On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays reportedly signed former Houston Astros reliever Phil Maton. The right-hander adds depth to a bullpen that is stacked and can once again hold its own against some of the tougher lineups in all of baseball.
Maton will spend his eighth year of his major league career inside Tropicana Field with the Rays, and if there is any team in the majors that knows how to coach up pitchers, he joined it. Tampa Bay just landed a pitcher who can provide valuable relief efforts in high stress situations.
In 2023, Maton pitched 66 innings, posting a 3.00 ERA. He struck out 74 batters as well, with his K rate last season sitting in the 76th percentile of all major league pitching.
The combination of a high-use curveball with an occasional slider makes him a big-time breaking ball pitcher. He also has the ability to throw off the batters' timing with a low 90s fastball. This ability to mistime batters landed him in the 90th percentile for whiff rates.
It is safe to say that he will blend in nicely with a bullpen that ranked fourth in total strikeouts and 11th in ERA in all of Major League Baseball. Again, if Tampa Bay needs to get out of sticky sitautions against other teams, Maton may be their pitcher for it.
Maton's experience is also a big weapon Tampa Bay added on to their bullpen. He was part of an Astros team that had lots of success the past two seasons (World Series champions in 2022 and went all the way to the ALCS in 2023). This kind of postseason experience can help the Rays if they find themselves making it for a sixth straight season.