Many young starting pitchers have been traded this offseason. With so many deals taking place, it’s hard to believe that the Tampa Bay Rays haven’t been involved in any involving their stash of starters. Even though the Rays have hung onto their bevy of hurlers through most of the offseason, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that they’re still looking at possible deals. Topkin reported yesterday that Tampa is searching for an experienced catcher and starters Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis are rumored to be available.
Earlier this offseason the Rays added veteran backstop Jose Molina. Major league teams carry at least two, and Topkin noted that, rather than rush one of its prospects to the bigs, Tampa would prefer to acquire another experienced catcher.
There are several free agent options available, but at this point Topkin said the Rays are working with limited wiggle room budget-wise. For this reason Tampa has a few ways they could go about reeling in their backstop.
Either the Rays could trade Niemann or Davis for an experienced catcher, Topkin named Geovany Soto (Cubs), Kurt Suzuki (Athletics), and Nick Hundley (Padres) as possible targets, or Tampa could deal an arm for prospects and thus salary relief. The club could then use this additional money to sign a catcher from the free agent market; Topkin included Ivan Rodriguez and Bengie Molinaon this list.
While Rays president Matt Silverman has said his club is prepared to enter the 2012 season with six starters, Topkin gets the feeling that, if the right deal presents itself, Tampa is prepared to make a deal.
For more on the Rays, be sure to check out Rays Colored Glasses.
You can check out all of the available free agents by position below.