The plan for the Rays from the very start of the year was to use a four-man rotation with a rotating “bullpen day” to take the place of a standard fifth starter. The idea made a lot of baseball writers raise a brow wondering how such a thing could work, but the Rays felt that with an increase in off days, they could make it work. Then, a wrench was thrown in the plan when Nathan Eovaldi was put on the DL, needing surgery for loose bodies in his elbow.
The Rays were left with a three-man rotation and two bullpen days.
Now, they’re back to the original plan, with reliever Yonny Chirinos being named to the official pitching rotation by the club as their fourth man.
#Rays make it official, Chirinos is now the fourth starter. So they’re back to original plan with 4 starters and 1 “Bullpen Day” each turn thru rotation when they have 5 straight games.— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 21, 2018
Chirinos, as we discussed recently, was a natural choice to be given the promotion to starter. He has performed exceptionally well out of the bullpen. In his three starts to date, he is sitting at a 2.70 ERA, 3.49 FIP, and 1.000 WHIP. In this, his first big league season, Chirinos is proving himself to be truly serviceable in the rotation, and it’s clear the front office agreed.
Now, the team will have far fewer question marks lingering as to who will take the mound in any given day, and Chirinos will no longer need to question what role it is he’s meant to play. The distinction should also be beneficial to the bullpen, where the remaining relievers can now better establish their roles in relief innings.
Yonny Chirinos will get his first start as an official member of the rotation on Sunday afternoon.