Sep 21, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Alex Colome (37) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
With Jeremy Hellickson hurt to begin last season, the Tampa Bay Rays installed Jake Odorizzi as their fifth starter and he would up being a pleasant surprise. The Rays’ issue, though, was that the two pitchers Odorizzi beat out to win the job, Erik Bedard and Cesar Ramos, both had to start for a while as well after injuries to Matt Moore and Alex Cobb.
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Now, the Rays find themselves in the same situation with Moore set to come back from Tommy John Surgery in June. The favorite to replace him is Alex Colome. Colome has been a top prospect in the system for years, and after nearly 700 minor league innings, he is now out of options. He needs to be on the roster in some capacity, whether as a starter or a reliever, and the former role seems more likely.
However, Colome comes with risk as a relatively unproven pitcher with a history of inconsistent command, and the Rays need alternate options behind him. Injuries to any of the Rays’ starters are always a factor as well, making depth even more important. Luckily for the Rays, Nate Karns, Matt Andriese, Burch Smith, Mike Montgomery, and Enny Romero represent five more options in case anything goes wrong.
Given all of that depth, do the Rays need to sign an Erik Bedard-esque veteran to a minor league contract just in case? Such a move certainly couldn’t hurt–especially if the pitcher in question could also be a long reliever–but thanks to their deep Triple-A prospect list, the Rays could be just fine without such a pitcher if they so choose.