ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays traded another right-handed-hitting first baseman, sending Jordan Luplow to Arizona on Friday for minor-league infielder Ronny Simon.
Luplow, 28, was acquired in July from Cleveland, and seemed a likely candidate for playing time in 2022, especially after the recent trade of Mike Brosseau to Milwaukee.
But the Rays instead opted for the flexibility of an open spot on the 40-man roster, as well as the promising return. Simon, 21, split last season between Low-A Visalia and High-A Hillsboro, his first full-season assignment, hitting .245 with 17 homers, 63 RBIs and a .783 OPS, playing mostly second base and shortstop.
In making the move, the Rays also reduced their number of arbitration-eligible players to 15 in advance of Tuesday’s non-tender deadline.
Luplow, who hit .246 in 25 games for the Rays and a first-inning grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, was projected by mlbtraderumors.com to make about $1.5 million in 2022 and could have been a candidate to be non-tendered and dropped with no return.
Having the open roster spot allows the Rays the option to add a player dropped by another team without making another move in advance of a transaction freeze if a lockout follows the expiration of the labor agreement.
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