Tag: Kevin Jepsen

Glen Perkins

Twins closer Glen Perkins out indefinitely, “can barely walk” due to back spasms


Twins closer Glen Perkins recently returned to action after missing time with a neck injury, but now he’s skipping the team’s upcoming road trip due to back spasms.

Perkins told reporters that he “couldn’t get out of bed” Wednesday and “can barely walk” today, so suffice it to say the Twins may be without their All-Star closer for a significant length of time.

Despite some rough patches in the second half surrounding his injury issues Perkins has been fantastic overall this season by converting 32 of 34 save chances with a 2.68 ERA and 46/8 K/BB ratio.

Trade deadline pickup Kevin Jepsen will fill in for Perkins as Minnesota’s closer, with Trevor May serving as the primary setup man.

2015 MLB Trade Deadline Tracker

Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners

Find all of the completed deals right here through Friday afternoon’s trade deadline.

July 31

Mets acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers for RHP Michael Fulmer and RHP Luis Cessa

After backing out of the Carlos Gomez deal and flirting with Jay Bruce, the Mets still managed to pull off deadline day’s biggest deal, bringing in Cespedes in the midst of one of his best surge’s as a major leaguer. It’s not an ideal fit — a true center fielder would have been better — but it will give the offense quite a lift, even if Cespedes doesn’t offer much in the way of OBP. It will be interesting to see how the Mets try to get by with either Curtis Granderson or Cespedes in center. Ideally, Juan Lagares would start hitting and those two could stay in the corners. Lagares, though, appears to be too banged up to contribute. Expect him to take a backseat so that Michael Conforto can continue to start in left for now.

The Tigers did well to get Fulmer here. He has all of the makings of a No. 3 starter or perhaps even a No. 2, and he should be ready to help next year. Cessa has been a career starter in the minors, but he probably projects better as a reliever in the majors.

Blue Jays acquired OF Ben Revere from the Phillies for RHP Alberto Tirado and RHP Jimmy Cordero

The Phillies got two of the Blue Jays’ hardest throwers back for Revere, with the caveat that both are true relievers. Tirado has the better chance of the duo of turning into a late-game option in a couple of years, though Cordero could reach the majors first. Revere should be a nice complementary player for the Jays as a left fielder against right-handers and backup to Kevin Pillar in center. He hit .298/.334/.374 in 366 at-bats for the Phillies. The Blue Jays can continue to stick with Chris Colabello if he produces, but now he will be able to DH more frequently. Sacrificing power for defense makes plenty of sense here.

Orioles acquire OF Gerardo Parra from the Brewers for RHP Zach Davies

The Orioles had a Parra-type player in Alejandro De Aza, only to dump him after his slow start. Now they’ve had to give up a solid prospect and spend some money to replace him. Clearly it’s a win if Parra’s career season continues — he’s batting .328/.369/.517 right now after coming in at .265/.316/.387 the previous two years — but there isn’t much reason to think it will, particularly now that he’s switching leagues for the first time in his career. Also, his defense isn’t nearly what it was a few years back. All of that said, he’s better than what they have now and that probably makes the deal worth doing. Davies, 22, isn’t a big upside guy, but he has a 2.84 ERA and an 81/33 K/BB ratio with just four homers allowed in 101 1/3 innings in Triple-A this year. He could work out nicely as a fourth or fifth starter.

Cubs acquire RHP Dan Haren from the Marlins for RHP Ivan Pineyro and SS Elliot Soto

The Cubs would have preferred a top-of-the-rotation threat, but they needed to shore up the fifth spot and do that here. Haren has a 3.42 ERA in 21 starts for the Marlins, but it comes with a diminished strikeout rate and peripherals that suggest his ERA should be closer to the 4.00-4.50 range. He gives the Cubs security, but ideally, he wouldn’t be in their top four should they reach the postseason. The Marlins aren’t getting much in return. Pineyro is probably a middle reliever if he makes the majors. Soto might have some use as a utilityman if this year’s on-base skills are for real; he’s at .388 in Double-A this year, but his career mark is .328 in six minor league seasons.

Rangers acquired RHP Sam Dyson from the Marlins for LHP Cody Ege and C Tomas Telis

This one will slip under the radar, but Dyson is solid reliever capable of being something considerable more if he just brings down his walk rate some. He throws in the mid-90s and gets tons of grounders along with his strikeouts (41 in 44 IP this year). He makes the minimum for another year, and he could become a really good setup man for half a decade or so. The Marlins didn’t give him away; Ege has the makings of a strong lefty reliever himself, and Telis should grow into a long-term role as J.T. Realmuto’s backup. Still, this is a nice pickup for Texas.

