The Braves have claimed right-hander Chase Whitley off waivers from the Rays, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (on Twitter). Whitley was arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and was projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $1MM.
Whitley, 28, tossed 57 1/3 innings this past season in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery. The righty made all 41 of his appearances with the Rays out of the bullpen after working as a starter throughout his minor league career and early on after his MLB debut with the Yankees. Whitley logged a 4.08 ERA with 6.8 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and a 32.8 percent ground-ball rate. He doesn’t throw hard, averaging just 90 mph with his heater, but he still missed more bats earlier in his career and in the minors, leaving the potential for a modest uptick in strikeouts with Atlanta. (A move to the NL, clearly, won’t hurt his chances in that regard.)
The Rays are facing somewhat of a payroll crunch due in no small part to an arbitration class that at one point contained a dozen players. They’ve pared that back some by waiving Whitley and trading former closer Brad Boxberger to the D-backs, but it’s still likely that we’ll see a few more moves out of Tampa Bay before tonight’s 8pm ET deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players.