It may not constitute a fire sale, but the Tampa Bay Rays are aiming to be sellers at the trading deadline, as the team moved two pitchers to contenders on Wednesday.
Tampa Bay sent starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to the Boston Red Sox, while reliever Matt Andriese was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Rays are currently 52-50, but sit 18.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. Tampa Bay is also nine games out of the second wild card position in the American League, making a playoff run highly unlikely.
Eovaldi Gives Boston Depth in Run Toward Playoffs
Eovaldi is heading to Boston in exchange for minor league left-handed pitcher Jalen Beeks. Eovaldi will add depth to the Red Sox rotation: so far this season, the righty is 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA. This is a comeback season for Eovaldi, who had Tommy John surgery in August 2016 and underwent arthroscopic surgery during spring training.
Eovaldi, whose contract will expire after this season, said that he was expecting a trade.
�I assumed there was a possibility, of course, especially where I am in my career and the way my contract was for this year,� he told reporters after the deal was announced. �I was assuming that I would be traded, but as for what team it would be, I wasn�t thinking about that at all.�
Eovaldi is expected to make his first start for Boston on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins.
Boston is considered one of the favorites to win the World Series, with William Hill listing the Red Sox at 5/1, right behind the Houston Astros (4/1).
Meanwhile, the Rays received two minor league prospects in exchange for Andriese, who will give the Diamondbacks more versatility in their pitching staff. The 28-year-old Andriese is 3-4 with a 4.07 ERA on the season, and has mainly come out of the bullpen, but also started four games for Tampa Bay.
The Diamondbacks (18/1) are only a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (6/1) in the NL West, and also trail the Atlanta Braves (20/1) by a half-game for the final National League wild card position.
Tampa Bay Planning for Near Future
While these two deals were made to ship useful parts to contenders in exchange for prospects, Tampa Bay isn�t looking too far into the future. Both Beeks and Martin Perez, a catcher who was part of the deal for Andriese, have shown success in AAA, meaning they might be able to immediately contribute for the Rays next season.
�Our intention, it�s been on creating a wave and a group of players who can come up, compete, grow together and win together,� Tampa Bay general manager Erik Neander told the Tampa Bay Times. �That�s starting to show up on our major league roster now.�
The Rays may not be done dealing just yet. Pitcher Chris Archer is a regular subject of trade rumors, while Sergio Romo and Carlos Gomez have also been among those suggested as potential targets for contenders looking to upgrade ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.