Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen potential additions fight for major roles
The Tampa Bay Rays are hard at work in Port Charlotte in Florida. Their main focus this month, has been on preparing for the Cactus League competition, which is slated to kick off soon.
The club has a lot of responsibilities to pass around the team members and though the situation may seem reminiscent of the past, the squad features new players in the mix as well. One of the main emphases today will bring the focus on the relievers in the
squad, who will fight for a role, in the upcoming series.
The club has a lot to do before their opening encounter with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jake McGee has been given the task to work on his sliders. Attaining better control over his fastballs is another matter of concern and if he’s unable to prove his worth,
he will start in the Triple A circuit, this season.
"They told me don't worry about my ERA or how many home runs I give up", McGee said. "They want to see me working on stuff, making an effort to work on off-speed stuff".
The club will hold auditions for the open slots in the bullpen, this afternoon when the Pirates arrive to play against the Rays. Four players are already set in the mix. Adam Russell, Joel Peralta, Kyle Farnsworth and Andy Sonnanstine are established in
the bullpen but there are still 3 spots remaining in the balance.
However, those who will be able to compete in 33 days with the best performance will make it through to the American League East campaign.
"I don't want it to be that there's going to be a tally sheet based on spring training ERA and have people think that's what's going to determine it for us", Executive Vice President of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, said. "It's going to be the stuff
they bring and the looks and the different weapons that (Manager Joe Maddon) and (pitching coach Jim Hickey) have".
The Rays had the best bullpen, last year, with Rafael Soriano in the mix but with change this year, manager, Joe Maddon, is holding a positive view of the future.
"We've got some pretty good arms out there, and some guys that people don't really know about", Maddon said.