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Tampa Bay Rays trade LHP Brooks Raley to the New York Mets

Tampa Bay Rays v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays have traded left-handed pitcher Brooks Raley to the New York Mets for minor league left-handed pitcher Keyshawn Askew.

Raley had signed a two year deal (with an option for a third year) with the Rays as a free agent in November of last year. During his lone season with Tampa Bay, Raley appeared in 60 games and compiled a 2.68 ERA & 2.74 FIP over 53 23 innings pitched. He was slated to make $4.5M in 2023, then whichever team he is on as the option to keep him for $6.5M in 2024 or buyout the option year for $1.25.

Although Raley was among the Rays top performers in the bullpen this previous season, the Rays have a gluttony of solid bullpen southpaws available so they dealt from that depth to get an intriguing prospect from the Mets.

“It’s a luxury to have that many strong left-handed relievers. We needed to balance that out a little bit, and this was the way that we found to do it. And we got a pitcher back that we like a lot.”
- Rays General Manager, Peter Bendix

Askew, 22, finished the season in High-A in the Mets organization. He has shown an impressive ability to strikeout opposing hitters since being selected in the 10th round of the 2021 draft by New York. Thus far over one year minor league career, Askew has a 34.9 K% and 10.5 BB% with a 2.27 ERA and 3.26 FIP over 75 13 innings pitched.

According to Baseball America, prior to being drafted, Askew used mostly a two-pitch mix; a fastball that sits around 89 mph but got up to the 92-93 mph range this spring, and scouts seem to like the spin metrics on his upper-70s slider. Scouts seemed to differ on whether his strike throwing ability would allow him to become a dependable starting pitcher or would limit him to a relief role.

Per Rays General Manager, Peter Bendix, the team plans on Askew being a starting pitcher.

“He’s got really good stuff; there’s ingredients there. Certainly no guarantee that he’s going to work. But you need that pipeline of starting pitching prospects. We’ve seen what it can do for our success. And to be able to acquire somebody that we think is a pretty good starter prospect and help balance our bullpen a little bit, that was kind of the impetus for this.”
- Rays General Manager, Peter Bendix

In clearing a spot on the 40-man roster, the Rays were able to add right-handed pitcher Kevin Kelly in the Rule 5 draft.