A former first-round pick and top pitching prospect himself, Gilmartin had a strong rookie campaign with the Mets as a Rule 5 pick back in 2015 but hasn’t found much success in the big leagues since. He logged just 4 1/3 frames with Tampa Bay this season, yielding four runs on seven hits and four walks with five strikeouts. Since that sharp rookie season, Gilmartin has a combined 6.09 ERA in 54 2/3 innings. He did notch a 3.95 ERA through 66 innings in an extremely hitter-friendly Triple-A setting last year, though Gilmartin carries a more pedestrian 4.93 mark in 486 frames at that level. He’ll be a minor league free agent at season’s end, assuming no other club claims him.
The 29-year-old Zunino competes for the starting catcher job when healthy, but he’s been out for almost a month now with a left oblique strain. Over the first 23 games, Zunino slashed .133/.235/.383, a more extreme but not uncharacteristic iteration of his career line: .200/.270/.394. He’s long been considered a boom-or-bust option at the plate, but it’s now his third consecutive season with a wRC+ south of 100 (69 wRC+ in 2020). What’s worse, he hasn’t posted particularly strong defensive numbers of late. He finished last season ranked 35th in Statcast’s catcher framing metrics and tied for 14th in poptime. The Rays hold a $4.5MM option on Zunino for 2021.
Zunino will compete with Michael Perez and Kevan Smith for time behind the plate. Perez has received the most time behind the plate this season, but like Zunino, he has struggled at the plate. The 28-year-old has a 39 wRC+ and a triple slash of .177/.241/.252. Smith has been the best offensive option of the bunch, slashing .273/.429/.500 while generating 0.3 fWAR. Still, the Rays seem to prefer Zunino or Perez behind the plate.
Gilmartin has bounced around the league since an exceptional 50-game stretch to start his career with the Mets in 2015. He posted a 2.67 ERA/2.75 FIP that season with 3.00 K/BB, but in the five seasons since, he’s put up a 6.09 ERA/6.71 FIP across 54 2/3 innings for the Mets, Orioles, and Rays. After spending the past two seasons in Baltimore, Gilmartin, 30, joined the Rays this year but has made just 2 appearances on the season.
The Rays announced that they’ve placed outfielder Austin Meadows on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 2 left oblique strain. The club selected left-hander Sean Gilmartin and moved fellow southpaw Cody Reed to the 45-day IL in corresponding moves.
We may have seen the last of Meadows in 2020 because of this injury, as oblique strains have been known to keep players out for several weeks. If so, it will end a disappointing campaign for Meadows, who earned an All-Star berth a year ago but hasn’t been able to continue his momentum in 2020.
Meadows began this season on the COVID-19 injured list and has batted .205/.296/.371 with four home runs and 50 strikeouts in 152 plate appearances since he debuted Aug. 4. Meadows has primarily played left field, but the deep and talented Rays have at least a few other – including Yoshi Tsutsugo, Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot – capable of lining up in the corner outfield.
As for Gilmartin and Reed, the former has yo-yoed between the Rays’ roster and their alternate site on multiple occasions this season. Gilmartin has thrown 4 1/3 innings of four-run ball thus far in 2020. Reed, whom the Rays acquired from the Reds on Aug. 28, tossed 2 2/3 scoreless frames for Tampa Bay before it placed him on the 10-day IL on Sept. 10 with a left pinky issue.
Checking in on the latest minor moves from around baseball…
- The Phillies announced that they’ve outrighted reliever Deolis Guerra. The 31-year-old righty had been in limbo since the Phillies designated him for assignment last Saturday. Guerra threw 7 1/3 innings and allowed nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits, two walks and eight strikeouts from Philly’s bullpen this season before the club booted him from its roster. In all, Guerra has combined for 103 major league frames with a few teams and put up a 4.81 ERA/4.78 FIP with 7.25 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
- The Giants have added first baseman/outfielder Chris Shaw to their 60-man player pool, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. Shaw was a 2015 first-round pick (No. 31) who spent the subsequent few seasons as one of the Giants’ top prospects, but the 26-year-old hasn’t made a mark in the big leagues yet. Across 82 plate appearances at the game’s highest level, Shaw has batted .153/.244/.222 with one home run. But Shaw did enjoy a productive 2019 between Double-A and Triple-A, where he combined for a .294/.360/.559 line and 28 homers in 492 trips to the plate.
