Two former Marlins become Rays trade deadline targets

Once the MLB All-Star Game is over, the focus will immediately shift towards the trade deadline and the many possible deals that could shape the pennant race.

The Tampa Bay Rays are hovering around .500 while leading the American League in rookies played this season. That trend will likely continue throughout the season and lead to many of their veteran players being traded for prospects to pump new blood into the pipeline. Two of them, ironically, are former Miami Marlins.

One of the trade targets includes reclamation project Nathan Eovaldi. He signed with the Rays in 2017 knowing that he would miss the first year recovering from Tommy John surgery. He returned this season to post a 3.92 ERA, 49.6% grounder rate, 7.6 K/9, and a 1.3 BB/9 rate over his first 41 1/3 innings. In his most recent start against the Miami Marlins, scouts from the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves were in Miami to watch and evaluate.

What they saw is a fairly young, low cost trade asset that is averaging 97mph on his fastball. Any of the aforementioned playoff contenders could use an extra arm in the rotation even if it costs a pretty prospect.

With the call-up of top prospect Willy Adames, veteran shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has seen some of his playing time dissipate recently. The Rays can easily get something for Hechavarria without having to eat the close to $3 million remaining on his deal.

He has long had extraordinary defensive skills throughout his career and the bat, while nothing to boast, has gotten slightly better. Manager Kevin Cash praised Hechavarria for how he has handled the matter and made sure to get him in the lineup as much as possible before he’s dealt.

“Hech is a guy used to playing every single day for good reason,” Cash said. “He deserves to play every single day. We tried to do everything we could, myself and Charlie (Montoyo, the Spanish-speaking bench/infield coach) talking to him, being honest about the situation. I know our front office has spoken with his agent, trying to be honest. I think that’s all you can do. I think it’s up to the player, how they want to decide. I know Hech wants to play every day. It’s probably not going to happen. But we’re going to do, I’m going to do everything I can to keep him consistently in the lineup and on a good routine.”

Nothing is new about this year’s trade deadline. Marlins, current and former, swirl around trade rumors.

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About: Tony Capobianco

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A graduate of the University of Arizona (2008-2013), Tony Capobianco covered sports from preps to pros since 2011 from the Tucson Citizen to Miami Herald to most recently with the Enid News & Eagle. The "Cuban Cowboy" took a first pitch to the nuts and lived to laugh at the viral video. Follow him @TonyCapobianco

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