Pirates acquired 1B-OF Mike Morse and cash from the Dodgers for OF Jose Tabata

Morse is being tossed around like he didn’t have an .811 OPS in 131 games for the Giants last year or a .794 career mark. The Pirates can use him as their first baseman against left-handers and give him a chance to secure the job outright if he outproduces Pedro Alvarez. He’s also an option in the outfield, but it’d be for the best if he’s not needed there. The Pirates are also finally out from under the rest of Tabata’s deal, which they’ve seemed to regret from the moment it was signed in Aug. 2011. He’s made $4 million this year while spending most of the season in the minors and gets $4.5 million next year before the guaranteed portion finally comes to an end. Tabata still might be useful as a fourth outfielder and starter against lefties, but the Dodgers probably won’t ever have playing time for him. He’ll head to Triple-A for now, and it’d be for the best if he simply gets released.

Blue Jays acquire RHP Mark Lowe from the Mariners for LHP Nick Wells, LHP Rob Rasmussen and LHP Jake Brentz

Lowe had had a fabulous year, posting a 1.00 ERA and a 47/11 K/BB ratio in 36 innings for the Mariners. His ability to keep it up is less about stuff and more about health. He’s always had durability issues, and he hasn’t topped 50 innings since 2011. This year, he’s already at 45, including his time in Triple-A. Coming back to the Mariners are three lefties. Wells is the prospect in the group, a 2014 third-round pick with a chance of turning into something someday. Right now, he’s sporting a 4.78 ERA in Rookie ball. Rasmussen is a fringy reliever who could slot into Seattle’s pen immediately. Brentz is another Rookie ball guy.

Twins acquire RHP Kevin Jepsen from the Rays for RHP Chih-Wei Hu and RHP Alexis Tapia

Jepsen has a 2.81 ERA for the Rays this year, but he’s gone from striking out 10.4 batters and walking 3.2 batters per nine innings last year to striking out 7.3 and walking 4.3 this year. That’s a big change, and it might not bode well for continued success in a setup role. On the plus side, the Twins didn’t part with any top prospects here. Hu, 21, has a nice 2.44 ERA and a 73/19 K/BB ratio in 84 2/3 innings in high-A ball, but he doesn’t get rave reviews for his stuff. Tapia is a 19 and pitching in Rookie ball. Neither made Baseball America’s preseason top 30 prospects list for the Twins.

Pirates acquired LHP J.A. Happ from the Mariners for RHP Adrian Sampson

With his ERA up to 4.64, the Mariners were all set to dump Happ from their rotation. This is a more permanent solution. Happ isn’t an upgrade for the Pirates rotation, either, though if A.J. Burnett needs a stint on the DL, he’s a capable replacement for two or three weeks. Sampson, 23, had a 3.98 ERA and a 95/29 K/BB ratio in 124 1/3 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis. His stuff is mediocre, and if he has any success in the majors, it’ll probably come as a reliever.

Cubs acquired RHP Tommy Hunter from the Orioles for OF Junior Lake

Hunter is a free agent at season’s end, and he hasn’t had a great year with his 3.63 ERA in 44 2/3 innings. Still, the feeling here is that the Orioles were better off with him in the pen than they are with Lake anywhere on the 40-man roster. Lake can hit lefties a bit, but he offers horrible plate discipline and subpar defense in an outfield corner. He’s a career .241/.283/.380 hitter with 198 strikeouts in 602 at-bats for the Cubs. That makes this a winner for the Cubs, even if Hunter is just the fifth- or sixth-best righty in their pen.

Padres acquired LHP Marc Rzepczynski from the Indians for OF Abraham Almonte

Haven’t these guys been traded for each other at least once already? No? Well, it had to happen at some point. Scrabble is a perfectly respectable lefty specialist, those his numbers this year against lefties aren’t as strong as usual (.264/.339/.358 in 53 AB). Almonte is a solid center fielder and a switch-hitter, but he lacks the bat to play regularly or even the splits to form part of a platoon. He might put up one or two good years before he’s done, but it’s anyone’s guess whether they’ll come in Cleveland.

