We are just a few weeks from the start of spring training, and the state of the Rays bullpen is in total flux.
As the 2017 season came to a close, the Rays, despite being an under .500 ball club, featured one of the top bullpens in the majors thanks to their additions at the trade deadline. They had brought in the likes of Steve Cishek, Sergio Romo, and Den Jennings to help compliment Alex Colome and Tommy Hunter, both of whom were already having fantastic seasons.
However, upon the season’s conclusion, the Rays lost Cishek, Romo, and Hunter to free agency.
The Rays still have Dan Jennings and Alex Colome — for now — and are seemingly prepared to enter spring training with a contingent of untested major league arms to fill out their bullpen.
On the current 40-man roster, besides Colome and Jennings, the only other pitchers potentially ticketed for the bullpen with major league experience are as follows: Jose Alvarado, Chih-Wei Hu, Andrew Kittredge, Austin Pruitt, Matt Andriese, Nate Eovaldi, Ryne Stanek, Hunter Wood (1 batter, but still), and Chaz Roe.
Not a real All-Star list of names, but there is plenty of promise. Then you have several non-roster invitees that have major league experience who will also be competing for the bullpen: Cody Hall, Adam Kolarek, Colton Murray, Vidal Nuno, and Jonny Venters.
To add to that, there is a mix of non-roster invitees and 40-man roster pitchers who have a chance at making the Opening Day roster, despite not having an ounce of major league experience: Ian Gibaut, Ruben Alaniz, Diego Castillo, Yonny Chirinos, Jose Mujica, Ryan Yarbrough, and Jaime Schultz.
Literally everyone one of these players mentioned has a legitimate chance at cracking the Rays bullpen, whether it be on the Opening Day squad or as part of the Durham shuttle.
These are just the players heading for camp as of now, on January 29th.
There are still plenty of unknowns, the Rays could still make a massive trade that further implodes their 2017 bullpen. There are plenty of veteran pitchers on the free agent market looking for homes to start out the 2018 season, that could come the Rays way.
As it stands, the Rays likely bullpen on Opening Day in 2018 will be this: Alex Colome, Jose Alvarado, Dan Jennings, Ryne Stanek, Chaz Roe, Austin Pruitt, and Matt Andriese.
Leave your projected bullpens in the comments section.