The Rays continue to make moves ahead of the December 1 tender deadline (and the potential lockout). In addition to their earlier signing of Corey Kluber last week, they don’t appear to be quite finished with the pitcher market, and are adding arms to bolster their bullpen.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Rays have agreed to a two-year deal, with a one-year option, worth $10 million with left-handed reliever Brooks Raley, who was most recently with the Houston Astros.
2-year deal for #Rays and LHP Brooks Raley, plus a 1 year-option. Pending physical, as 1st reported @Ken_Rosenthal— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) November 29, 2021
Raley, who is 33, has spent some inconsistent time in the majors since his 2012 major league debut with the Cubs. Between 2014-2019 he didn’t appear in any MLB games as he was playing in the KBO. He returned to MLB in 2020, splitting the shortened season between the Reds and the Astros.
He’s a career 5.62 ERA player, with a 4.55 FIP and a 1.314 WHIP. He did manage a 0.8 fWAR with Houston last season and was used with mixed success throughout the Astros postseason run. While Raley was originally a fastball-heavy pitcher, in his last two seasons he has switched to primarily using his cutter (32.4% in 2021) and his slider (29% in 2021). Raley’s fastball velocity sits at around 90mph, so he won’t be one of the stable throwing 98, but he will be an effective tool against lefty bats, where he has a 40.5% strikeout rate.
It will be interesting to see how the slow velo and relatively high spin play, and what kind of role is carved out for Raley in Cash’s bullpen.