The Tampa Bay Rays are currently in 2nd place in the AL East and have the offense to compete with anyone, but their pitching staff isn’t what it needs to be. The team could afford to part ways with the alleged “face of the franchise” Kevin Kiermaier if it meant getting back a Zach Plesac or Mike Clevinger (but not both). Kiermaier is probably their fourth-best hitter, he’s under contract for several more years and has had some years of productivity at the plate. Not huge power numbers, mind you, but he brings an upgrade to the outfield hitting-wise and has Gold Glove-caliber defense, having won two Golden Gloves in his career already.
Someone like Kiermaier may not be the only guy you go get if you trade for him, however. Maybe looking at another team’s top prospect might have to be a thing that goes alongside a move for Kiermaier. Maybe taking a swing and going for the Angels’ prospect Brandon Marsh could work out depending on what you offer.
That way this isn’t an issue the team has to keep revisiting over the next few seasons.
Admittedly, Kiermaier isn’t hitting his best in recent years and has been dinged up but a change of location may help him right the ship. That’s the thing with trades, people often forget that not every coach and not every manager handles talents the same way. Perhaps the Indians staff can unlock something in Kiermaier that the Rays couldn’t.
Even if he stays a .240 hitter, that’s still a huge leap over what the current Indian outfielders are doing.