FEB. 19: Webb can earn up to $500K worth of incentives based on appearances, Topkin reports (Twitter link).
FEB. 18: The Rays announced to the media today that they have signed right-hander Ryan Webb to a one-year deal, via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link) and Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribine (Twitter link). Topkin tweets that Webb is guaranteed $1MM and can earn more via incentives. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, right-hander Chase Whitley was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Whitley is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The 30-year-old Webb, a client of the Wasserman Media Group, spent the bulk of 2015 with the Indians, logging a 3.20 ERA with 5.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 59.2 percent ground-ball rate in 50 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. Webb was the subject of some rather unique roster shuffling with the Orioles and Dodgers, in which the Dodgers took on the entirety of Webb’s remaining $2.75MM salary in a four-player trade that also netted L.A. a Competitive Balance Draft Pick. The Dodgers outrighted Webb immediately, and Webb, as a player with five-plus years of service time, was able to reject the assignment and still be guaranteed the entirety of his salary. As such, the Dodgers effectively purchased a draft pick from Baltimore through that transaction (as MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth examined in greater depth at the time).
Despite that curious situation, Webb has been a largely effective reliever over his six years in the Majors. While he doesn’t miss many bats (career 6.2 K/9), Webb has a career 3.35 ERA with reasonable control (2.9 BB/9) and an excellent 56.5 percent ground-ball rate. He’s endured just one stint on the disabled list since debuting in 2009 — a six-week stay for inflammation in his right shoulder back in 2011. Webb hasn’t missed any time since that apparently minor injury, however, and has been a durable arm out of the ’pen, averaging 55 appearances/58 innings per season from 2010-15 with the Padres, Marlins, Orioles and Indians.
The Rays certainly have room to add a useful arm like Webb to the relief corps, as the team traded Kevin Jepsen to the Twins last July, traded Jake McGee to the Rockies just last month and outrighted Brandon Gomes off the 40-man roster following the season. That trio accounted for 138 innings of relief for the Rays last season, and Webb will absorb a fair portion of that workload.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.