The Rays continue to scout the market for offensive help.

The Rays continue to scout the market for offensive help.

Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander told reporters during his season-ending news conference in October that the club wanted to add a big bat this winter, particularly a left-handed type, after Rays’ offense Tampa Bay managed to score just one. running 24+ innings in that two-game Wild Card Series marathon against the Guardians.

Rays hitters combined for a .686 OPS during the 2022 regular season, which ranked 25th out of 30 major league clubs. And against right-handed pitchers, his combined team’s batting line was just .234/.305/.373 in a sample size of 4,580 total plate appearances.

Nothing too exciting has emerged for the Rays thus far, and Neander acknowledged in a recent conversation with the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin that it’s probably too late to make a significant offensive addition to what’s left on the open market.

“As the winter progressed, and as we spoke publicly, I think the focus became more on an established player, ideally left-footed, being the right type of player for our group.” Neander told Topkin. “We feel great about the variety of innovative and recovering players we currently have on our roster. It was really more about adding a consistent, established offensive player, and there aren’t a lot of them that are available.”

There was talk of a number of possible activities to help the cause: The Rays were tied at various points to free agents like josh bell Y Andrew McCutchen. They were also said to be on the hunt for sean murphy before the Athletics traded him to the Braves as part of a three-team trade that also involved the Brewers. Topkin writes that Tampa Bay also made runs in Michael Brantley Y brandon belt before those players signed elsewhere.

The hope is that a trade for run-scoring help can come together sometime this spring, or better yet, before the Rays arrive at camp in Orlando, Florida. Neander also plans to keep an eye on season moves in 2023, just in case those “innovative and recovered players” think roam frank, joseph loweY jonathan aranda – Failing to pass in the course of the first half.

It’s all pretty bleak in an AL East that features the Blue Jays (third in combined OPS last year at .760) and Yankees (fourth in combined OPS at .751), but Topkin suggests the Rays might have room. to add to an average Payroll of $70MM as the baseball schedule moves into the summer months.

Maybe there could be a circle back with the A’s, who always seem to be open for business and would probably listen. seth brown even after he hit 25 home runs in 150 games last year. Or maybe there could be a game with Twins in max kepler given Minnesota’s recent addition of michael a. Taylor of the Royals. One thing the Rays have is prospects, both low-level and more MLB-ready, and the Tampa Bay front office has certainly never lacked for creativity in finding ways to make hidden improvements.

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