The Tampa Bay Rays have always thrived on their strong starting pitching to try and remain in contention in the tough American League division. However, they also have to adept at recognizing the value of their starting pitching to other teams around the league, especially this off-season as the starting pitching market is rather barren of strong talent with Rich Hill and Jeremy Hellickson being the top arms available, so it's not surprising that Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the team believes they'll trade from their starting pitching rotation.
Thus, the Rays are in an enviable position of having starting pitching to spare as they feature a front five of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Blake Snell, and Alex Cobb while they also have a few options in their bullpen who would be starters on other teams, such as Erasmo Ramirez, Matt Andriese, and Chase Whitley. As for their minor league depth, the Rays currently have Austin Pruitt and Jaime Schultz also waiting in the wings in Durham should an opportunity arise for them in the majors, so the Rays are pretty well stacked and very well suited to make a move that would improve the team in other areas.
The most popular name the Rays feature will be Chris Archer, who has a very team friendly contract as he'll be paid just under $5 million in 2017 and is under team control through the 2021 season. The Rays aren't too keen on trading him, but he would net a king's ransom. Some other starting pitchers on the staff that are much more likely to go are Drew Smyly and Jake Odorizzi who are both under contract for the next few seasons but will go through arbitration making them unaffordable to the budget strapped Rays. So, it comes as no surprised that as the GM Meeting wrapped up that Joel Sherman reports the Rays strongly believe they'll trade at least one of their starting pitchers.