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2018 Opening Day roster features many new faces

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San Diego Padres v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images

The Rays roster has gone through an overhaul since the start of the 2017 season. A 60% overhaul to be precise. Let me refresh your memory.

Starting Pitchers

Then

Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Blake Snell, Alex Cobb, and Matt Andriese

Now

Chris Archer, Blake Snell, and Jake Faria

The Rays starting rotation right now consists of three pitchers. The Rays had planned to go with a 4-man rotation, but the recent loss of Nate Eovladi (he’ll be out for at least 6-8 weeks following expected elbow surgery) has made that an even slimmer 3-man rotation.

Jake Faria is the newcomer, with Alex Cobb departing via free agency, Jake Odorizzi traded to the Twins, and Matt Andriese shifted to the bullpen.

Bullpen

Then

Alex Colome, Erasmo Ramirez, Xavier Cedeno, Tommy Hunter, Austin Pruitt, Danny Farquhar, and Jumbo Diaz

Now

Alex Colome, Sergio Romo, Matt Andriese, Austin Pruitt, Chaz Roe, Jose Alvarado, Ryan Yarbrough, Yonny Chirinos, and Andrew Kittredge

Colome of course returns in the closer role. Pruitt makes the list twice only because of the Eovaldi injury discussed above, as Pruitt had been off the MLB roster as of Tuesday. The Rays chose to carry several relievers capable of going multiple innings, giving Ryan Yarbrough his first taste of the major leagues.

Catchers

Then

Derek Norris and Jesus Sucre

Now

Wilson Ramos and Jesus Sucre

The catching situation isn’t much different. Once Wilson Ramos was ready to join the Rays, Derek Norris was released and the Rays rolled with Ramos and Sucre over the second half of the 2017 season.

Infielders

Then

1B - Logan Morrison, Rickie Weeks Jr / 2B - Brad Miller, Daniel Robertson / 3B - Evan Longoria / SS - Tim Beckham

Now

1B - Brad Miller, CJ Cron / 2B - Joey Wendle, Daniel Robertson / 3B - Matt Duffy / SS - Adeiny Hechavarria

There is one glaring absence that stands out: that’s Evan Longoria, who was dealt to the San Francisco Giants over the off-season. Matt Duffy will take his place at third base, becoming the first player not named Longoria to start Opening Day at third base since 2008.

Meanwhile, the 2018 roster has Brad Miller and CJ Cron usurping Logan Morrison and Rickie Weeks Jr at first base. Joey Wendle takes over at second with Daniel Robertson resuming his role backing up the middle infielders. Hechavarria, who was acquired mid season, takes over for Tim Beckham, who was traded mid season.

Outfielders

Then

Corey Dickerson, Steven Souza, Kevin Kiermaier, Mallex Smith, and Peter Bourjos

Now

Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, Kevin Kiermaier, Mallex Smith, and Rob Refsnyder

The Rays traded away their starting corner outfielders during the first few days of spring training, sending Souza to Arizona and Dickerson to the Pirates. Meanwhile, Bourjos left as a free agent at the conclusion of the 2017 season.

So, now the Rays will have Denard Span (acquired in the Longoria deal) manning left field, and free agent signee, Carlos Gomez, manning right field. Kevin Kiermaier brings his platinum glove back to center (hopefully healthy for entire season), and Mallex Smith will back them all up.

The second to latest addition to the Rays roster, Rob Refsnyder, will also be backing up each position in the outfield, taking over Peter Bourjos’s role from last season.


There you have it, the complete then/now overhaul of the Rays Opening Day rosters from this season and the 2017 campaign. Overall, the team has traded away, released, or granted free agency to 15 of the players who were with them to start off last season.