Tampa Bay Rays: Grady Sizemore Up, Matt Andriese Down

By Robbie Knopf

Matt Moore is officially set to make his return for the Tampa Bay Rays in five days. There was some question as to who he would replace in the team’s rotation, but Matt Andriese was optioned to Triple-A to make room for outfielder Grady Sizemore, so the Rays are set for a starting five of Chris Archer, Nate Karns, Erasmo Ramirez, Alex Colome, and Moore in their next trip through their rotation. It is always exciting to welcome back a pitcher like Moore, and the Rays are hoping to see the form that earned him Cy Young votes in 2013.

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The timing is quite ironic for Andriese given that he tossed his best game in the major leagues yesterday. At the end of the day, it came down to a numbers game–Andriese has an option while neither Colome nor Ramirez do. Moore’s timetable was pushed back by one day because of a rainout, but even if Moore had been slated to start on Colome’s day, it would have made more sense for Colome to stick in the rotation over Andriese anyway. Optioning Andriese gives the Rays an extra roster spot for the next four days, and it’s not as though Colome’s rotation spot is safe–he may instead be replaced by Jake Odorizzi, who is also set to return before the All-Star Break.

Grady Sizemore is a shadow of the player who was a superstar by any standard from 2005 to 2009 before his injuries started. Even so, he does give the Rays some additional flexibility. Today, he will help them give days off to Kevin Kiermaier and Joey Butler, and moving forward, they will have a better righty-lefty split off their bench. Overall, here is how the Rays’ hitters line up right now.

Righty Hitters (8): Evan Longoria, Joey Butler, Logan Forsythe, Steven Souza Jr., Brandon Guyer, Jake Elmore, Rene Rivera, Curt Casali

Lefty Hitters (4): David DeJesus, Kevin Kiermaier, Marc Krauss, Grady Sizmore

Switch-Hitters (1): Asdrubal Cabrera

Nick Franklin was hypothetically a second switch-hitter, but we know that he wasn’t hitting anyone the last few weeks. Replacing him and the extra pitcher’s spot with two more left-handed bats will give the Rays a subtle advantage at the bottom of the order and late in games. No one is describing Krauss or Sizemore as a savior, but they will give the Rays more opportunities for platoon advantages. If you are going to have a marginal player in the batter’s box, hopefully you are at least using him against a pitcher of the opposite side.

The Tampa Bay Rays will need to make room for Moore on July 2nd, and candidates to be replaced are Sizemore himself and Kirby Yates. Ronald Belisario could also be designated for assignment, but we have to expect that Yates would be sent back to Durham before the Rays made such a move. The Rays have a few days to evaluate Sizemore up close and decide whether he is good enough to warrant losing an extra bullpen arm. Our expectations can’t be high for him at this point, but the Rays have a roster spot to play with right now and little to lose if he fails.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays MiLB Recap: John Jaso Finally Resurfaces