Jake Odorizzi is with Minnesota and Alex Cobb is still unsigned as a free agent. That’s two of Tampa Bay’s starting pitchers from 2017 no longer with the club. Compounding things is one of the Rays top relievers from last year, Tommy Hunter, is now with the Phillies. Manager Kevin Cash has a lot of work to do this spring getting his pitching staff in order in time for March 29th, when Tampa Bay opens the 2018 season against the defending American League Champion Boston Red Sox.
One possible bright spot for the rotation could have been righty Jose De Leon. A top prospect in the Rays organization, he suffered a serious injury to his right elbow and could be gone for an extended period. Another top prospect who may have helped Tampa Bay later in the year, Brent Honeywell, is also gone for the year. The MVP of last year’s All-Star Futures Game, Honeywell underwent Tommy John surgery in February.
This has led Cash to try a different approach for the 2018 season. Instead of the typical five-man rotation, the Rays will have four regular starting pitchers, then on the fifth day, call it the multi-headed starter. Cash stated the fifth turn through the rotation would be reserved for three or four pitchers coming out of the bullpen, pitching to each batter in the opposing line-up once.
One of those relievers who’ll likely get a lot of fifth day action is the newest Ray, Daniel Hudson. Acquired from Pittsburgh in the Corey Dickerson trade, Hudson is an eight-year Major League veteran, the bulk of those years in Arizona, where he was a 16-game winner in 2011. Another key veteran to come out of the bullpen for the Rays on the fifth day is Sergio Romo. Acquired last year from the Dodgers, Romo was an integral part of the Giants bullpen in their world championship years of 2010, 2012, and 2014. Your text to link…
The biggest concern with Cash’s plan has to be what happens should he have to use a lot of relievers for the third or fourth man in the rotation?