Tag: Tampa Bay Rays

Carlos Vargas, Ryan Yarbrough to Rays: Latest Trade Details and Scouting Report

The Tampa Bay Rays took steps to stockpile talent in their farm system starting next season by trading starting pitcher Drew Smyly to the Seattle Mariners

Per the Rays’ official Twitter account, they received outfielder Mallex Smith and minor leaguers Carlos Vargas and Ryan Yarbrough to send Smyly to Seattle. 

Smith made his major league debut last season with the Atlanta Braves. He hit .238/.316/.365 in 72 games and was a terrific defender with seven runs saved between left field and center field in 451 innings, per FanGraphs.

Matthew Pouliot of Rotoworld noted similarities between Smith and one of his now-former teammates with the Braves:

Vargas and Yarbrough are still working their way through the minors, with the latter being closer to the big leagues and the more highly regarded prospect. 

Yarbrough is a 25-year-old left-handed pitcher who spent last season at Double-A. He posted a 2.95 ERA with 99 strikeouts and 31 walks in 128.1 innings. 

Per J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, Yarbrough was going to rank No. 12 on the Mariners’ prospect list due to be released in the coming weeks. 

Per MLB.com, Yarbrough will rank as Tampa Bay’s No. 16 prospect with this evaluation:

Yarbrough has thrown harder as a professional than he did in college, as he’ll sit at 91-93 and occasionally bump the mid-90s, all while throwing strikes and working on a downhill plane. His changeup is his best secondary offering, thrown with excellent deception from his three-quarters delivery, and it complements his action on his fastball. The left-hander’s breaking ball is slurvy and tends to linger up in the zone, though he still has the ability to throw it for a strike. He has outstanding command and generates a good amount of ground-ball outs.

One potential hang-up for Yarbrough as a starter in the big leagues is health. Last season marked the first time since he was drafted in 2014 that he broke the 100-inning barrier. He hasn’t had any major injuries to this point, despite missing time in 2015 with a groin injury. 

Vargas is a wild card in this equation for the Rays. He’s a 17-year-old shortstop who played 62 games in the Dominican Summer League last season and posted a .242/.344/.391 slash line in 215 at-bats. 

The Rays noted Baseball America ranked Vargas as the No. 19 international prospect two years ago, with MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez offering this scouting report at the time of his signing in 2015:

Scouts like Vargas’ raw power along with his projectable body, and there’s a belief that he will hit for power in the future.

On defense, the teenager could be athletic enough to stay at shortstop as he matures, but he could also end up at third base because of his size. He could also end up in the outfield.

Because Vargas is so young and has yet to play in a full-season league, his potential value to the Rays in this deal likely won’t be known for at least another four years. There is upside in his bat, as he fills out his 6’3″, 170-pound frame that makes him a worthy gamble. 

Even though Smyly was still under team control through 2018, the Rays were able to seize an opportunity now by dealing him with two years of arbitration left. They dealt from an area of depth with Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Blake Snell and Alex Cobb plugged into the rotation. 

In doing so, the Rays got an outfielder in Smith who can help them right away and has six years of team control remaining. Yarbrough could contribute out of the rotation or bullpen as soon as this season, and Vargas could end up as a power-hitting corner infielder. 

It’s not a bad return for a team that always has to be mindful of finances and keep the farm system stocked with talent to compete in the American League East.

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Colby Rasmus to Rays: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Veteran outfielder Colby Rasmus reportedly agreed to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Rasmus will receive around $5 million with bonuses that could reach $7 million, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

“I feel good about it,” Rasmus said, per Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “There’s some boys I played with there. It’ll be fun. It’ll be fun to be back in the American League East.”

Rasmus, 30, hit just .206 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI and 38 runs in 107 games in 2016. It was a disappointing season in his second campaign with Houston following a solid 2015 that saw Rasmus hit .238 with 25 homers and 61 RBI.

Rasmus will bring pop to Tampa, though he hasn’t recorded a great batting average (his career high is .276 in 2010 and 2013) or on-base percentage (his career high is .361 in 2010) in the big leagues. Still, his ability to hit the ball out of the park—he’s hit 18 or more home runs five times—makes him an appealing addition to the Rays lineup.

