The Tampa Bay Rays have made a series of moves over the past couple of days to help rearrange their 40 man roster and protect players from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.
The Tampa Bay Rays are no stranger to announcing their roster decisions at the last possible minute, and they did just that over the past few days, making a series of announcements that would shake up their roster and help protect some of their more valuable prospects and younger players.
This started on Thursday when the Rays announced that they had signed an acclaimed international prospect in Cuban pitcher Sandy Gaston. The 16-year-old is known for having an electric fastball that has an advanced velocity for his age, and he could prove to be a top player for the organisation in the future.
Meanwhile on the current roster, journeyman reliever Oliver Drake was claimed from the Twins on waivers. The 31 year-old right-hander struggled in 2018, posting a 5.29 ERA over 47.2 innings pitched, and a sub-par 83 ERA+. However, he must be credited with achieving a rare feat. During the 2018 season, Drake pitched in the major leagues with five different clubs: The Brewers, Indians, Angels, Blue Jays and Twins. Perhaps with Kyle Snyder’s magic touch, Drake can finally find a place he can hang his hat – Tampa.
The Rays also reinstated four of their injured players back onto the roster from the 60-day disabled list:
RHP Wilmer Font
RHP Jose De Leon
RHP Jose Mujica
All these players showed a lot of promise prior to their injuries, and fans should be excited to see them all back, especially Robertson, who was an integral part of the Rays’ first half success.
However, to make room for these players, other team members had to be taken off the 40-man roster to make room. Over the past two days, Tampa was forced to outright four players to clear space. Firstly there were veterans Vidal Nuno and Adam Moore, who have both elected free agency after being dropped.
Next, right-handed pitcher Andrew Kittredge has been sent back down to AAA following his removal from the roster, and will more than likely start the season in Durham.
The final and most saddening subtraction was catcher Jesus Sucre, who has been a regular part of Tampa’s battery as the backup catcher over the past two seasons. While he was never spectacular offensively, he played a large part in developing and mentoring the young pitching staff the Rays have pieced together over the past couple of years, and will likely be missed in the clubhouse. He has yet to announce if he will take the AAA assignment or elect free agency, but expect the latter of the two options.
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As of writing this article, 39 of the 40 places have been filled on the Rays roster, and five or six more prospects would still need to be added to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft. The organisation has until November 20th to decide who will stay and who will go, so be sure to stay tuned to Rays Colored Glasses to keep up with all Rays roster moves this offseason.