Could Rays reshuffle team once again?

by Gary Shelton on February 15, 2022

in general

Kiermaier has been discussed in trade talk./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Assuming they ever get around to playing baseball again -- and there is far too much money involved for them not to -- then fans of the Tampa Bay Rays may want to brace themselves all over again.

Here the Rays go, re-inventing themselves all over again.

I know, I know. It's a job at which the Rays are particularly effective. The Rays have reached the post-season for three straight years and seven of the last 14, which is a pretty good run if you don't count, well, winning it all.

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Still, more changes might be coming.

The whispers out there suggest that the Rays could shed themselves of two popular players -- Kevin Kiermaier and Austin Meadows. Figures. Other places, fans look forward to their team importing new stars; here, they worry about losing the ones they have because their contracts get too fat.

But Kiermaier?

And Meadows?


Oh, you can understand Kiermaier. As gifted as he is with the glove, he has never been an impact player on offense. Last season's .259 average is about the best you can expect of him (it was his highest in five years).

But the real statistic that counts when it comes to Kiermaier, of course, is his paycheck. He'll make more than $12 million this year, which is a lot of coin for a player who gives you defensive highlights.

Then there is Meadows, who may have entered the "sell high" phase of his career. Meadows had 33 homers in 2019 and 27 last year (along with 106 RBI). That could make him worth more to some other team than he is to the Rays.

And so the headlines have begun to spread. Should the Red Sox be interested? How about the Cubs? There are places that would welcome an outfielder who can give you 25 homers a year.

The problem, of course, is that the Rays perceive that they have a glut of outfielders. Maybe. I'm not sure Brett Phillips' numbers will hold up with more playing time, though, and Meadows can always be the designated hitter.

Ah, but the Rays want to open up a space for Josh Lowe.

And so we hang on. And we see what the smart guys think this time around.

Look, players get traded. Teams will shuffle their lineups. The difference is that, with this one, things are always so money-driven.

Still, the Rays continue to over-perform. The guess is that they will again this year, especially if they can find the big right-handed bat they seek.

Once the wrestling by millionaires ceases, we will see.

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