The Rays finished 68-94 in 2016, but their poor record wasn’t the result of a lack of offensive power. Tampa Bay ranked sixth in home runs (216) and 13th in slugging percentage (.426). The fact the Rays batted .243 as a team (28th) is concerning, however, considering Rasmus is a career .241 hitter.

Still, the Rays have historically kept a low payroll, so they were priced out of the market for the top outfielders in free agency. Rasmus should be a solid cost-effective alternative.

Keeping Rasmus healthy will be key, as he has missed 182 games in the past five years.

But Rasmus is an excellent fielder and can play all three outfield positions, so he’ll bring plus defense to an outfield that already includes one of the league’s best defenders, Kevin Kiermaier.

If Rasmus can regain some of his pop from two years ago, he could be one of the savvier signings in free agency.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Wilson Ramos to Rays: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Following a career year in 2016, catcher Wilson Ramos cashed in this offseason, reportedly agreeing to a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, according to the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman

FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman confirmed the deal and provided the financial particulars:

Ramos and Miami Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto tied for the third-highest WAR (3.5) among qualified catchers last season, per FanGraphs. Despite his success at the plate, there were some questions as to Ramos’ market value after a torn ACL ended his campaign in September.

Sherman reported the Rays’ offer is pending a physical, which remains a question mark for Ramos. Sherman added that the length of the deal could benefit the catcher:

Torn ACL aside, the 29-year-old picked a great time to have his best MLB season at the plate. In 131 games, he had a .307/.354/.496 slash line along with 22 home runs and 80 runs batted in.

In March, Ramos explained to MLB.com’s Cash Kruth how having Lasik surgery benefited his plate vision:

More comfortable and I’m seeing the pitch really, really well after surgery. Now I can say the surgery helped me to be better at the plate. …

It’s making me feel comfortable and making me feel excited, because before I was swinging at everything. Ball, strike, I was feeling very bad sometimes because I’d say, ‘That was a bad pitch, why did I swing?’ Now I feel more comfortable at the plate. It’s only four or five games after surgery, but I see the difference now.

Heyman reported the Washington Nationals had offered Ramos a three-year deal worth about $30 million during the season, and he turned it down. On Sept. 15, Heyman speculated Ramos could command $68 million over four years.

That was before the injury, though, which was the second time he had torn the ACL in his right knee.

While the torn ACL hurt Ramos’ value, he benefited from what was a thin talent pool in free agency. Teams looking for immediate offensive help didn’t have a wealth of options from which to choose. Ramos was also the best catcher on the market.

With that said, his signing comes with a few concerns.

In the likely event his torn ACL forces him to play less at catcher, he loses some of his value. Hitting 20-plus home runs and driving in 80 runs is great for a catcher but less so for a first baseman or designated hitter.

To a certain extent, it’s the same problem the Minnesota Twins have with Joe Mauer. Using Mauer at first base is the best way to keep him healthy, but the Twins can no longer expect a full return on the $23 million a year they’re paying him. According to FanGraphs, Mauer’s .389 slugging percentage was second-worst among qualified first basemen.

Whether Ramos can maintain last year’s production is questionable as well. His .327 batting average on balls in play was third-best among qualified catchers and 36 points higher than his career BABIP (.291), per FanGraphs.

He can attribute some of his improvement to the Lasik surgery—a factor that should carry over to next year. Ramos also had his fair share of good luck, which isn’t a given from one season to the next.

In 2014, Russell Martin had a .336 BABIP—a career high—which in part helped him post his highest WAR (4.9) since 2008, per FanGraphs. He turned his big season into a five-year, $82 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Martin’s performance leveled off a bit in his first two years with Toronto. In 2016, he batted .231 with 20 home runs and 74 RBI and finished with 1.7 WAR.

Ramos might have a similar decline in 2017. Still, the Rays are smart to take the risk.

According to FanGraphs, Tampa Bay had the third-worst collective WAR (minus-0.1) at catcher in 2016. Ramos will be the Rays’ best catcher since Dioner Navarro in the late 2000s, and he should be a significant upgrade over Curt Casali.

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Evan Longoria Injury: Updates on Rays Star’s Hand and Return

The Tampa Bay Rays announced Evan Longoria was suffering from right hand soreness when he exited Monday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Although X-rays were negative, according to Topkin, a return date has yet to be announced.

