Aug 17, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) , starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53), Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly (33) and starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) watch from the dugout against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Given everything we have said, the possibilities that make the most sense are either Andriese starting on the 24th followed by a bullpen day or Smyly starting on the 24th and then a bullpen day. Which option the Tampa Bay Rays choose will depend on whether they think Smyly is ready or not. Even if Colome is readier than Smyly in theory, it doesn’t seem to make sense for the Rays to have his first big league game of the year come on short rest.
The Rays’ roster moves should quickly tell us which path they are going to choose. When Allan Dykstra is designated for assignment as James Loney returns on April 23rd, if Matt Andriese isn’t starting, he should also be optioned to Triple-A at that time. The only reason he wouldn’t be optioned sooner is that the Rays literally have no other pitcher they can call up without DFAing someone else. Kirby Yates can’t return until April 24th while both Enny Romero and Grayson Garvin are currently hurt.
If Andriese is optioned, though, then the Rays could call up Scott Diamond for the 23rd before he gets DFA’d to make room for Smyly on the 25-man roster on the 24th. Next, they would promote Yates before or after the game that day with either Jose Dominguez or C.J. Riefenhauser heading back to Triple-A Durham. Whichever one lasted would be demoted when Colome returns on the 26th.
If Andriese is starting, meanwhile, the Rays will do nothing other than activating Loney and designating Dykstra between now and the 24th. Then, after the game on the 24th, they will option Andriese to call up either Scott Diamond or Everett Teaford. Dominguez or Riefenhauser, meanwhile, will still be demoted before or after that game in favor of Yates depending on how fresh they are. Colome would then replace Diamond or Teaford on the 26th before Smyly replaces whichever of Dominguez or Riefenhauser “survived” on the 29th.
There are a lot of balls that the Tampa Bay Rays are juggling right now as they figure out what their roster will look like in the next week, but all of the complications are fine because their team is about to get stronger. Getting Drew Smyly and Alex Colome back will be a huge lift for the Rays, and they just want to ensure that their returns go as smoothly as possible.
(The next slide is just the one-page view.)