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How the Rays built their present bright future

A look at transactions over the past two seasons show how they are paying more to win now.
Rays GM Erik Neander, left, and manager Kevin Cash, right, flank Yoshi Tsutsugo, who signed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Rays in December.
Rays GM Erik Neander, left, and manager Kevin Cash, right, flank Yoshi Tsutsugo, who signed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Rays in December. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Jul. 16, 2020

While doing their usual roster churn of dumping some veterans, the Rays have been more focused on winning now, even trading prospects for veterans. Here’s a look at their major additions over the past two offseasons:

November 2018

Rays catcher Mike Zunino smiles while taking his position behind home plate last August at Tropicana Field.
Rays catcher Mike Zunino smiles while taking his position behind home plate last August at Tropicana Field. [ DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Acquired catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia and minor-league left-handed pitcher Michael Plassmeyer from Seattle for centerfielder Mallex Smith and minor-league outfielder Jake Fraley.

December 2018

Signed right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton for two years, $30 million, with 2021 option.

Acquired infielder Yandy Diaz and minor-league right-handed pitcher Cole Sulser from Cleveland for first baseman Jake Bauers and $5 million.

Related: 60 things that will make this MLB season different

Acquired right-handed pitcher Emilio Pagan, minor-league righty Rollie Lacy and a competitive balance draft pick in three-team deal with Texas and Oakland for minor-league left-handed pitchers Kyle Bird and Brock Burke and righty Yoel Espinal.

January 2019

Rays outfielder Avisail Garcia celebrates alone in the dugout after hitting a home against the Toronto Blue Jays last August.
Rays outfielder Avisail Garcia celebrates alone in the dugout after hitting a home against the Toronto Blue Jays last August. [ DIRK SHADD | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times ]

Signed outfielder Avisail Garcia for one year, $3.5 million plus incentives.

July 2019

Acquired right-handed pitchers Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards from Miami for righty Ryne Stanek and minor-league outfielder Jesus Sanchez.

Related: Rays fans prepare, with caution, for shortened season

November 2019

Re-signed catcher Mike Zunino for one year, $4.5 million with a 2021 option

December 2019

Acquired outfielder Hunter Renfroe and minor-league infielders Xavier Edwards and Esteban Quiroz from San Diego for outfielder Tommy Pham and minor-league infielder Jake Cronenworth.

Related: 2020 MLB preview for every team in 60 words

Signed outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo for two years, $12 million.

January 2020

Jose Martinez during team photo day in February at Port Charlotte.
Jose Martinez during team photo day in February at Port Charlotte. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Acquired first baseman Jose Martinez, leftfielder Randy Arozarena and a competitive balance draft pick for minor-league left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore, catcher Edgardo Rodriguez and a low A competitive balance draft pick.

February 2020

Acquired centerfielder Manuel Margot and minor-league catcher Logan Driscoll from Padres for right-handed pitcher Emilio Pagan.

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