The 31-year-old Conley pitched effectively for a dominant Rays team after signing a surprise minor league deal in May. The jarring nature of Conley’s contract with the Rays came after he backed out of a deal with NPB’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, citing pandemic-related concerns.
For all the tumult of the reliever’s offseason though, the effects weren’t particular pronounced on his bottom-line results. Conley pitched to a 2.29 ERA across 19+ innings for Tampa Bay, albeit with less shiny peripherals and minor league numbers (4.35 ERA in 31 Triple-A innings). Some good BABIP fortune largely explains the hurler’s pristine ERA, but even when factoring that in his ability to limit walks and avoid hard contact were definite pluses. Another team will likely sign Conley to a low-risk deal to serve as depth in the coming months, perhaps eyeing a bit of upside if his effectiveness in this year’s small sample size proves sustainable.