Earlier in the season, when the Rays bullpen was a shell of itself, it seemed inevitable that the Rays would make a move, or three, to improve their relief pitching. Then, once Alex Torres was called up to stay in June, it seemed as though his presence was all that was needed to stabilize the Rays relief corps. A weakness had been transformed into a strength, and it appeared as though the Rays would not need to do much else to their bullpen.
However, the Rays went out and strengthened an already solid part of the squad by adding Jesse Crain on Monday, the first All-Star player that the Rays have acquired at the deadline. Although he is presently on the disabled list, Crain has had an excellent season, posting a 0.74 ERA while striking out 46 batters in 36.2 innings before being injured. Yet, when Crain comes back, the Rays could then find themselves in need of having to jettison one of their relievers presently on the roster.
This leads to the question of who would become the odd man out once Crain returns. Based on the season statistics, it would appear as though either Kyle Farnsworth or Cesar Ramos would wind up on the outside looking in when Crain returns. In fact, Farnsworth has already been mentioned as being on the trade block, if the Rays are able to find a trade partner willing to give them a fair offer. Yet, if the Rays are unable to move Farnsworth, then the situation becomes even more interesting.
Despite his rough overall numbers, Farnsworth has been better as of late. Since June 1st, he has a 3.31 ERA and has held opponents to a .203 batting average. However, even though he has been closer to the Farnsworth of 2011 for the Rays as of late, there really is not a role for him outside of middle relief. Ramos, meanwhile, has been more consistent over the season, but has not really proven to be more than someone that can eat up multiple innings should a starter have to leave early. However, Ramos is out of options, meaning that the Rays would risk losing him if they wanted to send him to Durham.
Even if the Rays are unable to trade Farnsworth, he may still end up being the odd man out once Crain returns. At age 37, and on a one year deal, he is unlikely to be a part of the Rays in 2014. Ramos still has some upside at age 29, and is under team control until 2017, with a year until he become arbitration eligible. Already this season, teh Rays have shown that cost is not an issue in terms of sending someone out that does not have a role with the team, as Ryan Roberts and his $2.4Million salary are sitting in Durham.
It may very well come down to Klye Farnsworth and Cesar Ramos as to which player is sent packing once Crain returns. Although he has been better over the past two months, it may not be enough for Farnsworth to remain a member of the Rays.