Cardinals acquire RHP Jonathan Broxton from the Brewers for INF Malik Collymore

Just like Parra, Broxton was acquired by the Brewers as they tried to gear up for the postseason last year and now he’s gone in a deadline deal this year. Broxton was awful early on, but his ERA has dropped from 8.22 on May 20 to 5.89 now and he has a 37/10 K/BB ratio in 36 2/3 innings overall. The home run ball can be a problem for him, but the Cardinals play half of their games in a pretty forgiving stadium. Anyway, they aren’t bringing him in to pitch in crucial situations. Collymore, a 2013 10th-round pick, is in Rookie ball again this year and hitting .216/.326/.378 in 74 at-bats. He showed more last year, but he’s a long shot to reach the majors.

Athletics acquired LHP Felix Doubront from the Blue Jays for cash considerations

The Jays thought they could do without Doubront after their recent moves, so they save a little money here. The A’s get themselves some rotation insurance with Scott Kazmir gone and Drew Pomeranz apparently remaining in the bullpen.

Red Sox acquired RHP Ryan Cook from the Athletics for cash considerations

The 28-year-old Cook still possesses a nice 2.93 ERA as a major leaguer, with 207 strikeouts in 202 2/3 innings, but injuries caused him to slip last year and a disastrous spring cost him his spot entirely this year. He ended up giving up five runs over 4 1/3 innings in his final stints with the A’s, and they were probably just going to non-tender him rather than pay him another $1.5 million or so in arbitration next year. The Red Sox will take a look-see and see if he has anything left.

July 30

Blue Jays acquire LHP David Price from Tigers for LHP Daniel Norris, LHP Matt Boyd and LHP Jairo Labourt

With Norris involved, I’d say the Tigers did a bit better for their rental than the Reds did for Johnny Cueto, even if I’d put Boyd and Labourt behind all three arms the Royals surrendered. It’s just the Norris is the best bet of the six. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have given themselves a much better shot at postseason success should they get there, though that’s still very much in doubt.

Astros acquire OF Carlos Gomez and RHP Mike Fiers from Brewers for OF Brett Phillips, OF Domingo Santana, LHP Josh Hader and RHP Adrian Houser

This is quite the hit to the Astros’ depth, but it’s a testament to their system that they could go get Gomez and Fiers without touching top arms like Vincent Velasquez, Mark Appel and Michael Feliz. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if Gomez’s can get back to where he was in 2013 and ’14 while perhaps dealing with a mysterious hip condition that wrecked the deal sending him to the Mets. Even if he just carries on his 2015 level of performance, he’s an upgrade over Jake Marisnick at a modest price through 2016. Fiers is making the minimum this year and next, and he won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2019. His upside would seem to be rather limited despite his strong strikeout rate, but he’s a nice asset at a bargain price. The Astros will likely send Scott Feldman to the pen to make room for him.

For the Brewers, this is quite a shift from the Zack Wheeler-Wilmer Flores deal that would have given them two ready pieces for 2016. It’s also interesting that they apparently didn’t ask for Marisnick, who could have taken over for Gomez in center. Of the four players they got back, only Santana is ready to contribute. He’s a high-risk, high-reward right fielder with a huge strikeout rate. Phillips and Hader are better long-term prospects. Phillips will hit for average and modest power and play a solid center field when he’s ready in 2017. Hader’s slight build has long had him looked at as an injury risk, but he’ll be nasty if his command and changeup come along. Houser might be a fourth or fifth starter if things break right.

Dodgers acquire LHP Alex Wood, 2B-OF Jose Peraza, RHP Jim Johnson, LHP Luis Avilan and RHP Bronson Arroyo from Braves and RHP Mat Latos and 1B-OF Mike Morse from Marlins; Braves acquire INF Hector Olivera, LHP Paco Rodriguez and RHP Zach Bird from Dodgers and competitive balance draft pick from Marlins; Marlins acquire RHP Jeff Brigham, RHP Victor Araujo and RHP Kevin Guzman from Dodgers

A whopper of a deal, this seems hugely skewed in the Dodgers’ favor, mostly because they’re eating about $40 million in Olivera’s signing bonus and the salaries of Morse and Arroyo to make it happen. This could be a huge blow to the Braves’ future if Olivera doesn’t work out. Wood is just 24, and he has a 3.10 ERA and a 337/108 K/BB ratio in 369 innings as a major leaguer. Peraza figures to turn into at least an average regular at second and maybe something more. Olivera offers a middle-of-the-order bat, but there are questions about his health and long-term position.