- The Marlins have outrighted catcher Ryan Lavarnway to their alternate site, per a team announcement. Lavarnway got off to a 4-for-11 start at the plate this year, but the Marlins designated him for assignment last week to make room for the return of starting backstop Jorge Alfaro from the injured list. The 33-year-old Lavarnway has now seen regular-season action with seven teams since his career began in 2011.
- The Brewers announced that left-hander Aaron Ashby is now part of their player pool. Ashby, a 2018 fourth-rounder, posted a 3.50 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 126 innings between Single-A and High-A last season. FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen ranks Ashby as the fifth-best prospect in Milwaukee’s system, writing that the 22-year-old has “nasty” stuff that could work out of the team’s rotation or bullpen down the line.
- The Rays have outrighted southpaw Sean Gilmartin, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. This is the second time this year the Rays have outrighted Gilmartin, who will head back to their alternate site. He has thrown 4 1/3 innings of four-earned run ball this season with seven hits and four walks (five strikeouts).
AUGUST 23: The Rays have selected Fleming’s contract, putting him in line to start today’s game against the Blue Jays, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com (Twitter link). Tampa designated left-hander Sean Gilmartin for assignment to clear space on the 40-man roster.
AUGUST 21: The Rays will select the contract of lefty Josh Fleming from their alternate training site this weekend, manager Kevin Cash announced to reporters (Twitter link via Rays pregame/postgame host Neil Solondz). He’ll start Sunday’s game for Tampa Bay. A Saturday starter hasn’t been named, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Charlie Morton won’t return this weekend.
Fleming will step into the void left by the injury to Yonny Chirinos, who’ll be out until the 2022 season due to a UCL tear that requires Tommy John surgery. The Rays will need to open a 40-man spot for Fleming, but that can be achieved by placing Chirinos on the 45-day injured list.
The 24-year-old Fleming was a rare draftee from a Division-III program — a fifth-round pick by the Rays out of Webster University in St. Louis back in 2017. He’s cruised through the minors, pitching to a combined 3.40 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate north of 50 percent. He’s not considered to be among the organization’s top prospects, although that’s in part a testament to the deep and excellent farm that has been put together by the Tampa Bay front office. MLB.com lists Fleming 29th among Rays farmhands, calling him a potential back-end starter with an above-average slider, plus command but some struggles against righties. FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen pegs Fleming as a future big league reliever.
The Rays announced that they’ve outrighted left-hander Sean Gilmartin to their alternate training site. He’ll stay in the organization as part of the Rays’ 60-man player pool.
Gilmartin, whom the Rays signed to a minor league contract over the winter, spent a very short period on their roster before they booted him. The club selected Gilmartin’s contract Aug. 7, but it designated him for assignment after he allowed three earned runs on five hits (four strikeouts, one walk) in 3 1/3 innings during a loss to the Yankees on the 8th.
Prior to joining the Rays, Gilmartin saw major league action with the Mets and Orioles from 2015-19. The 30-year-old has recorded a 4.30 ERA/4.63 FIP with 7.22 K/9, 3.24 BB/9 and a 45.4 percent groundball rate across 111 innings.
The Rays announced several roster moves this morning (MLB.com’s Juan Toribio was among those to tweet the full list), including the news that Manuel Margot has been activated from the COVID-19 injury list. The club also selected the contract of right-hander John Curtiss from its alternate training camp, and also called righty Ryan Thompson back up to the MLB roster. To create room, Oliver Drake has been placed on the 10-day injured list with right biceps tendinitis, while left-hander Sean Gilmartin and catcher Kevan Smith have been designated for assignment.
Margot’s placement on the COVID list as a matter of procedure, as he was away from the club for personal reasons and had to undergo mandatory intake screening upon returning. Thompson is also “back” with the team in pretty short order, as he started yesterday’s game against the Yankees and was then optioned to the minor league training grounds. Continuing the trend of rapid-fire Rays transactions, Gilmartin’s contract was only selected two days ago, and he recorded one appearance of 3 1/3 innings (giving up three runs in an 8-4 loss to the Yankees in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader) before being sent into DFA limbo.
Smith was also a pretty new entry to the roster, as the Rays selected his contract back on July 30. Manager Kevin Cash told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that the Rays would ideally like to retain both Gilmartin and Smith if they aren’t claimed on waivers by another team.
