The writing has been on the wall for a while, but today the Tampa Bay Rays made it official.
Yoshi Tsutsugo was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays, removing him immediately from the active roster, as well as the 40-man roster. In his spot, Kevin Padlo was recalled by the team Tuesday.
The Tampa Bay Rays will now have a week to decide the fate of Tsutsugo.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rays Colored Glasses team!
What are the Tampa Bay Rays options?
The first option they have is to trade Yoshi. However, that likely won’t be easy. As a major leaguer Tsutsugo carries a .187 career batting average over 77 games. Yoshi did hit eight home runs with 24 RBI’s in last year’s COVID-19 shortened season, but he has been awful this season, hitting only .167, breaking down to 13-for-78 at the plate.
With the likeliness of finding a trade partner being slim, the second option for the Tampa Bay Rays is to send Yoshi to Triple-A Durham. However, in doing so, Yoshi would have to accept his assignment to Durham and clear waivers, and according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, that idea has already been floated around.
The final option the Tampa Bay Rays have is to release Tsutsugo. Yoshi signed a two-year, $12 million-dollar contract before the 2020 season with the Rays, and is still owed 5.46 million through the end of the season.
You might be thinking, why did the Tampa Bay Rays make this move now?
Great question, but it’s a simple answer. Tsutsugo was seeing all of his at-bats coming from playing first base. However, Ji-Man Choi is nearly ready to return from his rehab assignment.
Choi spent last week playing for the Durham Bulls and played in five of the team’s first six games. In those games Choi went 6-for-19, breaking down to a .316 batting average, as well as walking three times, and driving in two.
Choi will be the unquestioned starting first basemen once he returns from the IL, leaving no room on the roster for Yoshi.
Although the book isn’t fully written on Yoshi Tsutsugo’s time with the Tampa Bay Rays, and in major league baseball, it might be on one of its final chapters. The Tampa Bay Rays’ first game without Yoshi will be Tuesday night against the New York Yankees.