Ryan Roberts, or the Tatman as he's commonly known, has been dealt from Arizona to Tampa Bay in exchange for minor leaguer Tyler Bortnick. Roberts was designated for assignment earlier today by Arizona, and he was told a trade was nearly complete.
Roberts can play nearly anywhere on the diamond, logging time at third, short, second, and left over the last two years. The 31-year old was a breakout performer for the NL West champion Diamondbacks last year, OPSing a career best .768 while logging over 400 plate appearances for the first time in his career. As Arizona's starting third baseman, Roberts hit 19 homers and stole 18 bags last year, but this season, his OPS has dropped to .663, while he's only homered six times and stolen six bases. It appears that veteran Willie Bloomquist, starting at third tonight for Arizona, will take over at third in the interim. Bloomquist was primarily Arizona's shortstop while Stephen Drew was rehabbing his broken ankle.
Bortnick, the player going to the Diamondbacks in the deal, isn't much of a prospect. The 25-year old 16th round pick from 2009 was ranked as Tampa Bay's 29th best prospect coming into the year, and has a .737 OPS in 95 games for AA Montgomery. Bortnick does possess fantastic speed, as he's 23/26 on stolen base attempts this year, and was an amazing 43/47 last year for high-A Charlotte.
Roberts will at least give the Rays a half decent player at third until Evan Longoria is healthy again. Tampa Bay has been throwing guys like Jeff Keppinger and Sean Rodriguez at the position, removing from their element at other places around the diamond. The Rays need SOMETHING to keep their heads above water until Longoria returns, and while Roberts isn't exactly a prime option, he's better than what they've had. Tampa Bay didn't give up a whole lot for a decent stopgap improvement, and for that, I commend them. Total Rays move.
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