The Rays optioned infielder Brooks Conrad to Triple-A Durham prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Athletics.
Conrad was hitting .172 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 24 games.
A corresponding move will be announced before the game. The Rays will likely be bringing up a reliever to help replenish the bullpen following Monday night’s 15-inning contest.
Brandon Allen’s rights were sold by the Rays to the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Central League on Friday.
The Rays acquired Allen off waivers from Oakland on April 19. He hit .154 with a home run and three RBIs in seven games for the Rays and was hitting .262 with four home runs and 14 RBIs with Triple-A Durham.
Rumors that James Shields is going to the Angels for Hank Conger, Peter Bourjos, and Ervin Santana have been constant, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark tempered those rumors by noting that Evan Longoria’s return would likely cut the Rays incentive to trade Shields since, with Longoria back in the lineup, the Rays would have much-improved chances to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Stark also reported that there is a “big market” for Rays reliever Wade Davis.
According to Yahoo Sports, the Rays are interested in Diamondbacks infielder Ryan Roberts.
Evan Longoria’s return date remains a mystery, even though he will be accompanying the team on it’s three-stop road trip that begins Tuesday night in Baltimore. Without Longoria, the team has been sputtering on offense.
Roberts, 31, is hitting .252 with six home runs and six stolen bases. He can play different positions, which historically has been the norm for what the Rays like in an infielder. If acquired, Roberts could fill in at third base until Longoria returned then move to another infield position.
The Rays have had little luck with veteran infielders this season beginning with a stint by Drew Sutton followed by Brooks Conrad’s current stint.
Based on Joe Maddon’s pre-game comments Saturday, the rumored trade being discussed between the Angels and Rays that would send James Shields and Ben Zobrist to the Angels for Garrett Richards and Howie Kendrick doesn’t appear to have an truth behind it.
When Maddon was asked if he and Andrew Friedman, ever “guffawed” at any of the rumors they read or hear about, he said they did on Saturday at the rumor about the trade with the Angels. Maddon maintained that their guffaw had nothing to do with the players involved rather the idea of the trade itself.
James Shields is rumored to be heading to any number of teams according to multiple reports. While some of what is being speculated could be true, like he’s been struggling because he’s trying to be too perfect due to the Rays’ lack of offense, I just don’t see this one happening.
Shields is too valuable for what the Rays are trying to do, which is to put a quality starter on the mound every night that is capable of going deep into the game. He’s healthy and seemingly just a tick off right now. In addition, Shields is well within the team’s price constraints; they have a $9 million option for him next season.
Andrew Friedman has said on many occasions that the Rays do not want to get into a situation where they have to pay “market” for their pitching. So keeping as much starting pitching as possible remains a priority. Besides, what do the Rays trade for? They need offense right now, but what will the team look like once Sam Fuld, Matt Joyce, and Evan Longoria return? Not knowing what they have and when they will have it further clouds this picture. So I think the rumors will continue, but I don’t see the Rays as players in making trades where their starting pitching is concerned.
Based on the state of the Rays’ offense, if I’m Richie Shaffer, the team’s top pick, I’m signing on the dotted line in a hurry.
Shaffer is a corner infielder that can also play outfield, but most importantly, he can hit for power. If he’s anywhere close to Major League ready, this might be one time that the Rays would expand their parameters for how quick they bring a college player to Tropicana Field.
The deadline for teams to sign their picks from this year’s June Draft is Friday. Shaffer is said to be close to signing. If by some chance he does not sign today, he will be making a big mistake.