Rays complete deals with Roe, McHugh

Tampa Bay signed the right-handed reliever to a one-year Major League contract on Monday. The agreement, first reported on Sunday night by FanSided’s Robert Murray, is worth $1.15 million.

The Rays also announced the signing of right-hander Collin McHugh, who opted out of the 2020 season after signing a one-year, incentive-laden contract with the Red Sox during Spring Training. He was recovering from a flexor strain in his right arm at the time of the COVID-19 shutdown. 

To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handers Yonny Chirinos (recovery from Tommy John surgery) and Oliver Drake (right flexor tendon strain) were placed on the 60-day injured list.

This will be the 34-year-old Roe’s ninth Major League season and his fifth consecutive year with the Rays. Over the last four seasons in Tampa Bay, Roe has compiled a 3.54 ERA and 1.27 WHIP with 139 strikeouts in 119 1/3 innings over 151 appearances. In his career, he’s held righties to a .217/.302/.334 slash line.

The owner of one of baseball’s biggest breaking sliders in terms of horizontal movement, Roe has put together a 27.7% strikeout rate and 1.27 WHIP since the Rays acquired him from the Braves in July ’17. Roe was limited to only 10 appearances last year due to discomfort in his throwing elbow, and Tampa Bay decided in late August to shut him down for the remainder of the season. The Rays then waived Roe after the season, and he entered free agency.

Roe held a showcase to pitch in front of teams earlier this month, and by all accounts, looked like a healthy version of himself. That was enough to convince the Rays to bring him back into their bullpen mix.

The moves further solidify the Rays’ pitching depth, a hallmark of their recent success. Tampa Bay’s top returning relief options include Nick Anderson, Diego Castillo, Pete Fairbanks, Ryan Thompson, Ryan Sherriff, Cody Reed and Roe, along with a bunch of bulk-inning type arms, including Trevor Richards, and more recent additions like Chris Mazza, Jeffrey Springs and McHugh.

The Rays also have a deep group of starting-pitching options, having added veterans Chris Archer, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha this offseason to a group led by incumbents Tyler Glasnow and Ryan Yarbrough, as well as young arms like Josh Fleming, Shane McClanahan, Brent Honeywell Jr. and Luis Patiño.

“Since we’ve started to play well on the field and get good results, our depth has been as big a strength as anything for us,” manager Kevin Cash said Sunday morning. “Definitely on the pitching side. And I think we want to build that depth up as much as possible over the next five weeks, six weeks.”

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