Evan Longoria, $13,500,000#

C Wilson Ramos, $10,500,000

RHP Jake Odorizzi, $6,500,000*

OF/DH Corey Dickerson, $6,400,000*

RHP Chris Archer, $6,250,000#

CF Kevin Kiermaier, $5,500,000#

RHP Alex Colome, $5,500,000*

SS Adeiny Hechavarria, $5,000,000*

INF Brad Miller, $4,400,000

OF Steven Souza Jr., $3,600,000

LHP Dan Jennings, $2,500,000

C Jesus Sucre, $1,300,000

# – part of multi-year deal; * – projected via arbitration