The Colorado Rockies and Tampa Bay Rays have apparently discussed some hypothetical trades that would send an outfielder to Tropicana Field in return for starting pitching help coming back to Denver, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal:
As Rosenthal notes, the Rays' outfield is currently crowded, and he hypothesizes Tampa Bay might be more interested in a prospect than any one of Carlos Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson, or Charlie Blackmon. At the outset, trading an outfield prospect (David Dahl? Raimel Tapia?) would seem a strange move for the rebuilding Rockies, but general manager Jeff Bridich is on the record wanting to prioritize starting pitching, even if it means trading a prospect.
Rosenthal also reports the Rays will move pitchers so long as ace Chris Archer isn't involved, considering him an untouchable arm as the club wants to win now and in the future. In light of that, a look at the Rays' young arms leaves us at Jake Odorizzi, 25, who has four years of team control remaining after a 2015 season that saw him throw 169⅓ innings over 28 starts, logging a 3.35 ERA (3.61 FIP) with 2.4 BB/9 and 8.0 K/9.
Drew Smyly, 26, is under team control until 2019 after starting just 12 games for the Rays in 2015 due to shoulder issues. He logged a 3.11 ERA (3.91 FIP) in 66 innings, along side 2.7 BB/9 and 10.4 K/9.
Matt Moore and Alex Cobb both present young arms with a history of success — and injury — but neither has more than a couple of years of team control before free agency, which ought to be a deal breaker for the Rockies, who will not be realistically ready to contend in 2016 or 2017.
Ultimately, any Rockies-Rays swap comes down to whether Bridich is comfortable giving up an outfield prospect for a young (but established) Major League starting pitcher. Aside from Archer, the Rays have multiple young arms that miss bats and would certainly help a barren Rockies rotation. But the Rays' asking price of an outfield prospect in exchange for a pitcher other than Archer is steep, and may not be worth the hiccup in the Rockies' minor league development plan.