Rays Send Blake Snell Back to Minors, Call Up Jose Alvarado

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 28: Blake Snell (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 28: Blake Snell (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Failing to get past the fifth inning in yet another start, or show any significant improvement the Tampa Bay Rays have optioned Blake Snell back to Triple-A Durham and recalled reliever Jose Alvarado.

The Tampa Bay Rays wasted little time in realizing that Blake Snell has not shown enough improvement to remain in the rotation and have optioned him back to Triple-A Durham. Taking his roster spot will be left-handed reliever Jose Alvarado, though his stay could be short as the Rays have some options regarding their rotation.

In addition to sending Snell to Durham, the Rays also optioned infielder Taylor Featherston and recalled infielder Daniel Robertson who they activated off the 10-day DL with neck spasms.

Optioned to Durham in early May to work out problems with his command, control issues, pitch count and some other areas, Snell was lights out in his stint with Durham. He was 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA in seven starts with 61 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 44 innings which prompted the Rays to recall him in mid-June with the confidence that he had “found” his way back.

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However, that has not been the case as in his six starts since returning he has pitched only once past the fifth inning, going 0-2 with a 5.34.  Over this span, he struck out 30 while walking 16 in 30.1 innings. Overall on the season, Snell is 0-6 in 14 starts with a 4.98 ERA.

In his latest start on Thursday against the Astros, Snell was pulled after four innings in which he allowed three runs on seven hits. He struck out five, walked only one but was unable to show consistent command once again.

As in the first month of the season, Snell has been consistently inconsistent though at times he did show improvement. However, there comes a time when one’s patience runs out and it appears as though it has with the Rays.

Alvarado is returning to the Rays for the second time this season, having posted a 0-3 record with seven holds, a 5.89 ERA in 21 appearances (18 innings pitched) from May 3-June 27.  Prior to his first call up, Alvarado went 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA for Double-A Montgomery with 14 strikeouts and five walks in 11.1 innings pitched (nine appearances) while holding opposing batters to a .111 average.

Optioned to Durham instead of going back to Montgomery, Alvarado made 13 appearances going 0-1 with one save while posting a 2.81 ERA. In 16 innings, he recorded 23 strikeouts, walked seven while holding opposing batters to a .136 average.

The Rays were initially set to option Robertson to Durham when they had acquired Adeiny Hechavarria, but neck spasms resulted in a trip to the 10-day DL where he had been since June 27.

Prior to his stint on the DL, Robertson’s line was .224/.314/.365 with five home runs, 16 RBIs and one stolen base in 58 games. Of those 58 games, 52 were starts (31-2B, 11-SS, 8-3B, 2-DH). In his 31 games at second, Robertson committed just one error in 101 chances. In his five rehab games between Triple-A Durham and Class-A Charlotte, Robertson hit .538/.600/.923 (7-for-13).

In regards to the upcoming rotation and who will replace Snell, it looks as though Jake Odorizzi will get the call. He is currently on the 10-day DL with back issues and will begin his rehab assignment tonight starting for Class A-Charlotte.

If this is the case, the rotation by next week will include Odorizzi, Austin Pruitt, Alex Cobb, Jacob Faria and Chris Archer. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times via Twitter says that the Rays have no plans to call up Brent Honeywell at this time.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays Rumors: Could Still Add a Right-Hand Bat

There comes a time when one’s patience runs out and it appears as though the Rays have done so with Blake Snell.