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Rays acquire INF Taylor Featherston amid five roster moves

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Rays make five roster moves in the wake of Kevin Kiermaier’s injury

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With the news that Kevin Kiermaier will be out two months with a hip fracture, the Rays made a flurry of roster moves:

1. Placed CF Kevin Kiermaier (right hip fracture) on the 10-day disabled list

There is a silver lining here: 10 days means the Rays are, for now, withholding the ability to bring him back sooner than two months.

2. Placed 1B/DH Rickie Weeks Jr. (right shoulder impingement) on the 10-day disabled list

Weeks has had an enormous impact on the Rays this season, but unfortunately that hasn’t been seen in the spreadsheet. A newfound clubhouse leader and positive influence, Weeks has struggled throughout the season, albeit in a part time role, which is never easy.

Perhaps this time on the disabled list will also help focus him for a return to the plate.

3. Recalled OF Mallex Smith from Triple-A Durham

The “next man up” has been Mallex Smith all season, but Marc Topkin reports that this time Smith will have the opportunity to try and lock down a starting role in center field.

4. Acquired INF Taylor Featherston from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for cash considerations

Who?

A former Angels and Phillies infielder with positive defense marks over the last two seasons, his approximate 115 minor league wRC+ has yet to translate to anything of value on offense in the majors, where he’s seen 197 plate appearances over 120 games since 2015, and a mere 22 wRC+ to show for it (88% below average).

Featherston got his start in the majors as a Rule 5 pick out of the Rockies system in 2015, where he earned this write up from Fangraphs:

Featherston is that typical grinder baseball rat type, though he has a little more size and athleticism than you may expect at 6’1/185 with average raw power, and above average arm and solid average speed. The power plays down in games due to a more line-drive type approach and there’s some awkwardness to his actions, but Featherston fits the bill of under-appreciated utility guy that might surprise people and be a little more.

So far there’s been no surprises, but with Daniel Robertson playing an everyday role at 2B, the Rays felt a second utility player was needed on the bench. In total, Featherston joins Michael Martinez, Jesus Sucre and Peter Bourjos for the most-Rays bench of all time.

Over 477.1 career innings of defense, Featherston has a cumulative 10 DRS between 2B, 3B, and SS, so even if the offense doesn’t come around, Featherston should meet the Rays requirements on defense.

Let’s hope this is the season he becomes that pleasant surprise.

5. Transferred INF Matt Duffy from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list

To make room for Featherston on the 40-man roster, the Rays were able to shift Matt Duffy to the 60-Day disabled list, which allows another player to be added to the “40-man” limit.

It’s unclear at time of publishing whether the 60-day move is backdated to the start of the season, or whether the 60-day clock starts now. Duffy’s recovery from achilles surgery this season has been sidelined by multiple injuries in rehab.