Las Vegas, NV — Minutes after the conclusion of the Rule 5 draft, the Tampa Bay Rays made yet another splash. This time, in the trade market.
In what technically ended up being a three team trade, the Rays sent Jake Bauers to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for infielder Yandy Diaz and right-handed pitcher Cole Sulser. The Indians also sent designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion along with a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick to the Seattle Mariners for first baseman Carlos Santana and cash considerations. The Mariners also received cash from the Rays.
Diaz, 27, doesn’t come with a lot of experience under his belt as he’s only appeared in 88 games in his two years in the majors. During that time he’s hit .283/.361/.366 with a single home run to his name. Which is mystifying when you take a look at the imagine Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times quote tweeted (tweet).
While having two stints with the Indians in 2018, Diaz appeared in only 39 big league games. He did manage a .312/.375/.422 triple slash, knocking in 15 runs in 109 at-bats with his lone big league home run. However, he did lead the International League in on base percentage, .409, and his 2.93 batting average ranked sixth.
Sulser, 28, has spent his entire career in the minor leagues. He has spent the last two years strictly as a reliever where he compiled a record of 11-5, a 3.27 ERA, all while striking out 165 batters in 124 innings of work.
Here’s a look at what the Rays projected lineup could look like after the trade, according to Rotochamp:
- Kevin Kiermaier – OF
- Tommy Pham – OF
- Joey Wendle – 2B
- Austin Meadows – OF
- Ji-Man Choi – DH
- Willy Adames – SS
- Yandy Diaz – 1B
- Mike Zunino – C
- Matt Duffy – 3B
Don’t get to set on this projection however, as Chaim Bloom, Rays VP of Baseball Operations, was quoted saying they “are still open to getting another hitter”, according to Marc Topkin.
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