Sherriff, 28, was cut loose by the Cardinals late in the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Given that the procedure occurred in early June, it’s certainly possible — but by no means assured — that he’ll be ready to go at some point in the coming campaign.
While the Rays no doubt will hope that Sherriff’s left elbow responds to his rehab efforts in a timely manner, this agreement is surely aimed primarily at the future. The former 28th-round draft pick will remain controllable beyond the present campaign at the league minimum salary.
Sherriff had turned in an intriguing debut showing in 2017, when he threw 14 1/3 innings of 3.14 ERA ball. That was a short sample, to be sure, but he carried the hefty groundball numbers he had shown in the upper minors into the majors while getting some swings and misses (10.1% SwStr) and maintaining a strong 15:4 K/BB ratio.
Unfortunately, Sherriff hasn’t yet had the chance to test himself over a full campaign in the majors. He ended up struggling on the hill and only throwing ten total innings (split between the majors and Triple-A) in 2018, before ending his season on the operating table.