It is still early yet in this year’s MLB Winter Meetings but the Tampa Bay Rays have captured the old saying, “the early bird catches the worm.” The Rays are already close to a deal with free agent first baseman James Loney and now they are looking to upgrade the infield as the organization is in talks with the Washington Nationals about some of their infielders.
The Rays are targeting Danny Espinosa and Michael Morse as possible acquisitions. Espinosa is part of the double play tandem with Ian Desmond and Morse will be making the move from the outfield to first base in the 2013 season.
Morse would be a big upgrade over Carlos Pena who the Rays did not re-sign. Morse batted .291/.321/.470 in just 120 games for the Nationals in 2012. Still it is way better than Pena’s .197 batting average. Morse also hit 18 home runs and drove in 97 runs. He played most of the season coming back from a strained lat muscle that hampered him in the beginning of the season.
Morse could not only be used at first but used in the outfield shifting Desmond Jennings to B.J. Upton‘s old position in center. Rays acquiring Morse would be a huge lift
Espinosa would provide some extra defense around the diamond. However, he struck out 189 times in 2012 leading the National League. He scored 82 runs and recorded 37 doubles on the season.
To get both players, the Rays would be willing to give up James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson due to the amount of depth the Rays have at pitching.