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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Tampa Bay Rays

Smyly surprised to be coming to Rays

— It wasn’t the armful of prospects many expected in return for David Price, but the Rays received three players Thursday in a three-team trade, two of whom can make an impact during the remainder of the season.

Left-hander Drew Smyly, 25, will take Price’s spot in the rotation and pitch Tuesday in Oakland.

Infielder Nick Franklin, 23, whom the Rays have liked for a number of years, will head to Triple-A Durham.

Class A shortstop Willy Adames, 18, the youngest position player in the low-Class A Midwest League, will continue to wear that title with the Bowling Green Hotrods.

The Rays, 29-13 since June 11, just removed a four-time all-star and former Cy Young Award and 20-game winner from the rotation, yet executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman still believes the team has an above-average rotation that can keep the surging team surging.

“We feel he’ll slot in really well with our other four guys and allow us to continue to have our rotation be a strength for us,” Friedman said of Smyly (6-9, 3.77 ERA) joining the rotation.

Added manager Joe Maddon, “I’m eager to get him up here and pop him in the rotation. Don’t expect a David-like performance yet, but this guy can also be very good.”

Smyly said he found out about the trade on social media after being pulled from Thursday’s game against the White Sox.

“Didn’t see it coming,” Smyly said.

Franklin, who can play all four infield positions, could be another super utility player and the replacement for Ben Zobrist, should he be moved in a waiver deal this month or during the offseason.

“Kind of a Rays-type player,” Maddon said.

Adames could be the sleeper of the trade. He has an above-average arm and some pop in his bat.

Adames hit .269 with six home runs, 14 doubles, 50 RBIs, a .346 on-base percentage and a .428 slugging percentage this season for Class A Western Michigan.

“That’s the kind of guy there, when you make a trade like this, people are always going to look at who’s coming to the big leagues primarily, but you got to look under the surface,” Maddon said. “To be that young and that proficient, he sounds very exciting.”

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Information from Tribune wires was used in this report.

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