Continue for updates. 

Duffy Replaces Longoria at Hot Corner

Monday, Sept. 5 

In the first inning, Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hit Longoria in the hand with a pitch. Longoria was unable to continue, and Matt Duffy entered the game to fill in at third base.

Longoria Would Be Big Loss for Rays Lineup

This season, Longoria has rediscovered his superstar status that made him an MVP candidate early in his career. He previously looked like an injury-prone player, missing 117 total games in 2011 and 2012.

Since 2013, though, Longoria has been durable and reliable. He has played in at least 160 games and hit at least 21 home runs in each of the last three seasons, reaching the 30-homer barrier this season for the first time since 2013.

Longoria‘s power is essential to a Rays team that doesn’t have much of it. Brad Miller is the only other Rays player with more than 20 home runs in 2016. 

With Longoria on the shelf, Duffy may be the replacement in Tampa Bay’s lineup. Richie Shaffer could also be a call-up candidate, though the team has not shown any faith in his ability to be an everyday player in the big leagues through just 36 games. 

The Rays don’t have a lot of depth in the lineup, so losing Longoria will put more pressure on the pitching staff and defense to help them finish an otherwise disappointing season strong. 

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Chris Archer Is a Forgotten Ace on the MLB Trade Market

Choose your numbers carefully when evaluating what Chris Archer has become this season for the Tampa Bay Rays and what he could become in the future.

The bloated ERA (4.42) tells you he hasn’t been nearly as good as he was the previous three seasons. He’s also giving up more hits than he ever has (8.6 per nine innings), more home runs than he ever has (1.5 per nine innings) and the most walks since he was a rookie (3.5 per nine innings).

Win-loss records have less significance than they once did, but Archer’s 5-14 mark isn’t exactly an illusion. He’s not having a good year.

So if and when the Rays hold him out as an ace on the trade market, with ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick suggesting this week it would take “a monster package” for the Rays to even consider moving him, it figures that no one will take that gamble.

But maybe someone should.

If it takes a monster package now, that only means it would take a monster package-plus if Archer goes back to being an ace-in-waiting. Giving up a monster package may not feel like buying low, but if the alternative is waiting and then paying monster-plus, well, perhaps now is the time to act.

His numbers aren’t all bad. While Archer leads the American League in losses, he also leads the league in strikeouts (155 in 130.1 innings). His strikeout rate (10.7 per nine innings) is exactly what it was last year. His fastball velocity, according to FanGraphs, is 94.1 mph, a tick below last year but basically in line with his career average.

“The stuff is still there for him to be a horse,” said one National League scout who has seen Archer multiple times this season. “Can he be an ace again? I would bet on that.”

It would be a big bet in terms of prospects surrendered, but not in terms of money. Archer makes $2.9 million this year, and the contract he signed with the Rays in 2014 runs through 2021, if you include two club options.

When he signed, it was the biggest deal ever for a player with less than a year of service time ($25.5 million guaranteed). If he becomes an ace, he’ll become an absolute bargain ace.

The bigger question is why he’s not close to being an ace now and whether he can become one soon.

Not everyone is convinced.

“It’s tough to say with certainty what’s causing his issues this year,” said a scout from another National League team that needs pitching. “It’s at least worth noting not only how much he used his slider last year, but that those sliders were typically 90 mph.

“How taxing is that on the arm?”

According to FanGraphs, Archer threw his slider 39.2 percent of the time last season and has used it almost as often this year (38.0 percent). The velocities are similar (as high as 92 mph, with an 88 mph average), but the results aren’t as good.

Archer told Tim Brown of Yahoo he’s been “this close,” and he suggested that after starting off poorly, he may have shied away from contact and lost some confidence.

“I think people have been very critical of me, and I’m fine with it,” Archer told Brown.

There’s room for criticism, but there’s also room for comparison. Detroit’s Justin Verlander had a similarly bad season early in his career, leading MLB with 17 losses in 2008, with his ERA spiking to 4.84.

A year later, Verlander was back on the All-Star team, with a season good enough that he finished third in Cy Young voting.

