Rays Acquire 3B Ryan Roberts From D'backs

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 04: Ryan Roberts #14 of the Arizona Diamondbacks singles against the San Diego Padres during the second inning of a MLB game at Chase Field on July 4, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Tuesday afternoon, the Arizona Diamondbacks designated third baseman Ryan Roberts for assignment.

This was somewhat surprising, considering Roberts had been a key component of the 2011 squad that went from last place to first place. But Roberts' hitting fell off substantially this season, and the Diamondbacks have fallen off as well.

Tuesday night, the Diamondbacks traded Roberts to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor-league second baseman Tyler Bortnick, who entered the season listed by Baseball America as the Rays' No. 29 prospect.

If anything, Bortnick's stock has fallen this season, so this is simply a case of the Diamondbacks getting something, however slight, instead of nothing.

It's not readily apparent why the Rays would be interested in Roberts. Evan Longoria's missed a lot of time, but is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment soon. Lately, Jeff Keppinger's been playing third base, and hitting with authority. Maybe the Rays are simply tired of waiting for utility infielder Sean Rodriguez to hit. If Roberts looks good, he can take over at third base with Keppinger shifting to utility chores. Until Longoria gets back, anyway.

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