Despite not making any moves to sign a big bat for the middle of the lineup, the Tampa Bay Rays have been busy this week, with spring training less than three weeks away.
Rays Sign Pitcher Jeffrey Springs
The Rays signed pitcher Jeffrey Springs to a four-year 31 million dollar contract which could be worth as much as 65 million dollars over five years.
Springs pitched in 33 games in 2022, starting 25 of those games. He finished with a 9-5 record with 144 strikeouts and a 2.46 ERA.
Springs was a vital component of a pitching strategy that the Rays used where a pitcher would pitch one inning and then turn it over to a long relief pitcher or a starter.
The 30-year-old Springs will be a part of a five-man rotation in Tampa this season that will feature Tyler Glasnow, Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, Zach Eflin, and Springs.
According to MLB.com, the Rays have not had five starters make 25 starts in a season since the 2010 season.
Springs is excited to be part of what could be a special group in Tampa. “I’m excited to be a part of it, and I’m excited to continue to learn and grow with these guys and see how far we can take it. I think it could be a very special group. There’s a ton of talent, and then there’s just a lot of desire to compete and want to get better on a daily basis.”
The Rays have plenty of pitchers waiting to move into the rotation to counter injuries.
Yonny Chirinos, Luis Patiño, Josh Fleming, and top prospect Taj Bradley await their chance to be part of the Rays rotation this season.
Rays Sign Pitcher Pete Fairbanks
The team also announced an extension with reliever Pete Fairbanks to a three-year 12 million dollar contract.
Fairabnks has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the Rays bullpen the last four years going 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA. He has also recorded 15 saves with 146 strikeouts.
The team is also in talks with third basemen Yandy Diaz on a three-year 24 million dollar deal. However, Diaz will be headed to arbitration next week without an agreement on a new deal. He is seeking 6.83 Million a year. The Rays have countered with a one-year 5.55 million dollar offer.
The 31-tear old Diaz hit .296 with nine homers and drove in 57 runs.
The Rays have arbitration hearings scheduled with Diaz providing a deal is not reached, Harold Ramirez, Colin Poche, Jason Adam, and Ryan Thompson.
The Rays also earned some accolades from the MLB Network as four Rays earned top ten status at their position.
Randy Arozarena ranked number five on the list of top ten left-fielders. Yandy Diaz was number nine on the list of top ten third basemen.
And despite missing a chunk of the season with injuries, Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco earned top-ten recognition at their positions.
Lowe was the fifth-ranked second baseman, and Franco ranked as the number-ten-ranked shortstop.
–Tampa will hold their Fan Fest on Saturday, February 18th, at Tropicana Field. The event is free, but all those attending will need a ticket. All fans attending can purchase their tickets via the Ballpark App.