Rays monitor market as Trade Deadline looms

Tampa Bay's arms remain coveted as clubs look to upgrade

Rays monitor market as Trade Deadline looms

ST. PETERSBURG -- Major League Baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline is at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, and the Rays have not agreed to any deals.

Several Tampa Bay players remain front and center in the rumors, but nothing appears to be imminent. Of course, all of that could change in an instant.

Starting pitching is the most sought after asset the Rays possess. The conundrum comes in the fact these aren't players who must be moved before they become free agents. Instead, the likes of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore and Drew Smyly are all controllable for the next several years, and at relatively reasonable prices. Translation: Tampa Bay doesn't have to trade them, and the club might be better if it doesn't.

Archer strikes out eight

That fact, along with the Rays' belief that going to market to acquire starting pitching is not a situation they can afford to find themselves in, contributes to what most scouts from opposing teams have labeled as unreasonably high demands from Tampa Bay.

Thus, the Rays find themselves in a good situation on Monday. It's a seller's market and they don't have to sell. If they do decide to make a trade, chances are the yield could be something special. If an opposing club is thirsty enough, Tampa Bay has the water.

The latest rumor to surface has the Giants interested in Moore. Could that bring a bidding war between the Giants and the Dodgers, who also are interested in Moore, Odorizzi and Archer? Of course, former Rays general manager Andrew Friedman calls the shots for the Dodgers, which adds another wrinkle of familiarity to the equation.

Odorizzi's scoreless outing

And speaking of familiarity, the Cubs, who are managed by former Rays skipper Joe Maddon, are also rumored to have interest in Rays pitching. Chicago might actually have the young, offensive pieces to pry loose a Tampa Bay pitcher. At last year's Winter Meetings, the two clubs were rumored to be making a deal involving Cubs infielder Javier Baez.

Finally, veteran slugger Steve Pearce, is rumored to be going elsewhere as a "rental" before he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Of note, teams cans still trade players once the Deadline passes, but players must pass through waivers in order to be dealt at that point.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.