Carlos Pena was also reinstated from the 60-day DL. These moves are pretty much procedural. Jennings and Hellickson were going nowhere, and same with Torres -- although I don't believe he was eligible for this year's Rule 5.. This maxes out the 40-man and leaves a few notable players -- Aneury Rodriguez, Nevin Ashley, Ryan Reid, etc. -- unprotected from the Rule 5 draft barring further roster moves before tomorrow's deadline. Obviously you don't like the idea of Rodriguez being plucked, but the odds of him sticking on a 25 man roster for an entire season seem low.
It's time to get this off-season started.
Update: Torres was eligible. He signed with the Angels as a free agent in January 2005. That gives him five accrued minor league years without being on the 40 man.
Presser after the jump.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL-The Tampa Bay Rays have selected right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, outfielder Desmond Jennings and left-handed pitcher Alexander Torres to the 40-man roster. In addition, first baseman Carlos Peña was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list. The moves put the Rays at the 40-man roster limit.
Hellickson, 22, was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the Rays organization, going a combined 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA (114-IP, 72-H, 35-R, 31-ER, 29-BB, 132-SO) for Montgomery (AA) and Durham (AAA). After missing most of May and June with a right shoulder strain, he was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A in late July. Overall he struck out 10.42 batters per nine innings and held opponents to a .178 batting average. After joining the Bulls, Hellickson went 6-1 with a 2.51 ERA in nine starts, held opponents to a .157 average, and had more than twice as many strikeouts (70) as hits allowed (31).
Jennings, who turned 23 after the season, was named Rays Minor League Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of both Montgomery and the Southern League. He was promoted from Montgomery to Durham in late July. Overall he hit .318 (158-for-497) with 11 home runs, 52 stolen bases (in 59 attempts), 62 RBI, 92 runs scored, 31 doubles, 10 triples, a .401 on-base pct. and .487 slugging pct. Despite the promotion, Jennings finished second in the Southern League in batting (.316), third in steals (37; a Biscuits record), fourth in on-base pct. (.395), fifth in slugging (.486) and tied for fourth in triples (eight). Baseball America named him the No. 18 prospect in baseball in their midseason rankings.
Torres, 21, was acquired on August 28 as part of the trade that sent Scott Kazmir to the Los Angeles Angels. Combining three stops in 2009 - Rancho Cucamonga (A), Arkansas (AA) and Montgomery - he went 13-6 with a 2.77 ERA (156-IP, 48-ER) in 28 appearances and 26 starts. He struck out 156 batters, held opponents to a .222 batting average and allowed only five home runs. He spent the majority of the season with Rancho Cucamonga, where he went 10-3 with a 2.74 ERA and earned California League All-Star honors and a July 31 promotion to Arkansas. Torres is a native of Valencia, Venezuela.