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Four Players That Should Make A Big Impact For Tampa Bay Rays

Who are these new additions to the Rays, and how will they help the ballclub this season? Let’s look at the Rays’ new additions

In the biggest move of the offseason so far, the Seattle Seahawks have sent their franchise QB to the Denver Broncos in exchange for multiple players and picks. Where does that leave these two franchises now?

The Tampa Bay Rays roster is 99 percent set as the countdown continues to opening day.

The everyday position player roster is set, barring a trade involving outfielders Kevin Keirmaier or Austin Meadows.

There always seems to be more turnover on the pitching staff, and this year is no exception as the Rays have brought in former Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber to eat some innings as a starter or in long relief. The Rays also added relief pitcher Brooks Raley to the roster, and the Rays will use him in late-inning situations.

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The Rays also added more bullpen help by picking up Jason Adam in early March. Tampa then traded for outfielder Harold Ramirez who brings his left-handed bat to the middle of the order.

Who are these new additions to the Rays, and how will they help the ballclub this season?

Let’s look at the Ray’s new additions and how they will impact the club this season.

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Pitcher Corey Kluber

The 35-year-old former two-time Cy Young Award winner, Cory Kluber, signed a one-year deal worth eight million dollars to pitch in Tampa for the 2022 season.

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Kluber, at one time, was one of the top pitchers in the American League, earning a Cy Young award with the Cleveland Indians in 2014 and then again in 2017.

Kluber pitched with the Yankees in 2021 and posted a 3.83 ERA in 16 starts going 5-3 with 80 strikeouts. He also threw a no-hitter against Texas in May.

Kluber missed three months of the 2021 season with a shoulder strain and pitched only 36 innings in 2019 and 2020 due to arm ailments.

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The Rays will count on Kluber to be that veteran presence that was missing last season, especially during the postseason. Kluber will join a rotation that includes Luis Patino, Shane McClanahan, Ryan Yarbrough, and Drew Rasmussen.

Pitcher Brooks Raley

When Raley got the call that the Rays wanted him to come to Tampa and be that final piece in the Rays bullpen, he was shocked. Rays GM Erik Neander told Raley, “Hey, you’re one of the big pieces we want.”

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Two days later, Raley signed a two-year deal with ten million dollars guaranteed and a club option for 2024.

Raley posted a 4.78 ERA last season but did strike out 32 percent of the hitters he faced. According to MLB.com, Raley produced a hard-hit rate percentage of 21.5 percent, leading the Majors. He also had an average exit velocity of 83 MPH, which was the best in baseball last season.

Raley can strike guys out, doesn’t issue many walks, limits hard contact, and gets almost every left-handed hitter out. Raley will be a good fit in the stable in Tampa, pitching in late-inning high leverage situations.

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Pitcher Jason Adam

The Rays signed Jason Adams to a one-year contract in another under-the-radar move.

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Adam has pitched with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago Cubs the last two seasons and has been very effective out of the bullpen. Adam, 30, had a combined 3.06 ERA with a 26.2% strikeout rate and 12.1% walk rate in 35 1/3 innings.

In 2020, Adam struck out 21 of the 58 batters he faced, with a 17.3 swinging strike rate, according to MLB.com.

Adam will pitch alongside Andrew Kittredge, Pete Fairbanks, J.P. Feyereisen, JT Chargois, Matt Wisler, and Brooks Raley in the Tampa Bay bullpen.

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Adam missed most of 2021 with an ankle injury. If he can stay healthy and be a solid contributor in the Rays bullpen, he will hold plenty of value to the Rays not only in 2022 but well beyond. He currently has just one year and 129 days of Major League service time, meaning he could remain under the Ray’s control through the 2026 season.

Outfield Harold Ramirez

Once the Rays knew that Nelson Cruz would not be back as he was just a half-year rental last season, the Rays began looking for a big bat in the middle of the lineup.

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The Rays flirted with Freddie Freeman and made him an excellent offer at slightly north of 150 million dollars. Freeman took the Dodger’s offer of $162 million. Freeman will make less money with the Dodgers because California’s state income tax rate is astronomical, while Florida has no state income tax.

Enter Harold Ramirez. Ramirez comes from the Cubs in exchange for infielder Estaben Quiroz.

Ramirez is a left-handed bat that will fit nicely in the middle of the Rays lineup . He hit .271 with 18 homers, and 92 runs batted the last two seasons with Miami and Cleveland. Ramirez will be with the big league club when they break camp next week. He is out of options and would have to clear waivers should the Rays option him this season.

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The Rays plan to use Ramirez as their primary right-handed DH and also use him as an outfielder against left-handed pitchers.

Ramirez joins an outfield group of Austin Meadows, Kevin Keirmaier, Manuel Margot, Randy Arozarena, and Brett Phillips.

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