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.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.