Today the Rays added another reliever to the mix for their rebuilt bullpen, claimining right-hander Rob Delaney off waivers from the Twins.
Minnesota designated Delaney for assignment earlier this week to make room on the 40-man roster for left-hander Dusty Hughes, who’s older and has a significantly less impressive minor-league track record, but did spend most of last season in Kansas City’s bullpen.
Delaney has pitched well in two seasons at Triple-A with a 130/38 K/BB ratio in 128 innings, but his ERA there is an unremarkable 4.65 thanks to serving up 17 long balls. As a fly-ball pitcher with so-so raw stuff Delaney has little room for error and having only a cup of coffee in the majors at age 26 shows that the Twins viewed him skeptically.
However, he’s racked up lots of strikeouts with a repertoire headed by a low-90s fastball and has very good control with just 1.9 walks per nine innings. His upside is likely middle reliever and flopping is very possible, but he’s capable of being a solid contributor and he should get a legitimate opportunity in Tampa Bay.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.