Tampa Bay Rays Roster
- AL East
- Tropicana Field
Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (illness) returned to workouts with the rest of the team in spring training on Thursday after being held back in the last week due to an illness. Lowe will now begin ramping things up before eventually appearing in Grapefruit League games. The 29-year-old has impressive power at the second base position from the left side of the plate, but he has struggled against left-handed pitching and has only played in over 100 games twice in his six major-league seasons. Lowe played in 109 games in 2023 and slashed .231/.328/.443 with 21 home runs, 68 RBI and seven stolen bases in 436 plate appearances. He had a career-high 39 long balls in 149 games in 2021, but that season has been an outlier for Lowe. He's a risk/reward power bat at second base.
Tampa Bay Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said that infielder Jose Caballero is still expected to be the team's Opening Day shortstop despite the addition of Amed Rosario on a one-year, $1.5 million deal on Tuesday. Rosario is going to bounce around between the middle infield and corner outfield against left-handed pitching. The 27-year-old Caballero was acquired from the Mariners in an offseason trade to give the Rays a backup plan in the wake of Wander Franco's off-the-field issues. Taylor Walls (hip) is going to miss the first month of the season, but he'll give Tampa another option at the 6 when he returns. Caballero didn't display much power in his first taste of big-league action in 2023 and is probably only going to be attractive in AL-only leagues for his speed -- he stole 26 bases in 104 games for Seattle in 2023.
Tampa Bay Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said that the plan is to play infielder Amed Rosario at both middle-infield positions and in the corner-outfield spots in 2024 after signing him to a one-year, $1.5 million deal on Tuesday. Rosario will give the Rays more insurance at the 6 with Wander Franco potentially never playing for the team again given his off-the-field issues, but Jose Caballero will remain the primary option at shortstop. The 28-year-old Rosario has been a lefty killer in his career, so between multiple positions with the Rays in 2024, the Dominican infielder should play rather regularly when the club faces a left-handed pitcher. He'll be most attractive as a low-cost DFS play against southpaws, but with modest power and speed, Rosario's fantasy ceiling is low.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brendan McKay (elbow) successfully threw live batting practice Tuesday, the first time he had pitched to hitters since August of 2022. The former fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft has endured several injuries, the latest being Tommy John surgery in September of 2022. McKay is at camp as a non-roster invitee and has a long way to get in shape to pitch in the big leagues again, but his pedigree and the way the Rays manage their pitching staff could make him worth monitoring throughout the season. He may have the opportunity to become fantasy-relevant at some point.
The Tampa Bay Rays placed right-hander Drew Rasmussen (elbow) on the 60-day injured list on Tuesday to make room on the 40-man roster for the signing of infielder Amed Rosario. Rasmussen won't return until the second half of the 2024 season after having an internal-brace procedure on his right elbow last July. The 28-year-old looked great for the Rays in eight starts last year before getting hurt, posting a 2.62 ERA (2.54 FIP) and 1.05 WHIP with 11 walks and 47 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings pitched, but fantasy managers are going to have to wait until later this year to get another look at him. He's already had two Tommy John surgeries in his career, too, so expecting Rasmussen to pick up where he left off in 2023 would be pretty foolish.