This is one of multiple transactions for the Rays, as Tampa also claimed catcher Deivy Grullon off waivers from the Mets, then optioned Grullon and the newly-acquired Drew Rasmussen to Triple-A. Right-hander Chris Mazza was also sent to Triple-A after being activated off the 10-day injured list. Left-hander Cody Reed was moved to the 60-day injured list to open up a 40-man roster spot.
With Willy Adames off to Milwaukee, the Rays addressed their shortstop vacancy not by calling up uber-prospect Wander Franco, but rather yet another well-regarded Tampa Bay farmhand in Walls. Defensively, Walls has long been big league-ready, as he is considered a plus defender at shortstop and “widely considered the best defensive player at any position in the Rays’ Minor League system,” as per MLB Pipeline’s scouting report. Walls has also stolen 66 bases (though in 99 attempts) during his minor league career and hit .327/.468/.490 over 62 Triple-A plate appearances this season.
This is the fifth time Grullon has been claimed off waivers since September 2020, and the second time Tampa Bay has claimed him in as many months. After initially taking Grullon from the Reds in early April, the catcher was again DFA’ed later in the month and claimed by the Mets. Through it all, Grullon has yet to appear in any Major League games in 2021, but he’ll now head to Triple-A as a depth option.
Shoulder inflammation cost Mazza just under a month of action. The righty posted an 8.49 ERA over his first 11 2/3 innings with the Rays, after being acquired from the Red Sox in the February trade that also brought Jeffrey Springs to Tampa.
Reed only went to the 10-day IL on Wednesday, marking the second time this season that Reed has been sidelined by a numbness/weakness issue in his left thumb. Manager Kevin Cash told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times and other reporters that Reed has yet to see a specialist about the problem, though it’s probably safe to assume that next step is coming soon. The left-hander has a 3.72 ERA over 9 2/3 relief innings for the Rays this season.