Tampa Bay Rays’ RP Aaron Loup becomes free agent

Tampa Bay Rays had one name on the free-agent list announced on October 28 by the MLBPA: left-handed relief pitcher Aaron Loup.

The 32-year-old’s one year contract expired on the conclusion of the 2020 season and Aaron Loup became an unrestricted free agent. He was one of 147 players who will be seeking contracts next season as part of free agency.

According to Spotrac, Loup’s contract in 2020 was $1,000,000, which was adjusted down to $370,370 because of the truncated season due to COVID-19. Loup joined the Rays on February 10 after his previous team, the San Diego Padres, declined an option on the pitcher. Loup has also played for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays.

In 2020, Loup pitched in 24 games with 22 strikeouts from 25 IP. His ERA was 2.52 across the season with nine runs conceded. His postseason stats were ruined in the unbelievable Game 4 when he conceded two runs and two hits from 0.1 IP. These were the only runs that Loup conceded in the playoffs.

According to Baseball Savant, Loup threw four types of pitches this season: sinker (49.9%), cutter (31.1%), curve (10.3%) and changeup (8.8%). His cutter was homered twice while his sinker went long once. Overall, Loup gave up 17 hits in 2020 during his time with the Rays.

As the Rays take stock of the 2020 season, and look to their roster for 2021, Loup does not appear to be part of the equation. With the Rays having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, it is likely that better value can be achieved in the relief pitching market than Loup.

For the player, he will be entertaining offers as a free agent and may well be seen as an option for the bullpen elsewhere. There is a five-day period where free agents can negotiate with their previous franchise before being able to go to market. If the Rays want to keep Loup, they can try and get a deal done in this period. If not, Loup can start negotiating with other teams from November 1.