The Tampa Bay Rays continue to wheel and deal this off-season and this one was a bit of a surprise as the Rays traded their closer Emilio Pagan to the San Diego Padres in exchange for outfielder Manuel Margot and minor league infielder Logan Driscoll.
Pagan finished the 2019 season with a 4-2 record with a 2.31 ERA and 20 saves.
Although Pagan struggled the first part of the season like every other player that the Rays tried to use in the closer role, Pagan really solidified the back end of the bullpen with his performance down the stretch and helped the Rays reach the playoffs.
Pagan was the favorite to be the Rays closer in 2020, but with him out of the picture, it looks as if it will be a closer by committee to open the 2020 season.
Diego Castillo, Chaz Roe, Colin Poche, and Nick Anderson could all be candidates to close games for the Rays.
Jose Alvarado could be another candidate to close, but he was inconsistent to downright awful last year when given the opportunity.
Alvarado was 1-6 with seven saves and a 4.80 ERA.
Castillo, Poche, and Roe combined for 11 saves, but there was just a lot of inconsistency in their performance in the closers role.
The Rays acquire outfielder Manuel Margot from the Padres. Margot played in 151 games last year all in centerfield hitting .234 with 12 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Margot is a 25 year old right handed hitter who can hit for some power, has good speed, and is better than average defensively.
The other player acquired, catcher/outfielder Logan Driscoll was the 73rd player picked in the 2019 MLB draft.
Driscoll played at Tri-City in the Rookie league last summer Hitting .268 with three homers and 20 runs batted in.
It is concerning to trade your closer from last season but the Rays feel that they have the potential 2020 closer on the roster.
Margot will add depth to the Rays bench. The Rays will try to use his two biggest assets speed and defense late in games and even spot start. Margot will have to have to learn to play another outfield position because there is no way that Margot is moving two time gold glove winner Kevin Keirmaier out of centerfield.
The Rays also acquired Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena from the Cardinals and signed Yoshi Tsutsugo form the Japanese League.
Martinez and Tsutsugo will also be competing for playing time in the outfield. Now adding Margot to the mix it looks as if Arozarena will be the odd man out and open the season at AAA.
As spring training officially opens next week, the outfield looks to be set with Meadows, Keirmaier, and Renfroe as the starters left to right, with Martinez, Margot, Tsutsugo, and Brandon Lowe as the backups.