ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays are confident Blake Snell deserves to be deemed the best pitcher in the American League when voting for the Cy Young award is announced in November.
He has been the best for August and September, anyway, named Monday as a repeat winner for AL Pitcher of the Month honors, albeit by a different voting bloc.
Snell was 5-0, 1.26 over six September starts, and that after going 4-0, 1.04 in five August outings. At 25, he is the youngest pitcher to win back-to-back monthly awards in either league since 2004, when Minnesota's Johan Santana won three straight.
The National League winner was Colorado's German Marquez, a Rays signee who was traded as a minor-leaguer to the Rockies in January 2016 with Jake McGee for Corey Dickerson and minor-leaguer Kevin Padlo.
With Cy Young votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America due before Wednesday's AL playoffs opener, the Rays sent out their final media sheet touting Snell's credentials beyond his base 21-5, 1.89 record.
Though C Michael Perez played only 24 games after being acquired from Arizona to make his big-league debut and sustaining a hamstring strain that turned out to be season-ending, senior VP Chaim Bloom said he showed enough at and behind the plate to play his way into the 2019. "You don't want to put too much on him, but he showed he can be part of the answer,'' Bloom said. The Rays are expected to seek an upgrade over Jesus Sucre as a right-handed hitting platoon partner.
• Bloom said no surgeries are planned for OF Tommy Pham, with the expectation that his groin and right ring finger injuries "should heal up with rest" and he'll be "full go" for spring training.
• OF Carlos Gomez, a free agent not expected back, played in 118 games, earning $400,000 in incentive bonuses on top of his $4 million salary. He would have gotten another $100,000 with 120 games.