The Rays have plenty of guys who could be good starters, such as Jalen Beeks, Yonny Chirinos and Ryan Yarbrough. And a few due back during the season from injury, such as Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon and Anthony Banda. So in trading for or signing one now, the idea is get a sure thing, or something close, and in most cases on a short term deal. Some realistic options:
1. RHP Noah Syndergaard, Mets
Yes, the Mets say they're unlikely to deal him because the "chips are in" to win. But can be so good and such a good fit at only 26, making $6 million in 2019 with three years until free agency, Rays have to explore.
2. RHP Charlie Morton, free agent (Astros)
Another potential solid match as 35-year-old is looking for short-term deal, made $7 million plus incentives each of last two years, won 29 games with a 3.36 ERA, has postseason experience.
3. RHP Trevor Bauer (Indians)
Most appealing Indians trade option with Carlos Carrasco signing long-term and Corey Kluber more expensive. Outspokenness creates some issues. Projected to make $11.6 million in third of four arbitration years.
4. RHP Lance Lynn, free agent (Yankees)
Solid veteran with Cardinals (72-47, 3.38 over six years) who signed late last year and struggled in AL with Twins/Yankees, making $12 million. Will be 32 in May, should be open to short deal.
5. RHP Sonny Gray, Yankees
Obviously the Oakland Gray is much more appealing version, so the gamble is that a change of scenery yields a return to form. Projected $9.1 million salary is workable, trading within the division maybe not.
Other possibilities: RHP Chris Archer, Pirates (just kidding); LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants; RHP Michael Fulmer, Tigers; RHP Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies; RHP Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays; RHP Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays