The Rays made a series of roster moves today, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Right-hander Taj Bradley and infielder Vidal Bruján have been optioned to the minors, making room for outfielder Jose Siri to be activated from the injured list and right-hander Heath Hembree to have his contract selected. A spot for Hembree on the 40-man was already opened when the club designated righty Hector Perez for assignment on the weekend. Topkin adds that Perez has now cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Durham.
Hembree, 34, has appeared in the past 10 MLB seasons and will make it 11 in a row as soon as he gets into a game. He had many good seasons for the Red Sox earlier in his career, racking up double-digit holds in 2017 and 2018, but he’s gone into journeyman mode more recently. Since the start of the 2020 season, he’s suited up for the Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Pirates and Dodgers. He registered a 6.64 ERA over those three seasons with an 11.1% walk rate but also struck out 27.3% of batters faced.
The Rays took a flier on him by signing him to a minor league deal in the offseason. He’s made eight appearances for the Bulls so far this year with a 1.29 ERA, though a 90.9% strand rate has surely helped him keep that down. He’s struck out 25% of batters faced thus far but walked 15.6%. He hasn’t been at his best over the past few years but the Rays have a knack for getting pitchers into peak form and will try to do that with Hembree.
The optioning of Bradley comes as a bit of a surprise because he’s been pitching well, registering a 3.52 ERA through three starts. Topkin and Kristie Ackert report that the move is more about transitioning him to the traditional five-day rotation of the majors, as he had previously been working on a six-day routine and the club didn’t want him to make the adjustment in the big leagues. Without Bradley, the Rays are down to a three-man rotation of Shane McClanahan, Zach Eflin and Drew Rasmussen. They are generally not afraid to do bullpen games, including multi-inning pitchers like Josh Fleming or Yonny Chirinos, though those guys could also make some traditional starts as well. Bradley will likely be back later in the season, once he’s properly made the workload switch.
Perez was selected to the roster on the weekend but designated for assignment a day later without getting into a game. That means his big league résumé still consists of just one game with the Blue Jays in 2020. Since he has a previous career outright, he had the right to reject another such move and elect free agency, but it seems he’ll stick with the Bulls and try to work his way back to the majors.
The Rays are not just beating bad teams now, the beat-down they put on a red hot Astros team yesterday was very impressive, as is their offense.
Yep. Astros got put in their place, yesterday.
Fever Pitch Guy
mlb – I wish they had selected Hembree before they played the 4-game series against the Bosox.
Sox might have won a game or two!
They knew better.
Every team ends up playing the same amount of bad teams in any given season.
Not true. AL East teams still need to play each other 13 times this season. AL East is the toughest division in baseball so the Rays are actually at a disadvantage there, along with the 4 other teams.
The AL Central is the place to be with 13 games vs. KC, DET & CWS. Minnesota & Cleveland should feast on that.
It all evens out. Especially this season when MLB reduced division games (2022 AL east everyone played each other 19 times) to 13 games.
Getting back another bat who was red hot to start the year and helping strengthen the outfield D
The Bradley move looks like service time manipulation. His first three starts indicate he is ready for the rotation. Making the argument that Fleming or Chorinos are better options is ridiculous. For all the feel goods of the Rays start, crap like this should remind baseball fans just how cheap and bare bones they are.
You’re.. not wrong.
Oliver Stone on line 1.
The Rays didn’t make the argument that Fleming or Chirinos are better options. He has never pitched in a tradtional five day rotation and controlling his innings makes good sense in April especially when the Rays are 20-3. The most innings he’s ever pitched in a season is 133. Here’s hoping he’s still healthy later in the season.
Good points that require reading comprehension. For some on here–such as Milo–it’s about criticism and grumpiness. Can’t give credit. All about the narrative, not the truth. I pity the person.
Here I was hoping that Bradley would slip into the rotation until Glas returned. Now what? Two bullpen days per rotation turn?
Cheap and bare bones, perhaps. Wildly effective at what they do and how they do it, definitely.
GOAT Closer Esteban Yan
As a Rays fan, I agree and am very disappointed. He is the obvious better choice over Flemming or Chorinos. If the Houston game didn’t prove he is ready, then I don’t know what will.
The Rays value having flexibility in their pitching staff from game to game. Glasnow is about 2 to 4 weeks away from his oblique injury.
Had ERA of 7.36 in 21 MLB innings last season, watch w/Rays n there P resurrection program (aka hypnotism) he’ll be lights out
Good for him, hope he does well.
I thought Heath Hembree retired a few years ago.
Pirates fans wish he had.
So thankful he’s alive! Had crossed him off the list.
Wasn’t he on the ‘86 Red Sox?