Rays “expected to be willing” to trade Wade Davis

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From Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe comes word that the Rays are “expected to be willing” to trade 26-year-old right-hander Wade Davis at some point before the start of the 2012 season.

There were rumblings as this offseason began that Tampa Bay might be willing to unload 29-year-old righty James Shields, who registered a sparkling 2.82 ERA and 225/65 K/BB ratio in 33 starts this year. But those rumors were quickly squashed.

Davis isn’t nearly as dominant as Shields, but he is younger and far cheaper. The former third-round draft pick posted a 4.45 ERA and 1.38 WHIP across 29 starts this season, striking out 105 batters and walking 63. He’s owed just $1.5 million in 2012, $2.8 million in 2013 and $4.8 million in 2014.

With such weak starting pitching options on this year’s free agent market, several teams should be calling.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.