Everyone loves a nice feel-good story, and that's exactly what left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Springs had been turning into for the 2023 Tampa Bay Rays.
Springs, 30, wasn't able to find his groove in Major League Baseball until he joined the Rays in 2021. Since then, his career has took off. On Tuesday, all fans of the underdog were hit with some difficult news: Springs needs Tommy John Surgery and will be out until the middle of the 2024 season.
This is some tough news, as the southpaw had a sparkling 0.56 ERA across three starts and 16 innings of work. He seemed to be building off of a successful 2022 and taking his game to a new level. Instead, the Rays are losing one of their top starters for the year.
With a hole in the starting rotation, there are a handful of pitchers on this staff that will need to step up. After all, Springs leaves some huge shoes to fill.
Here are 3 Rays pitchers who need to step up in Jeffrey Springs' absence.
Over the course of his five-year big league career, Chirinos has filled essentially every single role on the Rays' pitching staff outside of closer. He has performed admirably as both a starter and follower and gives the Rays the flexibility that they have grown to love.
Dating all the way back to 2019, the team has not gotten enough out of Chirinos, primarily due to a Tommy John Surgery of his own in August of 2020. Now back and at full health, he may once again be relied upon to give the Rays some solid innings, especially with such a huge piece missing from the rotation.
To begin the current season, the 29-year-old has a pair of relief outings under his belt, allowing just three hits and no earned runs in 6.1 innings of work. He should be in line to get more innings in the immediate future as an opener, follower and traditional starter.