UPDATE, 4:15: The Rays made one small deal at the trade deadline, getting outfielder Jordan Luplow and right-hander DJ Johnson — both playing at Triple-A in the Indians’ organization — for minor-league right-hander Peyton Battenfield, who is having a solid year at Double-A Montgomery.
UPDATE, 4:01: We’re at the 4 p.m. deadline, though that is for teams to report to MLB. Reports and details can trickle out for up to next 20-30 minutes. As of now, it’s been quiet for the Rays.
UPDATE, 3:54: Indeed Kris Bryant lands elsewhere, traded to the Giants, per ESPN.
UPDATE, 3:24: Guess here is that Bryant doesn’t end up with the Rays. Wasn’t sure how that fit would work without the Rays moving another regular.
UPDATE, 3:18: Seems like things are quiet now for the Rays, but there are about 40 minutes left, and the Rays are always creative.
UPDATE, 2:59: Kimbrel is off the market, as he was traded to the White Sox. So is Gibson, who is reportedly going to the Phillies.
UPDATE, 1:35: The Rays’ interest in Bryant and Kimbrel is real. Ken Rosenthal of the The Athletic is hearing it as well, tweeting “Rays are talking with Cubs about both Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel, sources tell The Athletic. Could trade for one of them individually or both together. No indication a deal is close.”
UPDATE, 12:29: Hearing it’s been an “active” day already for the Rays, as expected. No sense yet whether another deal gets done by deadline. Also, Berrios is now off the board, with a reported deal to send him to the Blue Jays.
DEVELOPING: Rays officials were expecting to be busy right up until today’s 4 p.m. trade deadline seeking ways to improve their playoff-contending team.
Adding a pitcher would seem to be their primary focus, with a starter seeming to be a greater need though relievers are more available. Minnesota’s Jose Berrios and Texas’ Kyle Gibson are two of the available starters. Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel is considered the top reliever on the market.
The Rays previously addressed their offense in trading for designated hitter Nelson Cruz.
“The big move, I think, for us, was the Nelson Cruz acquisition,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said Thursday night. “This is a team that, as they’re built, we really, really like how they they complement one another, how they fit together.
“But it’s our job to use the the time that’s afforded to us to make the absolute most of it and see if there’s anything else we can pull off to help this club between now and (4 p.m.). So we’ll be plenty busy trying to do all we can here to know what the opportunities are out there.”
The Rays did make a small move Friday morning, acquiring Triple-A right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong from the Orioles for cash considerations.
Armstrong, 30, has spent parts of seven seasons in the majors with the Indians and Orioles, including 20 games this year with an 8.55 ERA. He is not on the 40-man roster and will join Triple-A Durham.
The Rays have had a busy run-up to the deadline, acquiring Cruz from the Twins on July 22 and trading starter Rich Hill to the Mets on July 23. Thursday, they swapped one of their top late-inning relievers, Diego Castillo, to Seattle for the lesser-known J.T. Chargois, who they feel can fill a similar role.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Seattle was happy to add Castillo, who will be eligible for arbitration for the first time in 2022 and under control through 2024.
“Diego has been among the league’s better relievers since coming on the scene in 2018,” Dipoto said “We believe this move adds impact to our pen, both now and in the years ahead.”
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