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Tampa Bay Rays: Assessing the starting pitching market

areimann
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the thirteenth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the thirteenth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 03: Trevor Cahill #53 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the New York Yankees in the top of the first inning at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on September 3, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 03: Trevor Cahill #53 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the New York Yankees in the top of the first inning at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on September 3, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

3rd Tier (Probable Targets)

#9 Trevor Cahill

  • A rebound 2018 proved to be one of the best years of Trevor Cahill’s career. Cahill who depends on bad contact can also get a swing and miss as he struck out 100 batter in 110 innings of work. Going 7-4 with an ERA of 3.76, Cahill could possibly sign a short-term deal with the Rays in the neighborhood of 2 years and 15 million dollars.

#10 Derek Holland

  • Derek Holland quietly put together a nice 2018 campaign, making 30 starts in San Francisco going 7-9 with an 3.57 ERA. In what was one his best better years on the mound, Holland put himself in a position to play for a contender such as the Rays in 2019. He is 32 years old and could possible look to sign a 2-3 year deal that could appeal to the Rays. His strikeouts were up and his walks are down from a year ago which also should appeal to the Rays.

#11 Tyson Ross

Ross pitched well down the stretch with the St. Louis Cardinals going 2-0 with a 2.73 ERA over 26.1 innings. His success with the Cardinals may have placed him on the Rays radar going into the offseason. He features a five pitch mix but heavily relies on a fastball/slider. Sounds like Chris Archer right? The difference is that he still throws his three other pitchers enough to keep hitters off balance. He could look to sign a shorter term deal as well that could appeal to the Rays.

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#12 Clay Buchholz

  • As he returned to the MLB scene this season in Arizona, he was phenomenal over 16 starts. Going 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA while posting a 215 ERA+. At age 34, Buchholz can’t expect to sign a long term deal and there is a possibility for regression as he pitches over the course of an entire year. He could be an under the radar acquisition who has postseason experience.

#14 Jeremy Hellickson

  • While there may be a Hellickson hangover in Tampa Bay, he put together a solid year in Washington. Making 19 starts, the former Rays Rookie of the Year went 5-3 while posting a 3.45 ERA and posted the third best ERA+ of his career, 123. Staying healthy will be a concern for Hellickson and he may receive offers outside of the Rays comfort zone when they have similar younger options like Ryan Yarborough. I don’t know if the Rays will look for a reunion but it certainly isn’t out of the question.

#15 James Shields

The final pitcher on this list, Shields could also return to the Rays on a 1 year contract while eating innings behind Snell and Glasnow. He would add a needed veteran presence to a young Rays clubhouse and pitching staff. He is an innings eater who just had his best year in 2015. His 2018 season wasn’t stellar by any means but the glory days of the Rays revolved around James Shields, why not see if there is any big games left in Big Game James.

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