ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay made a surprising move before Friday night's game against the Orioles when the club traded outfielder Denard Span and closer Alex Colome to the Mariners in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero.
Moments later, the Rays acquired right-handed pitcher Wilmer Font from the Athletics in exchange for Minor League right-hander Peter Bayer. Font was designated for assignment by the A's on Wednesday.
The Rays played short-handed Friday night. Outfielder Carlos Gomez will likely be activated from the disabled list for Saturday's game, and Font will join the Rays' bullpen upon his arrival.
"I think usually when you see moves made this time of year, it's not very common," said Erik Neander, senior vice president of baseball operations. "This is usually the time where you're still learning about your club and where you're at competitively, and so on. A lot of the focus for the front office is on the Draft at this point.
"But I think some circumstances changed in Seattle, with respect to where their team is at and where their finances were at, and that led to some motivation from them to seek out and try to find ways to improve their team. That was a situation where we responded to the interest that was there. And Andrew Moore is a player that we value highly. He fits in really well to the group we have in place already."
Moore, 23, pitched in 11 games (nine starts) over four separate stints with Seattle in 2017, going 1-5 with a 5.34 ERA and only eight walks. This season, Moore was 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA in nine starts for Double-A Arkansas. Neander explained that the Mariners placed Moore at the Double-A level so he could better work on some things rather than doing so at the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He added that it is not reflective of the level Moore is qualified to pitch at.
Romero, 20, was 3-3 with a 2.45 ERA and 54 strikeouts in nine starts for Class A Clinton. He ranked seventh in the Midwest League in ERA, fifth in strikeouts and third in strikeouts per nine innings (11.05).
Font, 28, has split the 2018 season between the Dodgers and Athletics organizations, posting a 0-2 record with a 12.71 ERA in 10 appearances. He was named to the Dodgers' Opening Day roster as a reliever this season, but was designated for assignment on April 23 after six appearances. He appeared in four games with the A's.
Colome left the Rays clubhouse, shook hands with the security guard, then hopped in a golf cart and drove off, waving to reporters without comment.
Span did talk to reporters about getting traded from his hometown team.
"Definitely shocked," said Span, who grew up in Tampa. "Obviously, I knew coming into this situation that it probably wouldn't be a full season that I get an opportunity to play here. Honestly, I was concerned I wouldn't get out of Spring Training. But once I got out of Spring Training, I figured that I'd at least have until July to play here, so this definitely caught me off guard."
Span came to the Rays in the December trade that sent Evan Longoria to the Giants. All along it was speculated that Tampa Bay would flip Span in a trade because of the $11 million he will make for the 2018 season.
Span, who was popular in the clubhouse, said he would miss the Rays players. He also sounded disappointed because of how the team had been playing of late, and he hoped that might lead to a special summer.
"Obviously, we've been playing better here of late, but you know, this is part of the business," Span said. "I'm just happy that I have a job and somebody wants me. So I'm looking forward to going to Seattle, even though it hasn't sunk in yet. I'm looking forward to this new challenge. But as you know, Tampa is home for me."
Span said he told Neander and co-senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom that the Rays "have a good thing going here."
"Just an unbelievable atmosphere," Span said.
Colome, 29, leaves the Rays ranked second in club history with 95 saves, trailing only Roberto Hernandez (101). This season, Colome is 2-5 with a 4.15 ERA and 11 saves in 23 appearances. In 2017, he became the first pitcher in franchise history to lead the Majors in saves (47). Colome will make $5.3 million this season.
Span, 34, is batting .238/.364/.385 with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 28 RBIs and six stolen bases in 43 games. His 28 RBIs are his most ever through his first 48 games.
Bayer, 24, was 0-0 with an 18.00 ERA in five appearances for Class A Advanced Charlotte this season. Over parts of three Minor League seasons, he is 4-4 with a 4.08 ERA. He was selected by the Rays in the ninth round of the 2016 Draft from California Polytechnic State University.