While confirming the Matt Joyce trade news from earlier this afternoon, the Rays informed beat writer Marc Topkin that closer Jake McGee needed elbow surgery last week to remove a loose body, typically this involves a bone spur.
For time table purposes, we can expect McGee to need approximately six months to be back in form and at the major league level.
Accordingly, McGee will start the season on the disabled list, and the Rays will be without their end-of-season closer, but that doesn't leave the team without resources.
Opening day closer Grant Balfour still under contract in 2015, as is bullpen breakout fireman Brad Boxberger. The Rays will also be adding former Angels closer Ernesto Frieri and hard throwing starting prospect Alex Colome to the major league roster next season. All four will have a shot at taking over McGee's role until his return to health.
The Rays also added a significant arm from the Angels' 2014 bullpen in the Matt Joyce trade this afternoon. He's not likely to save any games, but if he can continue his success, he'll provide enough depth for the rest of the roles to re-organize until McGee's elbow is back in shape.
Just talked to #Rays McGee: Said he expects to be back late April/early May, that it's only "a little setback,'' glad wasn't during season— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 16, 2014
McGee said he was working out when he felt something, MRI showed "a big bone spur" behind elbow, was "pretty disappointed" to need surgery— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 16, 2014