Drake pitched the final inning of the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader, and now has a 3.38 ERA in 5 1/3 innings this season. The well-traveled Drake has seemingly found some stability in Tampa Bay, with a 3.23 ERA, 3.36 K/BB rate, and 10.9 K/9 over 61 1/3 relief innings since the Rays acquired him prior to the 2019 season.
Curtiss signed a minor league deal with Tampa during the offseason and is now on pace to appear in his fourth big league season. The right-hander has a 6.75 ERA over 17 1/3 career innings scattered across the 2017-19 seasons, as a member of the Twins and Angels. Curtiss was also briefly in the Phillies organization last season but didn’t receive any MLB playing time.
The Rays announced Friday that they’ve placed lefty Jose Alvarado on the paternity list and selected the contract of fellow left-hander Sean Gilmartin from their alternate training site. A 40-man roster spot was opened by reinstating outfielder Manuel Margot from the bereavement list and placing him on the Covid-19-related injured list so that he can undergo mandatory intake testing. It should be noted that there’s no indication of a positive test or any symptoms for Margot; this is merely standard protocol after Margot left the team earlier this week following the death of his father.
Gilmartin, 30, has pitched in the big leagues in each of the past five seasons — albeit just 2 1/3 frames with the Orioles in 2019. The Braves selected him with the No. 28 pick back in 2011, and he’s since bounced around the league in a series of trades, a Rule 5 pick and waiver claims.
Back in 2015, the Mets looked wise to have plucked Gilmartin out of the Twins organization in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. He stuck with the club all season and gave the Mets 57 2/3 innings of 2.67 ERA ball with a strong 54-to-18 K/BB ratio and just two home runs allowed. Outside of that rookie season, however, success in the Majors has been hard to come by.
In the four years since that time, Gilmartin has pitched to a combined 5.90 ERA and 6.46 FIP, averaging just 5.5 strikeouts and 3.8 walks per nine innings pitched. Gilmartin’s home-run and walk rates have ballooned as his strikeout rate has dipped. He’ll hope to reverse those trends with the Rays, but it’s also possible that his stay with the club will be rather abbreviated, as Alvarado should return to the Rays in just a few days.
The Rays have signed left-hander Sean Gilmartin to a minor league contract, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Gilmartin’s deal contains an invitation to the Rays’ big league spring camp.
Gilmartin only pitched 2 1/3 MLB innings last season, completing his two-season tenure in Baltimore with a 4.30 ERA, 4.9 K/9, and 4.0 BB/9 over 29 1/3 total frames. After an impressive rookie season with the Mets in 2015, Gilmartin has only tossed 50 1/3 total innings at the Major League level, pitching for New York and Baltimore while also having a brief stint in the Cardinals’ farm system.
The 28th overall pick of the 2011 amateur draft, Gilmartin has yet to make much of an impact in the Show, though he has held left-handed batters to a .251/.312/.339 slash line over the small sample size of 200 plate appearances. The Rays can use Spring Training a chance to evaluate the 29-year-old and see if he might yet be a candidate for their bullpen, or at least be for Triple-A depth given how the Rays like to shuffle relievers up and down from the minors.
Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.
We already rounded up the position players. Now, here are the pitchers that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):
- Austin Adams, RHP, Tigers
- Michael Blazek, RHP, Nationals
- David Carpenter, RHP, Rangers
- Rookie Davis, RHP, Pirates
- Odrisamer Despaigne, RHP, White Sox
- Ryan Feierabend, LHP, Blue Jays
- Brian Flynn, LHP, Royals
- Ryan Garton, RHP, Mariners
- Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Orioles
- Matt Grace, LHP, Nationals
- Deolis Guerra, RHP, Brewers (since re-signed)
- David Hale, RHP, Yankees
- Kazuhisa Makita, RHP, Padres
- Justin Miller, RHP, Nationals
- Juan Minaya, RHP, White Sox
- Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Padres
- Hector Noesi, RHP, Marlins
- Tim Peterson, RHP, Mets
- Brooks Pounders, RHP, Mets
- JC Ramirez, RHP, Angels
- Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Red Sox
- Zac Rosscup, LHP, Cardinals
- Chris Rusin, LHP, ROckies
- Fernando Salas, RHP, Phillies
- Brian Schlitter, RHP, Athletics
- Chasen Shreve, LHP, Cardinals
- Aaron Slegers, RHP, Rays
- Josh Smith, RHP, Red Sox
- Dan Straily, RHP, Phillies
- Pat Venditte, SHP, Giants
- Dan Winkler, RHP, Giants
- Mike Wright, RHP, Mariners