Teams are quickly cleaning house this time of year, and the Rays vacated several roster spots over the past weekend, outrighting outfielder Jaff Decker, left-hander Justin Marks and infielder Juniel Querecuto off the 40-man roster this weekend, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Decker has elected free agency, per Topkin (Twitter link), and the other pair has the right to do so as well. Dana Eveland, too, was outrighted and elected free agency, as noted by Topkin yesterday.
Decker, 26 (27 in February), received the most big league time of the bunch but didn’t exactly excel in his brief time with the Rays. In 57 plate appearances, the former No. 42 overall draft pick batted .154/.211/.173. It’s been more than five years since Decker was considered a Top 100 prospect, but he does have a solid line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level, where he’s batted .266/.368/.409 with 31 homers in 1506 plate appearances. He’ll likely land elsewhere on a minor league deal this winter and hope to compete for an opportunity to prove himself in the Majors, where he’s managed just a .477 OPS in 129 PAs.
Marks, meanwhile, returned to the Majors for the first time since 2014 this past year and tossed nine innings for the Rays while allowing only one run. However, the 28-year-old (29 in January) also yielded seven hits and walked nine men against just six strikeouts in that time, exhibiting some obviously troubling issues with control. His Triple-A work was encouraging, though, as he pitched 140 innings with a 3.86 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 with a 44.7 percent ground-ball rate. Given the dearth of starting pitching talent available this winter, some team figures to look at that solid performance and consider him a possible depth piece.
Querecuto, 24, made his MLB debut this year when he tallied 11 plate appearances in late September and collected a triple for his first and only big league hit. The Venezuela native signed with Tampa Bay back in 2009 and spent this past year playing third base, second base and shortstop (listed in order of frequency) between Double-A and Triple-A, where he hit a combined .241/.298/.341 in 375 plate appearances.