The trade is the first move of the offseason for both clubs and comes one day before Tampa Bay would be forced to decide whether to tender Boxberger a contract for next season. Boxberger was considered by some to be a non-tender candidate for a Rays team that will be faced with decisions on players like Brad Miller and Adeiny Hechavarria tomorrow, so today’s move allows the Rays to get something back for a player they may have let go for nothing.
Boxberger, 29, has appeared in only 57 games over the last two seasons due to injury, registering a 4.02 ERA and 4.38 FIP in 53.2 innings. The ex-Padre had a career year for Tampa Bay in 2015, earning an All-Star selection en route to a 3.71 ERA while saving 41 games on the year.
Boxberger, who is under control for two more seasons, has not closed since 2015, so it’s likely he’ll slot into a set-up role for an Arizona club that could use Archie Bradley Jr. to save games in 2018. Fernando Rodney’s likely departure in free agency means the D-Backs will be active in their search for back-end bullpen help this winter.
Taylor, 22, was Arizona’s fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft and posted a 4.04 ERA and 1.251 WHIP in 13 starts for Single-A Kane County this year. The Canadian-born righty was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 14 prospect in Arizona’s system at the end of the year and could project as a hard-throwing reliever in the majors.
To keep track of every major-league trade this winter, check out our winter trade tracker.