Armstrong, a 30-year-old righty, was thought to be a saves candidate for the Orioles back in March. However, he started his season with trips to the paternity and COVID-19 list. After that Armstrong struggled mightily, with an 8.55 ERA in 20 innings – including five home runs allowed. By June Armstrong was designated for assignment by Baltimore, clearing waivers and joining Triple-A Norfolk. Armstrong spoke to Kubatko about his tumultuous start to the season, a good reminder of the human side of the game. Things went better for Armstrong in his 17 innings there, as he posted a 3.18 ERA with a 26.6% strikeout rate and 7.6% walk rate.
The Rays would need to add Armstrong to their 40-man roster to deploy him in their big league bullpen, which has endured significant turnover this year. Pete Fairbanks has seen the highest-leverage work this month, but he just hit the IL yesterday for shoulder inflammation. Collin McHugh went on the IL recently as well. Also yesterday, Diego Castillo was sent to the Mariners, with JT Chargois joining the Rays. Matt Wisler, acquired in June, has played a prominent role this month. And Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen were acquired from the Brewers back in the May Willy Adames deal. Nick Anderson, one of the club’s top relievers from last year, is currently on a minor league rehab assignment.
If the Rays do put Armstrong on their 40-man roster, they’ll retain control of him as an arbitration eligible player, since he entered the season with just over three years of MLB service time.