7:12pm: Tampa Bay has announced the deal.
5:49pm: The Rays have agreed to a big league contract with reliever Chris Devenski, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). He’d apparently been released by the Angels after being designated for assignment last week. The Rays are placing him on the bereavement list, so he won’t report to the MLB club for a few days. Tampa Bay already had an open 40-man roster spot after outrighting Francisco Mejía.
Devenski signed a non-roster pact with the Halos last offseason. Los Angeles selected his contract in late April and had kept him in the MLB bullpen for the bulk of the year. The right-hander logged 33 2/3 innings over 29 appearances. His 5.08 ERA isn’t particularly eye-catching, but his underlying marks were all fairly solid.
The changeup specialist has struck out a league average 23.6% of batters faced while picking up whiffs on 11.9% of his offerings. He has kept his walks to a modest 6.4% clip and kept the ball on the ground at a 46.3% rate. Devenski’s fastball has sat north of 94 MPH, while he’s handling hitters from both sides of the plate. The primary driver in his middling ERA is a 61.8% strand rate that is well below the league mark.
Tampa Bay feels comfortable enough with Devenski’s peripherals to install him into the middle innings. He can’t be optioned to the minor leagues, so he’ll be in the MLB bullpen once he’s ready to join the club. There’s no financial risk, as the Rays will only pay him the prorated portion of the $720K league minimum for the stretch run before he returns to free agency at year’s end. Devenski will be eligible for postseason play since he’s in the organization before September 1, though he’s not a lock to secure a spot on the Rays’ playoff rosters.