Verlander didn’t have to deal with the possibility of being traded, something that is ever-present when you play for the Rays. Last week, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark put this on Twitter:

It’s hard to say how much any of that has affected Archer. His last two starts have been two of his best this season. Tuesday night, he gave up just one earned run in seven innings against the Dodgers, with no walks and eight strikeouts (but still lost 3-2 on two unearned runs).

We can’t know exactly what happened, but the National League scout who has seen Archer multiple times has a few theories.

The scout thought back to spring training, when there were stories (including this one by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports) about Archer’s commitment to visiting schools and hospitals and his dedication to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program. He remembered Archer’s public criticism of two young Rays pitchers who showed up later than others for workouts (as chronicled by Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times).

“I think he put more pressure on himself,” the scout said.

Even without that, the season could have been a challenge. The Rays worked to improve their offense this season, but they’re no longer a strong defensive team.

“The catcher was Hank Conger, and he doesn’t throw anybody out,” the scout said. “The shortstop, Brad Miller, has limited range. They don’t get big outs. A lot of times, he had to get the fourth out in an inning.”

It’s easy to say a true ace should be able to work through the distractions and work around the poor defense. But when a 27-year-old comes into a season with Cy Young expectations and finds himself with a 5.16 ERA in the middle of May, it can make for a tough season.

As long as he’s still healthy and his stuff is still good, there’s no reason to think he can’t rebound and even go forward. Three years after that poor 2008 season, Verlander was the American League’s Most Valuable Player.

Archer may not be Verlander, but he could become an ace. On a trade market that offers little in top-level starting pitching, even a monster package for him could turn out to be a bargain.

In fact, I would almost bet on it.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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It’s Time for MLB Star Evan Longoria to Be Shopped to the Highest Bidder

Evan Longoria signed an extension with the Tampa Bay Rays as soon as he arrived in the majors in 2008. And then another in 2012. Clearly, both sides want this partnership to continue for the long haul.

But it’s time for Longo to go.

This leads us to a trade “rumor” that seemed to come out of nowhere. Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reported Monday that the Rays have opened up trade discussions with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their big boss is Andrew Friedman, who used to run things in Tampa Bay. He’s now the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations. 

Morosi put one and one together and wondered aloud: “The next question then is the precise nature of those talks between the Dodgers and Rays—and if Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay’s three-time All-Star third baseman, is part of them.”

There are quotes around the word rumor up above because it isn’t so much a trade rumor as it is a trade thought. And indications are it’s not going to lead to anything. Morosi wrote there’s a “low probability” of Longo ending up in Los Angeles before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times echoed that. So did Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

It would indeed be hard for the Rays to say goodbye to Longoria. The 30-year-old has been a great player for them for years and is playing the part once again in 2016. He entered Tuesday’s 10-1 win over the Colorado Rockies with an .881 OPS and 21 homers. He added No. 22 in spectacular fashion:

Beyond still being productive, Longoria is also relatively affordable. The second contract extension he signed in 2012 doesn’t actually begin until next year, but it only guarantees him $99 million over six years. If he were a free agent this winter, he’d probably find at least that on the open market.

The Rays also have some time before the prospect of trading Longoria gets complicated. He doesn’t gain 10-and-5 rights and the power to veto any trade until April 2018. That gives them this winter and all of next year to trade him if they so desire. 

Just because time isn’t a factor, however, doesn’t mean the timing isn’t right.

No matter which way you look at it, the Rays are not in a good place. Their 36-57 record puts them in last place by plenty in the AL East and also all but guarantees their third straight losing season. After four playoff trips in six years between 2008 and 2013, they’re back to being an afterthought.

And they’re not in a good position to pull out of this tailspin anytime soon. 

The Rays aren’t going to buy their way out of their troubles. Topkin heard from Rays owner Stuart Sternberg last December that the Rays are still “a few years” away from a rich new TV deal. If winning couldn’t get the locals to show up to Tropicana Field, losing sure as heck won’t.

As Dan Szymborski wrote in ESPN.com’s MLB future power rankings, this makes the Rays dependent on a farm system that’s presently not strong enough for the task of rebuilding the club. Baseball America ranked it at No. 13 coming into the year and put just three Rays prospects in its midseason top 100.

