By: Daniel Satter
Meanwhile, after the season ends the Rays have some roster decisions to make. Some players that could be moved to trim down the payroll could include John Jaso, James Loney, Matt Moore, and Asdrubal Cabrera. The Owner Stuart Sternberg has expressed interest in trimming down the payroll from $71,760,208 million to about $60 million.
First, the Rays need to let Asdrubal Cabrera walk. Cabrera had a really good bounce back season and will look to cash in one more time. Cabrera made $7.5 mil and will most likely not take a pay cut. The Rays will most likely not try to over pay to keep him and maybe offer him a one year deal for $3.5 mil. If Cabrera leaves the Rays have many shortstops who will look to take the job. Tim Beckham will most likely get the first crack if Cabrera walks with Nick Franklin competing as well. Beckham has had a good 2015 campaign so far. If Beckham starts day one of the 2016 campaign he will make everyone forget about Cabrera. Beckham is the Rays best 2 strike hitter. Beckham has a nice swing and could potentially hit 20 homers if given a chance to start on a daily basis. Beckham’s glove is underrated, also Beckham makes nice plays with his glove and Timmy has some speed on the base paths. Beckham is also cheaper.
Second, James Loney could be on the move in the off-season to a team looking for a left handed fielding and batting first baseman. Loney next season is under contract for $8 mil. Loney is key to the Rays, but this season has shown that age is playing as a factor and plus the Rays want to go in a young and cheaper direction. Loney could be moved and that would free up first base for Richie Shaffer to play everyday. Shaffer is one of the future pieces for the Rays. The Rays need his power to protect Longoria.
Third, John Jaso is a free agent after this year, but out of the teams free agents and possible trades I could see the Rays resigning Jaso. You trade Loney to free up the money to resign Jaso. Jaso is a monster at the plate and helps one of the worst offenses in the league. Jaso so far is having a good half of a season. Remember Jaso missed more than half of the year with a hand injury that happened on opening day.
Fourth, Desmond Jennings is entering next season in his final year of arbitration. Jennings has been hurt all of this year and the past 2 seasons. Jennings will be moved so Mikie Mahtook can play more on a daily basis. Mahtook has had a good 2015 season with limited at bats (84). Jennings made $3.1 mil this year to sit on the disable list. Mahtook is younger and cheaper, also he will fit the team better and gives solid at bats in the lineup. Mahtook also is a better defender than Jennings. Especially with arm strength and accuracy. Mahtook also can swipe bases if needed. In addition, another move can be to trade catcher Rene Rivera. Rivera has had a disappointing season. His defense was said to be top notch, but he has not shown why he is considered great defensively. He is good, but not great like Yadier Molina or Salvador Perez. Also, Rivera cannot hit to play everday. The Rays need to trade him for a prospect and just keep the offensive catchers on the team like JP Arencibia and Curt Casali. Those 2 catchers provide power at the bottom of the lineup and are not that bad defensively. Honestly, those 2 have looked better than Rivera behind the plate defensively and offensively. Luke Maile would become the 3rd catcher if Rivera is moved.
Finally, Matt Moore time in Tampa has looked liked it is coming to an end. He does not look like the 2013 17 game winner. Moore is due $5 mil next year and it would be smart to find a new home for him and get some young pieces back for him. The Rays have many options in the rotation to pick from. Cobb will most likely miss half of next season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery that he underwent earlier in the 2015 season. The Rays need to replenish the minors by dumping some of these overpaid veterans. The Rays locked in starters for next year will include Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, and Drew Smyly. Erasmo Ramirez and Nathan Karns have had a good year so far, but will have to earn the job again against each other, Burch Smith (if ready to return from injury), Blake Snell, Matt Moore (if not traded), Matt Andriese, Enny Romero, and Alex Colome. Colome most likely will be in the pen just like Andriese and Romero, but will get a look at the rotation again.
*Remember, the trade baits or free agents after the season are mentioned due to the Rays owner looking to make a cheaper payroll. (Predictions)