The Rays will release left-handed reliever Dan Jennings, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. In doing so, they’ll pay one-fourth of Jennings’ $2.375MM salary (~$584K), a non-guaranteed arbitration award.
The Rays finished slightly below .500 last year (80-82), but they were in the playoff hunt in July, which led them to trade first base prospect Casey Gillaspie to the White Sox for Jennings. Despite both that decision and Jennings’ productive career to this point, he wasn’t able to earn a spot in Tampa Bay this season. The Jennings-less Rays will go forward with Jose Alvarado and Ryan Yarbrough as the only lefty relievers on their 40-man roster.
Jennings, who will turn 31 next month, debuted with Miami in 2012 and has since thrown a combined 279 2/3 innings of 2.90 ERA ball with the Marlins, White Sox and Rays. While Jennings’ strikeout and walk rates haven’t been pretty (7.31 K/9, 4.09 BB/9), he has managed to induce ground balls at a 55.2 percent clip. And since 2015, Jennings has been among the game’s most effective relievers at generating infield pop-ups, having done so at a 15.8 percent rate – good for 15th in the league. Adding to his appeal, Jennings has been roughly as effective against both right- and left-handed hitters. He has a small reverse platoon split, in fact, as lefties have posted a .690 OPS against him and righties have logged a .687 mark.