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Tampa Bay Rays make flurry of moves

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Including signing an Olympic medalist. It’s true, it’s darn true.

Olympics: Baseball-Men Group B - KOR-USA Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to their series opener on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles, the Tampa Bay Rays have made a small flurry of moves, including signing a reliever, David Robertson, to a Major League deal who was among the peak of his profession over the earlier part of the past decade.

First on the docket however is the fresh arm joining the big league staff in time for tonight’s game as the Rays have selected the contract of RHP Chris Ellis from Triple-A Durham. In the corresponding roster moves, the Rays have optioned LHP Ryan Sherriff to Triple-A and have moved DJ Johnson and LHP Jeffrey Springs to the 60-day IL. The Rays have also placed RHP Matt Wisler on the 10-day IL due to ‘right-middle finger inflammation’ and have recalled RHP Louis Head, who had been previously optioned just a few days ago.

Chris Ellis was a minor league signing by the Rays prior to the season and has spent the entirety of the season with Triple-A Durham, serving mainly in a starting pitcher capacity. He has made 15 appearances this season and is average 17 batters faced per outing. However, he has struggled during his time with Durham, accumulating a 6.32 ERA / 6.06 FIP over 57 innings pitched.

David Robertson is a Major League signing, meaning he’ll take a place on the Rays 40-man roster, but will report to Triple-A Durham. Robertson’s most recent action came with Team USA during the Olympics in Japan, in which Team USA won the silver medal as they finished runner up to Team Japan.

Robertson’s most recent time in the big leagues came with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2019, in which he pitched in just 7 games and allowed 4 runs over 6 2/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately his short stint with the team was do to injury, he underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2019.

During his rehab, Robertson suffered a setback that made him not able to pitch during the pandemic afflicted season in 2020. Robertson is finally healthy and pitched a total of 2 innings for Team USA in the Olympic games. Back when he was fully healthy and in the prime of his career, Robertson was an integral member of a vaunted New York Yankees bullpen; from 2008 through 2019, Robertson registered a 2.88 ERA / 2.81 FIP with a 32.4 K% and 9.6 BB% over 657 innings pitched with the Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

The Rays must have seen something they liked from Robertson, as they awarded him a sport on their growingly restricted 40-man roster.

The TL;DR version

  • David Robertson signed to MLB contract, sent to Triple-A Durham
  • Chris Ellis and Louis Head recalled from Triple-a Durham
  • Ryan Sherriff optioned to Triple-A Durham
  • DJ Johnson and Jeffrey Springs transferred to 60-day IL
  • Matt Wisler placed on 10-day IL