Ideally, a Longoria trade would allow the Rays to address both problems: prospects for their farm system and a whole bunch of payroll flexibility to one day lock them up.

In a vacuum, a fair trade arguably involves a contender taking on the remainder of Longoria’s contract and nothing else. Although $99 million doesn’t sound like too much money, it’s a figure he’s unlikely to outperform. He is on the wrong side of 30, you know.

But on this summer’s market, it’s easy to imagine a needy contender being willing to sweeten the deal. The Dodgers aren’t the only club that could use a third base upgrade. Also on that list is their biggest rival, the San Francisco Giants, as well as the Cleveland Indians and New York Mets.

Of course, what will be a weak free-agent market could allow the Rays to find just as sweet a deal for Longoria this winter. Morosi seemed to recognize that, writing “the discussion of Longoria will be more worthwhile in November.”

What the Rays have no guarantee of, however, is if Longoria will look as appealing this winter as he does right now.

Yes, he’s having a great season. But it’s coming on the heels of two just OK seasons in 2014 and 2015. He only posted a .744 OPS and clubbed 43 homers. Though his turnaround this season has occurred mainly in the power department, Neil Weinberg of FanGraphs broke down how Longo has had to sacrifice contact and use of the whole field to make it happen.

If pitchers adjust, his success with that approach could be short-lived. Or, a regression in the final two months of the season could come from natural causes. At 30 and with quite a few miles on his body, an injury or a slump wrecking Longo’s season wouldn’t be shocking.

The whole situation is reminiscent of the one the Rockies were in with Troy Tulowitzki last season. The Rockies had been adamant about keeping him in the past, and Tulowitzki himself definitely didn’t want to be traded, as he indicated in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today back in February. But the timing was right, so there he went.

The Rockies saved some money in that deal and also got a pretty good prospect in right-hander Jeff Hoffman. Had they not made it, well, look at Tulowitzki now. He’s had his moments with the Toronto Blue Jays, but he has mostly battled bad health and up-and-down production. If these problems had occurred in Colorado instead, the Rockies might be stuck with him.

Trading Longo would be no more pleasant for the Rays than trading Tulo was for the Rockies. But with his value high and their present and future looking grim, now’s the time to make that call.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Evan Longoria Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Rays Star

Anchored at the bottom of the American League East standings, the Tampa Bay Rays will be sellers at the MLB trade deadline on Aug. 1, and a big question is whether franchise stalwart Evan Longoria could be on the move.

Continue for updates.

Report: Longoria Trade More Likely in Offseason

Monday, July 18

According to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, the Rays are discussing potential deals with the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the trade deadline. Morosi threw out Longoria as one of the players included in the discussions but added the chances of him playing in L.A. this year are slim:

[Justin] Turner is among the biggest barriers to a Longoria trade over the next two weeks. He’s popular in the clubhouse and integral to the lineup, with a .942 OPS since June 1. It’s unclear if the Dodgers would be willing to move Turner to second base for the remainder of the season in order to clear room for Longoria, a two-time American League Gold Glove Award winner at third base.

The Dodgers may calculate — reasonably — that there’s little chance of Longoria being dealt to another team prior to Aug. 1. The Astros had been in the market for a third baseman, but that is no longer the case following Friday’s deal with Cuban free agent Yulieski Gurriel. The Giants have had interest in Longoria before, but they’re not believed to be engaged in active talks with the Rays about him now.

Trading a franchise cornerstone is never easy. And Longoria is one of the few players remaining from the Rays teams that regularly contended for the playoffs.

At the same time, Tampa Bay is going nowhere in the short term, and trading Longoria could return an asset or two who could further the team’s long-term rebuild. The Rays would also be wise to strike while the iron is hot in the event they envision parting ways with their starting third baseman anytime soon.

Longoria, 30, is putting together a strong 2016 season. Through 89 games, he’s has a .286/.336/.533 slash line to go along with 21 home runs and 49 runs batted in. According to FanGraphs, Longoria’s 3.5 WAR has him on pace to have his best year since 2013.

His value may never be higher than it is right now, so the upcoming winter may be a good time for the Rays to seriously consider moving him.

Longoria will be owed $100 million over six years starting in 2017, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts. While teams generally shy away from trading for players signed to long deals, Longoria won’t be earning so much that his contract dissuades every potential suitor.