For Marlins fans, this should just be another bummer. None of the three prospects the Dodgers sent them would have rated in the top 20 in their system. Latos alone should have drawn a bigger return, but the Marlins were mostly interested in shedding Morse’s salary and even gave up a 2016 draft pick, likely to come in the 40-45 range, to make it happen. Landing that pick was a key to the Braves’ part of the deal.

Giants acquire RHP Mike Leake from the Reds for RHP Keury Mella and 1B-3B Adam Duvall

Leake is a perfectly solid starter, but do you want him starting postseason games? He has a career ERA+ of 100 and that’s with him benefiting from the Reds’ typical strong infield play; his career FIP of 4.17 is worse than his 3.87 ERA. He has been on quite the roll of late after a slow start, and he’s going from a good situation for pitchers to a great one. Still, he doesn’t really seem like a difference maker, especially for a Giants team seven deep in the rotation. Whether Leake is second, third, fourth or fifth best in that group is hard to tell. He’ll help, and he might prove necessary if Matt Cain fails to improve the further removed he gets from his injuries or Chris Heston hits the wall. Tim Hudson appears likely to exit to make room for him. It just seems like he would have helped other teams more.

The Reds did well here, considering that Leake is a free agent at season’s end. Mella has a terrific arm, one with more upside than any of the three the Reds got from the Royals for Cueto. Still, much could happen to it between now and his projected major league debut in late 2016 or 2017. Duvall has been one of the top power hitters in the minors, but he’s 26, he can’t really cut it at third and he’ll probably never hit for average in the majors. He needs to hope the Reds turn right around and trade Marlon Byrd or Jay Bruce. If that happens, he could take over in left field and hit several homers these next two months. But if it doesn’t materialize now, one wonders if he’ll ever get a chance.

Cardinals acquire 1B-OF Brandon Moss from Indians for LHP Rob Kaminsky

The Indians would much rather have been in position to buy than to sell this week, but at least they were able to flip Moss at a profit after giving up second baseman Joey Wendle to get him from the A’s in the offseason. Kaminsky, a 20-year-old southpaw with a 2.15 ERA in 217 innings as a minor leaguer, is a much more intriguing talent. He projects as a fine middle-of-the-rotation starter with continued good health. Moss gives the Cardinals a starter at first base or in left field against right-handers with Matt Adams and Matt Holliday out.

Pirates acquire RHP Joakim Soria from Tigers for SS JaCoby Jones

The Pirates didn’t really need the bullpen help, but there are some things major league teams can never have enough of. Soria, who had a 2.85 ERA as Detroit’s closer, can work the seventh and eighth innings in combination with Tony Watson, turning Jared Hughes into a big double-play weapon in the middle frames. It seems like a fine arrangement, and the price was right, since Jones didn’t fit into their plans. He’s not good enough defensively to stick at shortstop, and the Pirates weren’t ever likely to need him at his more natural position of center field. He’s probably not going to hit enough to make it as a regular anyway.

Yankees acquire 2B-OF Dustin Ackley from the Mariners for OF Ramon Flores and RHP Jose Ramirez

Ackley has picked it up some as a bench player these last two months after his dreadful start played a big role in the Mariners acquiring Mark Trumbo. Of particular interest here is that he’s hitting more flies and pulling the ball more frequently than usual, which could lead to homers in Yankee Stadium. While he’s the fifth outfielder right now, he’ll probably start getting worked out at second base some to give the Yankees an alternative to Stephen Drew.

As for the Mariners, well, they probably weren’t going to want to pay Ackley $3 million to be a spare part next year anyway. Flores has an Ackley-like bat as a corner outfielder. He’s hit .286/.377/.417 as a 23-year-old in Triple-A this year. Ramirez is a fringy middle reliever.

July 29

Rangers acquire LHP Cole Hamels, LHP Jake Diekman and cash from the Phillies for C Jorge Alfaro, RHP Jake Thompson, OF Nick Williams, RHP Alec Asher, RHP Jerad Eickhoff and LHP Matt Harrison

By taking on the whopping $33 million owed to Harrison and swallowing a further $9.5 million of Hamels’ salary, the Phillies were able to get three premium prospects here in Alfaro, Thompson and Williams, plus a decent fourth piece in Asher. It’s a fine return, even if there’s no slam dunk prospect in the deal. Alfaro should turn out to be a quality starting catcher, if not a star. Thompson has No. 2 starter upside. Williams has his detractors, but he offers the ability to hit for average and power. Most importantly, he’s gone from posting 140/22 and 117/19 K/BB ratios the last two years to a more reasonable 77/32 in 97 games this season.

