Normally the Tampa Bay Rays are the ones mining for prospects but with the American League East in fluctuation, they may need help at the hot corner.
The Boston Red Sox shipped off their best player and a top-tier pitcher to the west coast recently and Chris Sale is getting multiple opinions for arm trouble…never a good sign. The New York Yankees are in a bind with Luis Severino hurt for the year and James Paxton missing two months at a minimum.
Tampa is coming off a 96-win season making it easy to see how they could be on top of the American League East or at least a wild card team. Although they seem set with Yandy Diaz at third base he is not a proven commodity. They could have a need for a power hitter at that position or filling in at DH.
2019 was the first time Diaz hit for double digits in home runs at any level and his .267 average was well below what he has produced in the past. He also missed the last two months of the regular season with a foot fracture and left a playoff game with soreness to the same foot. Franco is actually a year younger the Diaz as well so if the latter struggles or has continuing issues with his foot, the Rays may need to make a move to fill in a strong right-handed bat.
The Rays have several pitchers in their top 20 prospects and one of them is Riley O’Brien. He is close to falling off the normal prospect radar as he just turned 25 and will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December. That alone could make him available in a trade.
His minor league numbers are outstanding and it interesting he has not pitched above the Double-A level. His career ERA is 2.83, batting average against sits at .199 and he has stuck out 250 in 232 frames.
O’Brien did get hit harder at Double-A then at earlier stops but his numbers were still impressive. He could be an instant addition to the major league roster and even if the trade does not happen, if he becomes Rule 5 eligible he could be the next Brad Keller.