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A look at the Rays roster four weeks from camp

More moves are expected, with the addition of an experienced starter at the top of the list.
Rays players stretch after practice during the start of spring training last season in Port Charlotte.
Rays players stretch after practice during the start of spring training last season in Port Charlotte. [ Times ]
Published Jan. 20, 2021

With spring training scheduled to start on time four weeks from Thursday — among pandemic protocols and potentially subject to change — the Rays are still looking to make further additions to their roster.

Most pressing is adding another experienced pitcher to handle starter and/or bulk-inning duties, as they missed out on signing Corey Kluber in their bid to replace Charlie Morton and Blake Snell. A left-handed reliever also seems likely, given the limited options they have, as well as overall depth, including at catcher.

The Rays also have one too many outfielders. Unless a trade of Kevin Kiermaier presents itself — which seems unlikely — they probably will go to camp that way, knowing injuries and other options can surface during those six weeks.

Also worth noting is that while the 40-man roster is full, the Rays can open spots once camp starts by shifting at least three of their injured pitchers (Jalen Beeks, Yonny Chirinos and Colin Poche) to the 60-day injured list. That would allow them to make additions, via free agency or trades, without having to drop any players.

They also can use that strategy as a lure to sign established big-leaguers to minor-league contracts with the promise of being added to the 40-man roster if they get through camp healthy.

Here is a look at the current 40-man roster, the players signed to minor-league deals and others invited to camp, with players added this offseason in italics:

40-man roster

Pitchers (21)

Nick Anderson, rhp

Jalen Beeks, lhp

Diego Castillo, rhp

Yonny Chirinos, rhp

John Curtiss, rhp

Pete Fairbanks, rhp

Josh Fleming, lhp

Tyler Glasnow, rhp

Brent Honeywell, rhp

Shane McClanahan, lhp

Brendan McKay, lhp

Luis Patino, rhp

Colin Poche, lhp

Cody Reed, lhp

Trevor Richards, rhp

Ryan Sherriff, lhp

Aaron Slegers, rhp

Drew Stotman, rhp

Ryan Thompson, rhp

Michael Wacha, rhp

Ryan Yarbrough, lhp

Quick take: Glasnow, Yarbrough and Wacha are set in the rotation. Pending an addition, Fleming, McClanahan, Patino (acquired from San Diego in the Blake Snell trade) and Honeywell (if healthy) will compete to join them, either as starters or pitching behind openers. Beeks, Chirinos and Poche will miss most and maybe all of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. McKay is likely to miss at least the first couple months after undergoing shoulder surgery. Anderson, Castillo and Fairbanks are the key pieces in the bullpen, with Reed and Sherriff the left-handed options. Curtiss and Thompson emerged in 2020, and there are several other candidates for the remaining spots based on the needs for multi- or one-inning options.

Catchers (3)

Ronaldo Hernandez

Francisco Mejia

Mike Zunino

Quick take: The likely duo is Zunino, who was re-signed after a down 2020, and Mejia, acquired in trade from San Diego. Mejia does have a minor-league option remaining, so another addition is possible. Kevan Smith, who returned on a minor-league deal, also could factor in.

Infielders (9)

Willy Adames

Mike Brosseau

Vidal Brujan

Ji-Man Choi

Yandy Diaz

Brandon Lowe

Kevin Padlo

Taylor Walls

Joey Wendle

Quick take: The group seems pretty much set, with Choi at first, Lowe at second, Adames at short and likely some combination of Wendle and Diaz at third. Wendle, who evolved from utility man to starter late in 2020, is also the backup at shortstop, so there will be some shuffling at times. Brosseau offers versatility and could be the right-handed option they need at first base at times.

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Outfielders (7)

Randy Arozarena

Kevin Kiermaier

Josh Lowe

Manuel Margot

Austin Meadows

Brett Phillips

Yoshi Tsutsugo

Quick take: After Arozarena’s record-setting emergence in the playoffs, the Rays have one too many outfielders with Kiermaier, Margot, Meadows, Phillips and Tsutsugo. If they don’t make a trade or lose someone to injury, there may be a squeeze on playing time, though there will be designated hitter at-bats, and Tsutsugo offers some versatility in playing third and potentially first.

Non-roster invitees

Pitchers (7)

Chris Ellis, rhp

Dietrich Enns, lhp

David Hess, rhp

Andrew Kittredge, rhp

Kenny Rosenberg, lhp

Phoenix Sanders, rhp

Tyler Zombro, rhp

Catchers (2)

Joseph Odom

Kevan Smith


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