Tuesday marks the deadline for MLB teams to make final 40-man roster decisions prior to the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place in another few weeks during the annual Winter Meetings. As such, teams across the league are facing their annual roster crunches, as they make tough decisions not only on the prospects they’d like to protect, but also on the valuable 40-man roster spots they’ll need to protect them.
Down in Tampa, their situation this year is particularly tight. As a club that relies on a low payroll and spreading their resources thin, they’ve got a whopping 16 players currently in their arbitration class - meaning, before they get truly expensive as free agents - and also a wealth of young prospect talent that needs protecting. Because of that, they’ve become something of the perfect target for trade talk, as teams know they’ve got some very tough decisions to make and a concrete deadline by which to make them. The Cincinnati Reds are one of the teams circling, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
Yonny Chirinos was once on the cusp of being a serious pitching force in the league prior to a pretty serious elbow injury, and he’s only appeared in 18.1 big league innings since the end of the 2019 season. Still, as our friends at MLB Trade Rumors relayed, his name popped up in trade talks during the GM Meetings last week, and if he’s fully healthy again, the 2nd-year arb-eligible righty could be a tantalizing buy-low option.
It remains to be seen just who the Rays will choose to move, while the benefit of hindsight might also reveal if the players they move before tomorrow were simply at the bottom of their preferred list or if they were bowled over by a team - perhaps the Reds - who came in with an offer they deemed overwhelming. Either way, this mini-deadline should provide the first decent trade action of Hot Stove Season, and the Cincinnati Reds may well be involved.