As we recently discussed (well, and have discussed for weeks, months, years), the Rays are planning to trade multiple pitchers this offseason in their ever-necessary quest to control payroll costs. Some of those pitchers will be of interest to the Cubs.
The first of those pitchers has now been moved out in advance of tomorrow’s non-tender deadline:
We’ve acquired RHP Curtis Taylor from the D-backs in exchange for Brad Boxberger.
Taylor, 22, had a 3.32 ERA in 13 starts for Class-A Kane County, and was Arizona’s No. 14 prospect. pic.twitter.com/kRf2OGr4pb
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) November 30, 2017
Boxberger, 29, was a well-known relief name for the Rays in 2014-15 before various injuries (core issues in 2016, arm issues in 2017) limited his innings in 2016 and 2017. When he was able to pitch in 2017, though, he was very good, sporting a 3.38 ERA and a very nice 33.1% K rate (9.1% BB rate).
Boxberger is eligible for arbitration for the second time, and projects to make around $1.9 million in 2018. He’s a nice add for the Diamondbacks, but not much in the way of money savings for the Rays.
Instead, the motivator here seems to be picking up Taylor, a 2016 fourth round pick who put up great numbers in Low-A this year at age 21/22. He ranked 14th to MLB Pipeline, and reads like a solid pitching prospect, albeit one who might end up in the bullpen.
The upshot here is probably minimal with respect to other Rays moves – they still figure to move a pitcher or two, with closer Alex Colome and starter Jake Odorizzi by far the most likely. (We analyzed Odorizzi as a Cubs trade target here.)