One team that’s planning on making a lot of offloading this offseason is the Tampa Bay Rays. Maybe the most interesting asset they have is in fact the bullpen duo of Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger, already picking up heavy interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Rays have already sent Nathan Karns to the Seattle Mariners, but they’re not doing making moves. Quite a few of their players are due for raises in 2016, which means it’s time to start trading to keep the payroll at the usual lows it’s at since forever. Drew Smyly and Matt Moore are also going to be prime targets for those with the right kind of trade package.
McGee’s salary is projected to jump to nearly $5 million this offseason, so he might be a hotter commodity in terms of the Rays trying to push him out. Boxberger won’t be moved without serious compensation and someone like James Loney, making $8 million in 2016, is another player that the Rays will try to move, even if it means eating up part of his salary.
The 29-year old McGee has been with the Rays since 2010 posting a 2.77 ERA while picking up 26 saves (65%) and averaging 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings, including 11.6 last season. Boxberger led the American League with 41 saves last season which makes him more difficult to part ways with. He made his first All-Star game in 2015, his second season with the Rays. It was something of a down year for him in terms of efficiency, dropping to a 3.71 ERA (career 2.91) and 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Rays have missed the playoffs these last two years with a combined record of 159-167. It doesn’t look like they’re too eager to chase expensive players in pursuit of competing with some bigger hitters in the division, hoping their talent development and scouting make up for it once again.