Longoria is no longer the hitter he was in his first four years in MLB, but he’d almost certainly command a lot of interest throughout the league if the Rays ever made him available.

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Matt Moore Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding Rays SP

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore is reportedly the subject of trade negotiations with the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline approaching.

Continue for updates.

Rangers in Ongoing Talks with Rays About Moore

Saturday, July 16

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the link between Moore and Texas but indicated no trade is close.

Moore had a rough May, posting a 7.36 ERA. But he has rebounded since with stellar form, yielding only 22 earned runs over nine starts in that span, as opposed to the 21 he gave up in five May appearances.

Morosi also reported Texas has inquired about relief pitchers in its discussions with Tampa Bay, noting the Rangers want both a starter and a bullpen arm.

Just as Moore was coming into his own as a bright young starter for the Rays, disaster struck in 2014, when a torn ligament in his left pitching elbow triggered the need for Tommy John surgery only two starts into the season.

Although he returned in time to make 12 starts last year, Moore’s rust was evident, as he posted a 5.43 ERA and career-high 1.54 WHIP.

The small-market Rays could bring back Moore on a $7 million club option next year, with increasing dollars on two subsequent team options, per Spotrac. That may be too steep a price to pay for them, but for a club like the Rangers, that’s a team-friendly proposition.

If Moore doesn’t perform well, Texas or another trade suitor could move on. Should the 27-year-old southpaw deliver the goods, though, he would be a savvy addition.

The Rangers are evidently keen to upgrade their pitching as they sit atop the American League West and brace for a playoff push. Between Yu Darvish’s return to the rotation Saturday and a potential addition like Moore, Texas could be in great shape for a World Series run.

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Mikie Mahtook Injury: Updates on Rays OF’s Hand and Return

The Tampa Bay Rays announced Monday night that outfielder Mikie Mahtook suffered a fractured left hand in their 7-4 defeat to the Cleveland Indians

Continue for updates.

Mahtook Placed on 15-Day DL

Tuesday, June 21

Mahtook injured his hand after getting hit by a pitch from Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin in the top of the second inning. He briefly remained in the game before being replaced by Taylor Motter in right field in the bottom of the third.

The Rays announced Tuesday they placed Mahtook on the 15-day disabled list, with Nick Franklin taking his spot on the active roster.

The injury comes at a terrible time for Tampa Bay. The team already has three outfielders—Brandon Guyer, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr.—on the 15-day disabled list. The Rays are also in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Baseball Prospectus gives them an 11.2 percent chance of reaching the postseason.

“We’re shaking our heads,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said, per the Associated Press and ESPN.com. “It’s a frustrating time right now, there’s no doubt about it.”

Jaff Decker is the likeliest candidate to take over for Mahtook in right on a temporary basis. Franklin and Motter will also be options for Cash going forward.

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Kevin Kiermaier Injury: Updates on Rays OF’s Hand and Recovery

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier suffered two fractures in his left hand when he attempted to dive for a ball during his team’s game against the Detroit Tigers

Continue for updates. 

Kiermaier‘s Timetable for Recovery Yet to Be Determined

Saturday, May 21

According to the team’s official Twitter account, Kiermaier will return to St. Petersburg, Florida, for re-evaluation Sunday.

Kiermaier tweeted a thank you to Rays fans after the game:

The injury occurred in the fifth inning, when Kiermaier attempted to field a shallow fly ball in center field and began to writhe in pain after failing to make the first out of the inning. 

Kiermaier is hitting just .236 with five home runs and 16 RBI during a mundane season at the plate, but his defense has been invaluable to the Rays over the past few seasons.

After piecing together a solid 2014 campaign, Kiermaier broke out in 2015 and cemented his status as one of the league’s premier defensive outfielders. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he posted 5.0 defensive wins above replacement en route to snagging Gold Glove honors. He also secured a Platinum Glove in 2015.

Desmond Jennings replaced Kiermaier in center field Saturday, and he figures to be one potential long-term solution in the middle of the outfield while the 26-year-old is on the shelf. However, the Rays could also opt to call up Mike Mahtook in order to keep Jennings slotted as the team’s left fielder if the injury proves to be serious. 

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