All five of the pitchers discussed above have the ability to produce at the major league level this year. Four of them have major league experience and the other has a great minor league resume. Kolarek, Beeks, and Poche all have the ability to be the lefty-specialist the Rays may still be looking for.
There are plenty of other relievers I could have discussed. Hunter Wood, Austin Pruitt, Cole Sulser, Ian Gibaut all come to mind as other pitchers who could make an impact in 2019. Due to the Rays use of the opener and “bullpen-ing” there is a very good chance you could see all five of the pitchers discussed above and the names I just mentioned in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform at some point in 2019.
Not to mention, there is still plenty of time for the Rays to add another, more seasoned veteran arm to the discussion. I have already discussed Shawn Kelley as an option and Cody Allen may be an interesting fit too (I will discuss him soon).
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We will begin to get a better feel for who the Rays will look towards to record outs in the later innings in 2019 when pitchers and catchers report in a little over a month. The biggest headlines coming out of Port Charlotte will be pitching related, as they usually are. But with the starting rotation set barring any injuries, the most hotly contested battles will take place on the mounds at the back of the complex.
Thanks for reading Rays fans! Let me know what you think below or on twitter @RaysReimann !!! The debut of the Rays Colored Podcast is almost here. Stay posted for more details in the coming days. Also, keep an eye out for some top prospect lists coming out soon.