Why Didn’t the Tampa Bay Rays Call Up Kevin Kiermaier To Replace Brandon Guyer?

By Robbie Knopf

The Tampa Bay Rays were waiting for some excuse to give Kevin Kiermaier big league playing time. Then the opportunity arose when Brandon Guyer got injured, and they let it pass them by, calling up Alex Colome instead. What made the Rays decide to act in that fashion?

At first glance, it would appear that this entire question is pointless. The Rays have already demoted Colome after his 4-inning stint last night- aren’t they going to call up Kiermaier to replace him? As it turns out, that will not be possible.

Kiermaier was demoted on May 21st, so not until May 31st (this Saturday) will he be able to return because of the 10-day rule. The Rays could have circumvented that by calling up Kiermaier to replace Guyer directly, but now that they chose Colome over him, they will just have to wait. That makes the question even stronger: the Rays had a chance to not only get Kiermaier big league at-bats, but also give him them sooner than they could have otherwise, and they declined to do so. This whole situation seems quite bizarre. Before you panic about the Rays’ decision-making skills, though, let’s explain what’s actually going on.

Adam Sobsey noted that Kiermaier is dealing with a minor leg injury and has only been able to be a late-inning replacement at Triple-A Durham. If Kiermaier arrived in the majors, he could surely play a similar role, but that is not what the Rays have in mind. If Kiermaier is going to be on their 25-man roster, the Rays are going to want him receiving regular at-bats. We could very well see him starting in centerfield with Desmond Jennings starting in left against left-handed pitching, and he could often spell one of Jennings, Matt Joyce, and David DeJesus against righties. It just so happens that this 10-day period works out for Kiermaier to get entirely healthy and be ready to make a impact when he is promoted. Brandon Guyer’s injury will indeed get Kevin Kiermaier his first extended big league chance- it will just take a little time to get there.