With September 1st just around the corner, the Tampa Bay Rays will have the chance to add some extra players to their roster, as MLB rules allow active rosters to expand to 40 players for the month. According to Marc Topkin, the Rays will promote catcher Curt Casali and relievers Brandon Gomes and Steve Geltz on Monday and they are already with the team today. Here’s a look at what exactly the Rays will be adding to their team.
Casali was demoted just last week after Ryan Hanigan was activated off the DL, and he will return as the 3rd catcher on the roster. In 23 games with the Rays this year, Casali was hitting .169/.246/.203, and between Double-A and Triple-A Casali has hit .253/.382/.369. He had posted a .929 OPS at Double-A through 22 games, but his bat fell of in Triple-A as his OPS was just .694. Despite an 18-5 K-BB ratio in his big league cameo, Casali brings an advanced plate approach every time he bats. In his minor league career he has put up a great 178-141 K-BB ratio, and he has posted a 69-45 ratio this year. Casali’s ability to hit for contact and power are never going to be too special, but his plate approach lets him get the most out of his skill set. Expect him to do a better job at the plate in his second go-around with the club.
Defensively Casali is fairly average across the board. His arm strength is not great, but he makes up for it with accuracy and a good pop time. He has decent receiving and pitch framing skills, but they still needs some work. Casali being promoted was all but guaranteed. Having him around as a third catcher gives the Rays much more flexibility at the catcher position. The Rays won’t have to be afraid of pinch-hitting for their catcher late, as they know that they still have a 3rd catcher around to protect them from injuries.
Gomes appeared to be emerging as one of the Rays most reliable relievers earlier this season. After a dominant spring, he won a spot on the opening day roster and subsequently posted a 2.31 ERA in his first 11.2 innings. However after struggling in May, Gomes found himself back in Triple-A. He did return for one outing on August 13th, where he threw 2.0 scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers. At Triple-A this year, Gomes had posted a 3.62 ERA, 10.1 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9. He may not have the highest upside of Rays’ relievers at Triple-A, however he trumps them with big league experience. Expect him to appear in middle relief for the Rays as needed.
Geltz, 26, is the most surprising player on this list, as he is not on the 40-man roster. With the Rays’ 40-man already being full, they will have to make a move before Geltz can be activated, and it will likely be designating Ali Solis for assignment. Geltz, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for Dane De La Rosa prior to the 2013 season, has been dominant at Triple-A this year. In 29 games he has put up a 2.38 ERA, 13.0 K/9, and 3.7 BB/9. That was following up a stellar 2013 in which he put up a 2.82 ERA at the level. He did miss sometime with a drug suspension this year, but the Rays are not letting those character concerns deter them. The right-hander features a 93-95 MPH fastball and a nice mid-80’s slider, both of which play up because of a deceptive delivery. His control is decent, but at times his command can get iffy and that can come back to hurt him. Like Gomes, Geltz will see time in middle relief, and he is capable of throwing 2 or 3 innings at a time if need be.
Overall, these three players are good pieces that will help the Rays down the stretch. With Casali and Geltz, they both will get some much-needed big league experience as they both look to crack the roster on a full-time basis next season, and Gomes will get another chance to prove he isn’t a Quad-A player. The Rays will promote more players than just this, however most of their other call-ups will come after Triple-A Durham finishes their playoff run. September is always a fun time to see some of your club’s youth get a big league shot, and these three players on top of the Rays future call-ups will give us just that.