Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays likely to take trade talks right to deadline

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Rays' starting pitchers are going to be popular topics of conversation for another week.

With reports suggesting everything from the Rays were locked into talks with the Rangers keyed on getting INF Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar to they were still identifying potential trade partners in advance of the Aug. 1 deadline, the reality was somewhere in the middle. Discussions are ongoing with at least 10 teams.

There have been some specific talks, and certainly a matchup with the Rangers seems logical given Texas' needs and the depth of its farm system, with Gallo and Profar the type of high-end young players the Rays would want. Similarly, Fox Sports reported the Rays would want the Pirates' top prospects, RHP Tyler Glasnow and OF Austin Meadows, to consider a deal for RHP Chris Archer. The Dodgers, run by ex-Rays boss Andrew Friedman, also have a system deep with appealing candidates.

Given their depth and the dearth of talent on the market, the Rays are getting interest in all of their starting pitchers, with Archer, LHP Matt Moore and RHP Jake Odorizzi the most attractive. RHP Erasmo Ramirez has also been popular. INF Steve Pearce also is expected to attract interest and might be the most likely to go.

Though nothing was considered imminent Saturday night, that obviously could change at any time. But if the script plays out as it does for most deadlines — and as it did in 2014 with LHP David Price and last year with RHP Kevin Jepsen — the Rays will keep talking all week and wait until the last day to take action.

BOXED UP: RHP Brad Boxberger was sharp again in his third rehab outing Saturday, allowing two hits in a 21-pitch inning for the advanced Class A Stone Crabs in Port Charlotte.

Boxberger told the Charlotte Sun he felt "100 percent" and if all went well, he expected to rejoin the Rays on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Manager Kevin Cash sounded more cautious, saying no decision would be made until after he talked today with team officials and Boxberger, who has made one appearance between lengthy DL stints for core muscle repair surgery and an oblique strain. Having Boxberger pitch again in the minors and waiting until Friday might make more sense.

"We've got to do what's right for us and obviously Box," he said. "I know Box is itching to get back, but at the same time this has been quite the process, quite the season for him. We want to make sure he is totally healthy."

REHAB REPORT: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) threw two "innings" in a live batting practice in Port Charlotte and, Cash said, felt fine and "was happy with it." The Rays now will decide if he is ready to return to minor-league rehab games, having pulled him from his first assignment after two starts. … RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) makes his second rehab start today for the Stone Crabs. … OF Desmond Jennings (hamstring) hit against Cobb then ran the bases, indicating he might be close to starting a rehab assignment. … OF Mikie Mahtook (left hand fracture) will start hitting off a tee today.

FAMILIAR FOE: Trading RHP Jesse Hahn (and LHP Alex Torres) to the Padres in January 2014 worked out well for the Rays as the deal netted them Boxberger, 2B Logan Forsythe and RHP Matt Andriese.

But Hahn, who was traded again in December 2014 to Oakland, would like to even the score today when he pitches against them for the first time:

"There's a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. I've always wanted to throw against them just because they were the first team to trade me, and I have a lot of friends over there, a lot of guys I still talk to. It's going to be cool to do that."

ARCIA OUT: OF Oswaldo Arcia left Saturday's game with a mild right elbow strain that occurred while swinging in the seventh. Cash said Arcia was fine and should be able to play today.

ABOUT FRIDAY NIGHT: Odorizzi's strong eight-inning outing yielded only his MLB-most 12th no-decision as the Rays lost 1-0 in 13. RHP Dylan Floro gave up a leadoff double to Ryon Healy and a one-out single to Coco Crisp to lose it. It was the Rays' ninth 1-0 extra-inning game and eighth loss. The Rays managed only seven singles, making it the longest game in franchise history without an extra-base hit.

MISCELLANY: 1B Logan Morrison responded well to the cortisone shot in his inflamed forearm/wrist area and is available to return to duty. … OF Steven Souza Jr. was out of the lineup, but not due to any injury. He entered in the seventh, replacing Arcia in right.

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