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Inbox: Would the Rays consider trading Zobrist?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers fans' questions
MLB.com @wwchastain

With the Rays picking up Ben Zobrist's option, do you see him as a trade candidate knowing there are others, such as Hak-Ju Lee, Tim Beckham and Cole Figueroa, so close to being Major League-ready?
-- Jason R., Parrish, Fla.

The Rays rarely consider any players untouchable, so don't think they wouldn't move Zobrist if the right deal came along -- one they think would help them with the future, present or both. A lot of teams would like to have Zobrist given his versatility. Essentially, he is an everyday player at many positions. Having said that, I don't believe Tampa Bay would trade Zobrist to make room for any of the three players mentioned, although I would expect to see all of them at the Major League level at some point next season.

With the Rays picking up Ben Zobrist's option, do you see him as a trade candidate knowing there are others, such as Hak-Ju Lee, Tim Beckham and Cole Figueroa, so close to being Major League-ready?
-- Jason R., Parrish, Fla.

The Rays rarely consider any players untouchable, so don't think they wouldn't move Zobrist if the right deal came along -- one they think would help them with the future, present or both. A lot of teams would like to have Zobrist given his versatility. Essentially, he is an everyday player at many positions. Having said that, I don't believe Tampa Bay would trade Zobrist to make room for any of the three players mentioned, although I would expect to see all of them at the Major League level at some point next season.

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Would Ron Gardenhire be a possibility to replace Joe Maddon as the Rays' next manager?
-- Frank C., Fort Myers, Fla.

Gardenhire was dismissed as the Twins' skipper last season, capping a 13-year tenure with the team. I, too, thought he might be given a look as the manager based on the fact he's managed a small-market team and had success, but there are a lot of factors that go into making the decision the Rays need to make. To date, Gardenhire's name has not been mentioned among the candidates, so he probably doesn't fit the criteria for what Tampa Bay is seeking.

Video: Chastain dishes on the Rays' managerial situation

Now that Maddon is not the Rays' manager, what is going to happen with the pitching and hitting coaches?
-- Miguel V., Brandon, Fla.

I don't believe that is going to be an issue. All are under contract for another season. Thus, it appears Jim Hickey, Jamie Nelson, Derek Shelton, George Hendrick and Dave Martinez all will be back. If Martinez is named manager, they would bring in a bench coach, since that is his current role.

Martinez knows the team, and the players have enough to deal with coming back for the 2015 season. Tim Bogar also has a relationship with the Rays, having been with the team during their 2008 run. What do you think about promoting Martinez and bringing Bogar in as bench coach? It would keep the club's style and bring experience and expertise from the Rays and Rangers under Maddon and Ron Washington. Anything other than upside? Or am I missing something?
-- Layton P., Orlando, Fla.

Martinez would indeed bring a sense of continuity to the team as well as the coaches. I've talked to several players who would really like to see Martinez get the job. Though Martinez has a different personality and has plenty of firsthand experience from playing in the Major Leagues, he would seem to be the hire for the smoothest transition. As for Bogar, I like him a lot and I was surprised that he was not among the list of managerial candidates. The Rays have been fairly guarded about their criteria for selecting their next manager. Given the list of candidates, I've been impressed by Tampa Bay's diligence in exploring candidates with different skill sets.

Video: TB@NYY: Kiermaier robs Ellsbury with a diving catch

Considering an outfield of a healthy Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings, where will a new manager put Matt Joyce, Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Guyer and David DeJesus? Also, who are best trade candidates among that group?
-- Steve L., Pinellas Park, Fla.

Good question, and one that I don't believe can be answered until we see who is on the roster come Spring Training. Obviously, Joyce, Jennings and DeJesus have the biggest contracts. So how much the Rays value any one of this trio -- as well as how other teams value them -- should be the deciding factor. All of the combinations look feasible, but we don't know what the new regime is thinking just yet.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Beckham, David DeJesus, Brandon Guyer, Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, Kevin Kiermaier, Hak-Ju Lee, Wil Myers, Ben Zobrist