Fortunately for the Rangers, they don’t have to win this year for this to pay off, though they’ve given themselves a chance to stay in the wild card race. Hamels should be a force for years to come, and it’ll be exciting to see him paired with Yu Darvish atop the rotation next year. Diekman isn’t exactly chopped liver, either. He’s one of the game’s hardest throwing left-handed relievers, and while that hasn’t resulted in good numbers this year, he could still take a step forward as a setup man. The 28-year-old has 225 strikeouts (and 95 walks) in 173 1/3 innings as a major leaguer, and he won’t be a free agent until after 2018.

Pirates acquire RHP Joe Blanton from Royals for cash considerations

July 28

Royals acquire INF-OF Ben Zobrist from the Athletics for LHP Sean Manaea and RHP Aaron Brooks

Nationals acquire RHP Jonathan Papelbon and cash from Phillies for RHP Nick Pivetta

Angels acquire OF David Murphy from Indians for SS Eric Stamets

Angels acquire OF David DeJesus from Rays for RHP Eduar Lopez

July 27

Blue Jays acquire SS Troy Tulowitzki and RHP LaTroy Hawkins from the Rockies for SS Jose Reyes, RHP Jeff Hoffman, RHP Miguel Castro and RHP Jesus Tinoco

Mets acquire RHP Tyler Clippard and cash from the Athletics for RHP Casey Meisner

Angels acquire OF Shane Victorino and cash from the Red Sox for INF Josh Rutledge

July 26

Royals acquire RHP Johnny Cueto from the Reds for LHP Brandon Finnegan, LHP John Lamb and LHP Cody Reed

July 24

Mets acquire 3B Juan Uribe, INF-OF Kelly Johnson and cash from the Braves for RHP John Gant and RHP Robert Whelan

Cardinals acquire RHP Steve Cishek from the Marlins for RHP Kyle Barraclough

Angels acquire 3B Conor Gillaspie from the White Sox for cash considerations

July 23

Astros acquire LHP Scott Kazmir from the Athletics for C Jake Nottingham and RHP Daniel Mangden

Pirates acquire 3B Aramis Ramirez and cash from the Brewers for RHP Yhonathan Barrios

Twins trade for Rays reliever Kevin Jepsen

Kevin Jepsen Rays

Bullpen help has been an obvious need for Minnesota and the Twins finally addressed it, acquiring right-hander Kevin Jepsen from the Rays in exchange for minor leaguers Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia.

Jepsen throws in the mid-90s, but his strikeout rates have generally been underwhelming for a late-inning reliever and his control is poor. This season he has a nice-looking 2.81 ERA, but it comes with a sub par 34/20 K/BB ratio in 42 innings.

For his career, spanning parts of eight seasons for the Angels and Rays, he has a 3.80 ERA with 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.6 walks per nine innings while holding opponents to a .252 batting average.

Jepsen is a decent enough bullpen arm and should be at least a slight upgrade over the right-handed setup men the Twins have used for most of the year in Blaine Boyer and Casey Fien, but that’s a pretty low bar to clear. He’s making $3 million this season and is under team control for 2016 via arbitration, with a likely cost of at least $5 million.

Hu is a Single-A right-hander with good results and mediocre raw stuff, ranking among the team’s top 20 prospects coming into the season and improving his stock since then. Tapia is a 19-year-old rookie-ball starter signed out of Venezuela and hasn’t really emerged on the prospect radar much yet.

2015 Preview: Tampa Bay Rays

Kevin Cash

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Tampa Bay Rays

The Big Question: Is the party over?

The party I refer to is the seven-season party in which the Rays were competitive. Or maybe just six, as they only won 77 games last year. But perceptions and expectations matter, right? People thought they’d contend last year. When the season started there was hope. This, in contrast, to the feeling Devil Rays fans had between 1998 and 2007. What I’m really asking is if, for the first time since the Rays took control of the AL East midway through the 2008 season, do their fans lack any basis of hope? Has the club that Andrew Friedman built and Joe Maddon managed ceased to be and are the Rays back out in the wilderness in which they roamed back when they had neon stingrays on their uniforms?

