The 8 p.m. ET deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in advance of December’s Rule 5 draft has passed, and the Rays were busy, adding left-handed pitchers Kyle Bird and Brock Burke, outfielders Joe McCarthy and Jesus Sanchez, and right-handed pitcher Ian Gibaut to the 40-man roster.
To make room on the roster, they designated first baseman C.J. Cron, right-handed pitcher Oliver Drake, and left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner for assignment. Right-handed pitcher Jose Mujica was outrighted to the minors. He underwent Tommy John surgery and will likely miss the season.
More on the biggest player designated for assignment — 30-home-run-hitter Cron — can be found here.
Players added to the 40-man roster
Sanchez, 21, is one of the team’s top prospects. He appeared in the Futures Game this season, and in August, he was promoted to Double A. Between Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery, he batted .282 with a .324 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage with 11 home runs, 45 total extra-base hits, an 18.9 percent strikeout rate and 5.3 percent walk rate. He entered the season as a top-50 prospect according to Baseball America, and he should receive a similar ranking entering next season.
Gibaut — who just turned 25 — was the team’s No. 30 prospect entering the season on Baseball America’s list. In Triple A, he proved he was worthy of that ranking, if not a better one. In 56 innings of relief, he posted a 2.09 ERA with a 33.8 percent strikeout rate and 9.5 percent walk rate. He’ll be in the bullpen mix in 2019.
The 22-year-old Burke broke out in 2018 and was named the organization’s Pitcher of the Year. In 137 1⁄3 innings between Charlotte and Montgomery, he had a 3.08 ERA with a 27.1 percent strikeout rate and a 7.6 percent walk rate. His 158 strikeouts led the organization.
McCarthy, 24, was limited to 47 games with Durham in 2018 due to injuries. But in those games, he showed increased power with a career-high .244 ISO. Overall, he batted .269 with a .377 on-base percentage and .513 slugging percentage. In the Arizona Fall League, he batted .239 with a .745 OPS before breaking his hand.
Bird, 25, split time between Double- and Triple-A as a reliever in 2018, and is the surprise on this list. He limited batters to a .198 batting average (52-for-263) and recorded 88 strikeouts for a 10.51 strikeouts per 9 innings ratio across both levels.
Elsewhere, in St. Louis, left-handed pitcher Genesis Cabrera — who was part of the package the Rays traded to land outfielder Tommy Pham — was added to the Cardinals’ 40-man roster. In Miami, outfielder Braxton Lee was designated for assignment. He was one of two players traded for Adeiny Hechavarria in 2017. The Angels added infielder Luis Rengifo — acquired for C.J. Cron — to their 40-man roster, and the Padres added right-handed pitcher Gerardo Reyes — part of the Wil Myers trade — to theirs.
Left off of the Rays roster is most notably infield prospect Kean Wong, who was passed over for promotion when the Rays selected second baseman Brandon Lowe to the active roster during the 2018 season.