Tampa Bay Rays Top 3 Trade Candidates

The Tampa Bay Rays have not had a typical 'Tampa Bay Rays' type of season thus far (17-18, 4th place in AL East). And if they get closer to the trade deadline and don't think that this will be their year, we know that their MO will be to get out from under some money and move forward with new, cheaper pieces.

In other words, they'll "be opportunistic, as always," according to baseball insider Ken Rosenthal. 

With that, we look at three big-name trade candidates that could emerge if things get to that point in Tampa this summer. 

Randy Arozarena

Going into this past weekend, Arozarena had the fourth-worst OPS of all regulars in baseball. He launched a couple of homers over the last three games to start heading back to respectability, but he still sits with a .512 OPS and an OPS+ of 49. He's been the spark that makes this team go over the past few seasons, but with his $8M salary this year, and two more arbitration raises coming up over the next two years, they could be looking to move on while the price is still low. 

Yandy Diaz

Another struggling player out of the gate, Diaz, who had 22 home runs last season, has left the yard just once this year and has a very soft .601 OPS. Díaz is signed for $8 million this season and $10 million next year with a $12 million club option for 2026. He'll be 33 this summer, and for the Rays, those numbers might be too expensive for the cost-conscious team if the production doesn't pick up and if they don't feel they can contend.

Zach Eflin

The veteran hurler came on board last year and had a career season, going 16-8 with a 3.50 ERA and a 6th-place finish in balloting for the Cy Young award. But his base salary soars from $11 million to $18 million next season, in the 3rd and final year of his contract signed with the Rays. That alone should have been a harbinger of a 2024 trade deadline move before that big price hike kicks in in 2025. He is off to a 1-4 start and is a prime candidate to be moved this summer.

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