As it does every November here in the Sunshine State, the annual turnover of the Tampa Bay Rays roster has begun.
It started the day after the World Series when Nelson Cruz, Michael Wacha, Collin McHugh, and David Robertson filed for free agency. Chris Archer, Chaz Roe, and Tommy Hunter also filed for free agency but are still on the 60-day DL.
There is a chance that the team could bring back a couple of these free agents. Nelson Cruz would surely help in the middle of the lineup. He was also a prevalent figure in the clubhouse.
McHugh was excellent out of the pen all year. He went 6-1 with a 1.55 ERA, with 74 strikeouts in 64 innings.
Robertson is an excellent veteran presence to have in the back end of the bullpen. Michael Wacha was terrible, in my opinion, the first half of the season. He pitched much better down the stretch but finished the season with a 3-5 record and 5.05 ERA.
I hope the Chris Archer experiment is over, permanently. Archer was not great in his last full-time season with the Rays in 2018. He never really got a chance to show if he could help this team this season as he missed most of the season with arm issues.
The Rays also cut ties this week with left-handed reliever Ryan Sherriff. Sherriff was put on waivers and promptly claimed by the Phillies. Cody Reed and Oliver Drake also became free agents this week. Both pitchers were placed on waivers, went unclaimed, thus becoming free agents.
There was good news from the Rays organization this week as the team announced that they have picked up the 2022 club option on C Mike Zunino.
After a disappointing 2019-20 hitting .161 with a total of 13 home runs, Zunino rebounded in 2021, hitting .216 with 33 home runs and driving in 62 runs. Furthermore, Zunino is happy to be staying with the Rays:
“Just to be able to get on the same page with the coaching staff, whether it’s my swing, whether it’s my body, it’s nice to have that comfort and have people that have had eyes on you.”
The option is for seven million dollars and will make Zunino the second-highest-paid member of the Rays behind Kevin Keirmaier.
The team also announced that they had reinstated Jalen Beeks, Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow, Colin Poche, Jeffrey Springs, and RH Ryan Thompson from the 60-day IL. These players have been added to the 60-man roster.
–The Rays were shoutout in the gold glove awards Sunday night. Center fielder Kevin Keirmaier lost out to Kansas City outfielder Michael A. Taylor.
Joey Wendle, a finalist at third base, lost out to Matt Chapman of Oakland. Randy Arozarena, the Rays left fielder, lost out to Andrew Benintendi of the Royals.