The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson. In a last-minute deal, Richards and Anderson head to Tampa and Ryne Stanek and outfield prospect Jesus Sanchez head to the Miami Marlins in return.
Tampa Bay Rays Acquire Trevor Richards
The biggest name in the trade is Jesus Sanchez, a nearly unanimous top 100 outfield prospect entering the season. While enduring a bit of a down year at Double-A and a slow start at Triple-A, at only 21 Sanchez remains a captivating talent. For such a talent and frequent opener (and currently injured) Ryne Stanek, the Rays received some desperately needed pitching help.
In a fight for a Wild Card in the American League, Tampa is still without breakout right-hander Tyler Glasnow. They also recently lost last year’s Cy Young winner, Blake Snell to an injury. After opening the year in the closer mix, Jose Alvarado is hurt as well. The need for additional pitching was clear. So what exactly did the Rays get in Richards and Anderson?
After spending most of two seasons in the Marlins’ rotation, Richards had recently been moved to the bullpen. He had been slightly below average in run-prevention as a starter, and his peripherals did not forecast improvement. However, Richards has upped the spin rate on his fastball and breaking pitches this season, and maintains one of the better change-ups in the game, making him an intriguing buy-low candidate as a starter or reliever.
The big piece for the Rays is Nick Anderson. Richards projects to be useful, but Anderson could be elite. He has a 3.92 ERA, but other metrics suggest he has been incredibly unlucky. His FIP is 2.72 and his xFIP is 3.04. He has an incredible 69 strikeouts in 43.2 innings pitched, for a ridiculous k/9 of 14.22. Unlike many strikeout artists, Anderson has decent control, issuing only 3.3 bb/9. He has given up a horrendous .368 BABIP, which is bound to come down as well.
On the whole, this was a necessary gamble for the Rays. It seems they may have soured slightly on Jesus Sanchez, and the pitching they acquired should give them a shot in the arm for their playoff push. That said, if Sanchez finds his stroke again, it’s a coup for the Marlins. Relief pitching is famously inconsistent, and Sanchez has the tools to be something special. Both sides made the right call here, but Miami may win this trade in the long run.
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