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Rays trade Brad Boxberger to Diamondbacks

The reliever was a candidate to be non-tendered Friday.

Tampa Bay Rays v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Rays traded reliever Brad Boxberger to the Diamondbacks for minor-league righty Curtis Taylor on Thursday, according to announcements from the clubs.

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.