Hard to say. But we can say that the departure of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman should not, in and of itself, cause Rays fans to despair. Kevin Cash is a rookie manager, but he comes from a good pedigree, having been mentored by Terry Francona for the past few years. Matt Silverman may not be a household name, but he served in the same front office as Friedman for quite a long time. It’s not like the wheel which rolled the Rays into contention is being totally rebuilt. In some ways it’s the same plan as before — look for bargains, trade a guy earlier rather than too late and hope that the pitching comes through — just with fresh faces implementing them. It’s not like they went out and hired Dusty Baker and Jim Hendry here.

But, on the talent side, well . . . it’s gonna be rough for the Rays to convince people, like they’ve convinced us so often in the past that, with a little luck, they can be in the thick of the AL East race. Even a generally down AL East. Their big offseason pickup: Asdrubal Cabrera, who will be a defensive liability at short. Second base looks like the witness protection program. They upgraded at DH with John Jaso, and he’ll be a positive contributor if he doesn’t have to catch. They lost Ben Zobrist who was probably their best offensive performer last year. This from a team which already had the worst offense in the American League.

Good outfield defense, some live bullpen arms and a shot at a good rotation (see below) is nice, but it’s not enough. The Rays look to be in the middle of a transition period, and shouldn’t be expected to contend.

What else is going on?

  • Offense is the real question here, but are there answers? Eh, maybe. I mean, it’s not hopeless. Evan Longoria hit a mere .253/.320/.404 last season. He’s better than that. Desmond Jennings has long been thought to have the potential to be an offensive star. He’s 28 now and hopes for sustained stardom are probably gone, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see him have one or two spike years around now. A big x-factor is Steven Souza, who has raked in the minors in the past. Jaso can hit. James Loney has come back to life and died again a few times in his career. It’s not a lot to build on outside of Longoria — and it may be wishcasting to even hope for half of that stuff to break right — but I suppose it’s not nothing.
  • The rotation could be a strength, at least if you’re an optimist. Matt Moore, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, and Jake Odorizzi figure to be a solid rotation at some point this season, but it’s nowhere near a lock that they’ll all be together at once at any time. Moore, of course, is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and could be back by July. But Cobb and Smyly have had health problems this spring. Alex Colome is supposed to be there until Moore arrives, but his spring has been interrupted with pneumonia. Unlike in the past where the Rays had a “next-man-up” feel to their starting pitching, there isn’t a ton of depth to make up for injured starters anymore.
  • I mentioned Jaso catching above. He’s not likely to do a lot of that due to the pickup of Rene Rivera. Rivera has had only 673 plate appearances across six seasons as he backed up in San Diego, Minnesota and Seattle while shutting to and from the minors. He’s been knocking around forever, but he’s supposed to be an amazing defensive catcher, though. And he even hit a decent amount last year in San Diego, where he saw his most consistent playing time as a big leaguer. Could be an interesting dude.
  • The bullpen should be serviceable. The closer and setup men, some of whom may be interchangeable if Kevin Cash wants to play the hot hand, look to be Jake McGee, Grant Balfour, Brad Boxberger and Kevin Jepsen. McGee had elbow surgery this offseason and will hopefully return in the season’s first month. Jim Miller and Ernesto Frieri are knocking around. Each are projects who pitched well once but then sort of melted down. The Rays could try to rehab and flip them. Heck, they may be flipping a lot. I bet Asdrubal Cabrera is on the block by June. Like I said: team in transition.

Prediction: I can envision a path to the division title for every team in the AL East except for the Tampa Bay Rays. They are rebuilding in their own particular Tampa Bay Rays way in which the Rays are always kinda rebuilding, but there are far fewer usable parts here. I think that amounts to Fifth Place, American League East.

Jake McGee to throw off mound for first time Tuesday

jake mcgee getty
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Rays closer Jake McGee told Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune on Sunday that he is planning to throw his first bullpen session of the spring on Tuesday — probably a 20- or 25-pitch workout of all fastballs. It will be his first time throwing off a mound since December arthroscopic elbow surgery.

Assuming no setbacks, McGee is on track to join the Rays’ bullpen in late April or early May. Brad Boxberger and Kevin Jepsen figure to handle the ninth inning in the meantime.

McGee, 28, posted a lights-out 1.89 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, and 90/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 frames last season for a 77-85 Rays team. The left-hander boasts an 11.0 career K/9.