According to a report from Marc Topkin, the Tampa Bay Rays are interested in bringing back right-handed pitcher Ryne Stanek.
Stanek, 29, was originally drafted by the Rays in the first round of the 2013 draft, at 29th overall. During his ascent through the Rays system, Stanek became known for having triple digit velocity on his fastball and he eventually made his big league debut during the 2017 season, although he didn’t truly become an effective pitcher until harnessing a split-finger pitch that was taught to him by Rays pitching coach, Kyle Snyder.
During the 2018 season, Stanek would help to pioneer the ‘Opener’ strategy with Tampa Bay as he would start and face the first several hitters of the game, setting up for the bulk pitcher. Stanek proved to be extremely effective in this new found role and established himself as a capable big league pitcher.
At the 2019 trade deadline, the Rays included Stanek in a deal along with Jesus Sanchez to acquire Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards from the Miami Marlins.
While with Miami, Stanek’s efforts weren’t as fruitful, as he completely lost his command and opposing hitters were much more successful against him at the plate. Following the 2020 season, the Marlins decided to non-tender Stanek, making him a free agent.
The Rays pitching staff is a work in progress and they’ll always seek ways to improve upon it. We’ll continue to see the Rays with interest in a variety of pitchers as the slow crawl towards Spring continues. At this moment his fit in the Rays bullpen isn’t clear, but since it’s an old friend, it’s good to see.