Tampa Bay Rays locking in more pieces of their core

The Tampa Bay Rays have been busy over the past few days.

On Wednesday, the Rays took a bit of a gamble by signing Jeffrey Springs to a four year extension. That was followed by a three year deal worth $12 million with Pete Fairbanks on Friday. Now, according to Juan Toribo from MLB.com, the Rays are closing in on a three year extension worth $24 million with Yandy Diaz.

Tampa Bay Rays keeping their roster together

With Diaz set to sign that extension, three pieces in the Rays infield – Diaz, Wander Franco, and Brandon Lowe – are now under team control through 2026. They also have seven players, not including those eligible for arbitration or with less service time, locked in through 2025. The Rays, a team known for low payrolls and sending pieces elsewhere once they reach a certain price point, are behaving in a completely different manner.

Diaz is also not necessarily the type of player that the Rays would normally look to extend. He is already 31 years old and would seemingly be a player that the Rays would have on the trade block. However, there has not been any buzz about his being available, despite several teams looking for help at the hot corner.

This extension may be why. The Rays had always valued Diaz’s ability to make hard contact and draw walks, targeting him as part of a three team trade following the 2018 season. After three solid years, he took a significant step forward last year, posting a career best 143 OPS+ with 33 doubles and nine homers in his 558 plate appearances, drawing 78 walks with just 60 strikeouts.

If he can continue to perform at that same level, this contract could be an impressive bargain. Diaz has been a valuable part of the Rays’ offensive attack and should continue to be for the duration of this extension. For now, he is another sign that the Rays may be changing their financial ways.

The Tampa Bay Rays are set to extend Yandy Diaz. Those days when the Rays got rid of anyone making a decent salary may finally be over.