Even before J.P. Howell went to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Rays were rumored to be looking for arms in the bullpen. While there are possible internal options, such as Cesar Ramos who pitched well in his 17 game stint in 2012, Tampa was expected to explore external options to fill out the bullpen. Yet, given their financial limitations, the Rays are likely looking for another reliever they can sign on a one year deal deal with a team option, as they had signed Kyle Farnsworth and Fernando Rodney.
While free agency has some intriguing names on the list, there is one pitcher who is very much under the radar that could fit the Rays needs. Peter Moylan has battled through injuries over the past couple of years, missing most of 2011 and 2012 after tearing his labrum and rotator cuff. Over that time span, Moylan appeared in 21 games, putting together a 3-1 record with a 2.70 ERA, striking out 12 batters in 13.1 innings of work.
Although Moylan likely would not be an option to take over as closer should Rodney falter this season, he could fill a very specific niche in the bullpen. Over the course of his career, the side-winding Moylan has been excellent against right handed batters, holding righties to a .213 batting average while striking out just over 25% of his opponents. Against lefties, however, it is a far different story, as left handed hitters have batted .278 against him with 69 walks against 50 strikeouts. Facing right handed hitters, Moylan has recorded 157 strikeouts, while walking 45 batters.
Moylan has also been an extreme ground ball pitcher. With Burke Badenhop being traded earlier in the offseason, Moylan could potentially take over the role as the ground ball specialist, looking to record the key double play ground ball to eliminate potential threats. With a career ground ball to fly ball rate of 1.80, he has been even more of an extreme ground ball pitcher than Badenhop has been.
Another reason why Moylan could be of interest for the Rays would be cost. After dealing with injuries over the past couple of seasons, Moylan is someone who could likely be signed on a low cost contract, and could even potentially agree to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training to try to earn a spot in the bullpen. At most, it may not take more than an incentive laden deal to procure his services.
Should Peter Moylan be healthy, he is the type of pitcher that may well fit the low risk/high reward profile that the Rays seemingly have for free agent relievers. If nothing else, he may well get a look in Tampa as a potential reclamation project.