Tampa Bay Rays: Clearing the Hurdles, 2019 Retrospective Part Two

By Seth Carter
Charlie Morton (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Charlie Morton (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Yonny Chirinos (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

Yonny Chirinos showed well in 2018 with just seven starts. In 2019 he broke out over 133.2 innings and 18 starts. Chirinos’s season was cut short with an injury, but he had made his mark with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Chirinos registered a quality start in 10 of his 18 starts in 2019.

Prior to 2019, the Rays signed Avisail Garcia for $3.5 million. Garcia left the White Sox behind with unfulfilled potential, despite earning an All-Star nod in 2017. Lingering knee issues have been attributed to losing nearly .100 points off his batting average, but the White Sox still felt non-tendering the 6-4, 240 lbs athlete, following the 2018 season.

The Rays jumped on the opportunity, believing Garcia would be more like the 2017-version following his knee surgery. Not only were the Rays right (surprised?) but Garcia set career highs in home runs and steals in 2019. Avisail proved to be a low-risk, high-reward investment for the Tampa Bay Rays, he was a big piece of the 96-win puzzle.

Travis d’Arnaud was obtained for a bag of cash full of one hundred thousand dollars. With Mike Zunino and Michael Perez suffering from early injuries, Tampa called up old friend, Andrew Friedman with the Dodgers and picked d’Arnaud off of the scrap-heap. D’Arnaud became the lead catcher for the top pitching staff in the league and consistently found himself in the middle of the lineup. He was one of the pillars of the 96-win season. It’s hard to believe he was obtained for $100k and was buried in a catching-rich Dodgers’ organization. Had he not have been traded to the Rays, d’Arnaud may not have been afforded another real opportunity to revive his career.