Tampa Bay Rays: Will Finish the Season with Six-Man Rotation


The Tampa Bay Rays will move to six-man rotation for the final weeks of the season keeping cohesiveness, limiting innings and assessing possibilities for 2017.

The anticipated return of pitcher Alex Cobb is now just days away as Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash announced that Cobb would start Friday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In what will be Cobb’s “Opening Day” is his first start since Sept. 28, 2014, almost two years removed from the last time he started for the Tampa Bay Rays.

With the addition of Cobb to the rotation and not wanting to disturb the current rotation of Chris Archer, Drew Smyly, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Andriese and rookie Blake Snell, the Tampa Bay Rays will shift to a six-man rotation for the remainder of the season.

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With the decision of going to a six-man rotation was fairly simple in terms of logic.

Andriese and or Snell would have been removed from the rotation to accommodate Cobb and the Tampa Bay Rays want to see all three of them pitch.

Also with the rosters expanding from a 25-man limit to a 40-man limit on Sept. 1, the six-man rotation will allow Cash to manage the innings limit on some of the starters.

It also changes the amount of starts they would get and that now means each should have five in the final month.

All of the current starters with the exception of Archer have or will exceed their innings pitched by at least 20 percent from last year.

They way it looks heading into Wednesday’s game: Snell (16: 131.1-IP/15: 134-IP), Andriese (16: 135-IP/15: 130-IP), Smyly (16: 150-IP/15: 88-IP) and Odorizzi (16: 161.2-IP/15: 179-IP).

In Archer’s case it’s very possible that he will not reach his goal of 200-innings pitched as he needs 31 more innings to accomplish this.

Archer threw 212 innings in 2015 and will enter his next start with 169.

The expanding roster along with the six-man rotation  gives the Tampa Bay Rays many opportunities.

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They’ll get a good look at some of their future pitchers and as well have members of their current group under a microscope.

The Tampa Bay Rays are expected to call up a reliever or starter on Sept. 1, but will not add any additional players until the Durham Bulls regular season ends on Monday.

Speculation of those coming for their cup of coffee could include pitchers Jacob Faria, Jaime Schultz, Ryne Stanek, Brent Honeywell and others.

Following his rehab assignment from Tommy John surgery and assigned to Montgomery pitcher Chase Whitley is a definite recall.

Whitley was not activated to join the Rays after his rehab assignment ended.

Instead they wanted him build up his stamina, work through different situations and get as many innings as possible, all of which would not have been possible at the major league level.

With expiring contracts and/or arbitration eligible players this fall from their current group, President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman will need to do his due diligence.

From the current 40-man roster starters Cobb, Smyly and Odorizzi along with relievers Erasmo Ramirez, Danny Farquhar, Xavier Cedeno and Brad Boxberger are all arbitration eligible in 2017, so no doubt it will be an interesting off-season.

Silverman in keeping with the Tampa Bay Rays financial makeup will need to figure out what to do in regards to tendering contracts and as well, possibly needing to make a some trades.

Smyly who won his arbitration case this past spring along with Ramirez could pull in close to $4 million via arbitration this coming spring are potential trade candidates.

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In addition to the pitchers, positional players Corey Dickerson and Brad Miller are also arbitration eligible and as well a handful of players with expiring contracts at the end of this season.