Rays reportedly interested in acquiring Diamondbacks INF Ryan Roberts
Rays manager Joe Maddon said today they are "actively trying to improve" the team, and it appears Tampa Bay is linked in a potential trade situation with Arizona for INF Ryan Roberts.
Roberts was recently designated for assignment by Arizona, and he told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert today that a trade is on the "one-yard line."
Whether the Rays are the team acquiring him remains to be seen. But Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported Monday that Tampa Bay has been interested in Roberts, a utility infielder who can play second and third. The Tigers have also been mentioned to have interest, though they just acquired 2B Omar Infante from the Marlins Monday.
Roberts, 31, would be an interesting fit. He's handled second and third for the Diamondbacks this season, hitting .250 with six homers and 34 RBI. He's played parts of six big-league seasons, and the right-handed hitter was big for Arizona last year, racking up 19 homers and 65 RBI.
With Rays third baseman Evan Longoria still recovering from a partially torn left hamstring, Roberts would provide another option to fill in until he's ready. Maddon said today that Longoria is "closer than you think" to beginning a rehab assignment, but it appears they're going to work Longoria in as a DH first before he gets to playing full-time third base.
"I don't think it should be long (rehab assignment), because I don't think we're going to count on him playing defense or running a lot more than just relying on the bat," Maddon said of Longoria. "So that can be a more controllable situation, I think."
Maddon did not discuss Roberts in particular today in his afternoon media session, but is in active talks with executive VP Andrew Friedman leading up to next week's trade deadline.
"Andrew and I are talking about different things, we're still trying to get things better," Maddon said. "We've had conversations today, conversations again tonight and tommorrow. It's always about taking two to dance, and we'll see what happens. But we're actively trying to improve things."
-- JOE SMITH