Tampa Bay Rays Roster
- AL East
- Tropicana Field
The Tampa Bay Rays optioned starting pitcher Brendan McKay, outfielder Randy Arozarena and first baseman Nathaniel Lowe to the minors on Thursday, along with Anthony Banda, Mike Brousseau, Brian O'Grady and Trevor Richards. McKay, a two-way player, is the team's No. 2 prospect and should see time in the big leagues at some point in 2020, but the Rays didn't want to rush him after he had some shoulder issues during spring training. He needs to be owned in all dynasty leagues and will likely be stashed in most AL-only leagues as well. Arozarena was hitting well in camp and should help the big league roster at some point this year. Both he and Lowe are intriguing AL-only stashes.
Tampa Bay Rays catcher Michael Perez appeared to be in the lead for the backup catcher spot when spring training was canceled due to the coronavirus. He has better defensive skills than Chris Herrmann or Kevan Smith, and his left-handed bat is a better fit with right-handed hitting Mike Zunino. Perez was dedicated to winning the job and spent most of the winter working out in Tampa. The 27-year-old Puerto Rican has played in 46 major league games the last two years, hitting .258/.321/.367 with only one home run and 13 RBI in 120 at-bats for the Rays. Perez is a defense-first backstop, so he won't move the needle much in fantasy even if he's starting regularly if Zunino gets injured.
When spring training screeched to a halt because of the coronavirus, Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Nick Anderson was in line to get the bulk of the save opportunities to begin the regular season. On the other hand, Jose Alvarado had a strong spring after coming off a lost 2019 season, so he could be in the mix for ninth-inning duties, along with Diego Castillo, if Anderson falters at any point. Anderson had a 3.32 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, one save and 110 strikeouts in 65 innings for the Marlins and Rays in 2019. His 17.3 K/9 in 23 outings for the Rays opened eyes, and he'll be a back-end fantasy closer for fantasy owners that have yet to draft amid the delay of the 2020 season.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo looked fine defensively in both left field and third base before spring training was shut down, but the Rays expect him to need time to adjust to the high-end velocity of major league pitchers after coming over from Japan. It was clear that Tsutsugo needed to make some adjustments against fringy hard throwers during Grapefruit League play. His left-handed bat will give Tampa some options either in left field or at third base against right-handers, but he figures to start on the bench against southpaws, at least to begin the 2020 season. That makes him mostly an AL-only commodity in his first season in the States.
The Tampa Bay Rays want to get the most out of outfielder Jose Martinez's right-handed power bat, but to do so they need him to play first base occasionally. Martinez was making slow progress defensively in spring training. As only a designated hitter or as a pinch-hitter off the bench, Martinez limits what the Rays can do with their lineup. The 31-year-old hit over .300 in both 2017 and 2018 with the Cardinals, but he dropped to .269 with the Cardinals last year and hit just 10 home runs in 128 games with limited playing time. His defensive shortcomings could cost him again in his new home on a team that values position flexibility as much as any other team in baseball. For the uncertainty of his playing time, he can probably be avoided in most mixed leagues.