The Rays announced Monday that they’ve designated right-hander Easton McGee for assignment and selected the contract of fellow righty Kevin Herget from Triple-A Durham (for the third time this season, in Herget’s case). Tampa Bay also optioned utilityman Miles Mastrobuoni to Durham and recalled fellow infielder/outfielder Vidal Brujan.
McGee, 24, was selected to the 40-man roster himself just this weekend and debuted with three shutout innings of relief on the road in Houston. That sharp debut is overshadowed by a tough Triple-A showing for the 2016 fourth-rounder so far in 2022, however. In 107 2/3 innings in Durham, McGee has pitched to an ugly 5.43 ERA with a terrific 4.3% walk rate but a well below-average 17.4% strikeout rate. He’s allowed an average of 2.01 homers per nine innings in the minors this season and carries a career 4.38 ERA in parts of six minor league seasons (including a 5.19 ERA in Triple-A). The Rays will place McGee on outright waivers or release waivers within the coming days.
Herget, meanwhile, heads back to the big leagues for the third time this season. The former Cardinals 39th-round pick went through a nearly decade-long grind to reach the big leagues earlier this summer and has pitched 2 2/3 MLB frames so far in 2022, allowing a pair of runs in that time. He’s been quite good in Durham, however, pitching to a 2.95 ERA with a 24.4% strikeout rate and a superb 3.9% walk rate through 97 2/3 innings. As was the case with McGee, he’ll give the Rays some potential length out of the bullpen.
Brujan’s first extended look in the Majors has been a struggle, to say the least. The longtime top prospect has exhausted his rookie eligibility this season, piling up 154 plate appearances but producing just a .165/.234/.245 batting line in that time. The switch-hitter, who’s ranked among Baseball America’s 100 best prospect for the past four years, has been an above-average hitter at every minor league stop and is enjoying another solid season in Triple-A, however. In 290 trips to the plate with Durham, he’s slashed .292/.369/.440 (118 wRC+).
This is Brujan’s final option season, so the Rays will need to carry him on the Major League roster next season. Even in spite of his big league struggles to date, there’s no way Brujan would make it through waivers, so he’ll either be an offseason trade candidate or be tasked with continuing his development on the fly and at the Major League level in 2023.