Tampa Bay Rays receiving interest in Kevin Kiermaier

Oct 11, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) makes a catch for an out against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning during game four of the 2021 ALDS at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) makes a catch for an out against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning during game four of the 2021 ALDS at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kevin Kiermaier has been a topic of trade rumors for years at this point. The Tampa Bay Rays are not a team that historically spent much on any one player, and Kiermaier’s salary is a major strain on their budget. With approximately $12 million due this year, and a $13 million team option with a $2.5 million buyout for 2023, it is understandable why the Rays would look to move on.

Despite being a constant fixture in those rumors, nothing has happened. That could change as the Rays had reportedly received interest in Kiermaier prior to the lockout and transaction freeze.

Tampa Bay Rays may finally be able to trade Kevin Kiermaier

The timing would be right for the Rays to move Kiermaier. There are several teams desperately searching for help in center field with precious few options available. Both of the top center fielders available in free agency signed with the Mets, leaving other teams to scour the trade market if they are going to find that needed upgrade.

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Kiermaier can be that player. He has been a solid player with the bat with a bit of speed and power, his career .249/.310/.410 batting line just a tick below average. He has hit 75 homers and 132 doubles in his 3130 plate appearances, stealing 106 bases. His defense has also been excellent, as the three time Gold Glove winner has saved 132 runs in center over his nine year career.

The problem has been keeping Kiermaier on the diamond. He has appeared in over 120 games just three times and has had just one year that did not include a stint on the Injured List. Any team acquiring Kiermaier will need to prepare for his being unavailable for a chunk of the year.

But he may still be worth the gamble. Kiermaier can be a game changing player with the glove, someone that could steal a game or two over the course of the year. For a team such as the Phillies, who desperately need to improve their outfield defense, he could be well worth the prospect cost.

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The Tampa Bay Rays are receiving interest in Kevin Kiermaier. That long rumored trade could finally come together once the lockout ends.