After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.

The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of names they are, with everyone in play on down from face-of-the-franchise 3B Evan Longoria.

And the Rays won’t know until they start the process.

Thinking they will only deal players they’d prefer to or can more easily replace isn’t a realistic plan. RHP Jake Odorizzi (projected via arbitration to make $6.5 million), OF/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4M) and recovering-from-surgery INF Brad Miller ($4.4M) may not draw the interest or return to do so.

The potential breakup of the roster could well be grander.

Closer Alex Colome ($5.5M) figures to be a hot topic and likely to be dealt. And they will be open to trading just about all of their other higher-paid players, including Longoria (signed for $13.5M in 2018, up to $94M remaining overall), C Wilson Ramos ($10.5M), RHP Chris Archer ($6.25M, up to $34M overall) and SS Adeiny Hechavarria ($5M projected). Perhaps less likely are CF Kevin Kiermaier ($5.5M, up to $60M overall) and RF Steven Souza Jr. ($3.6M projected). Most difficult would be Longoria, and probably only with his blessing.

The key looks to be the sequencing.

If the Rays can make a couple of initial deals that cut salary and yield the right return, they could halt the sale and pivot to seeking a couple of additions and fielding an improved team. For example, even if they traded Longoria, Archer and Colome (shaving $25.5 million), they could try to fill in the pieces between what they have (Matt Duffy at third, young arms) and low-cost additions.

Or they may start out and find the market robust to go for a total rebuild, dumping five or six veterans, opting for a young team with little chance to win now (with no apparent concern that doing so could impact stadium discussions) while looking to the future.