Injuries & Moves: Luplow dealt to D-backs

November 27th, 2021

The Rays’ offseason began on Oct. 12, the day after their loss to the Red Sox in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. But Tampa Bay's front office will be busy throughout the winter, making moves and monitoring injuries to get the club ready for Spring Training.

Keep track here of the Rays' transactions and rehabbing players' progress throughout the offseason.

ROSTER MOVES

Nov. 26: Traded 1B/OF for Minor League INF Ronny Simon
Dealing away Luplow removed one of the Rays’ arbitration-eligible players and opened a spot on their previously full 40-man roster prior to the Nov. 30 non-tender deadline. Tampa Bay still has 15 arb-eligible players and plenty of options at first base and in the outfield, and Luplow -- acquired from Cleveland prior to this year’s Trade Deadline -- was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $1.5 million next year while mostly playing a reserve role.

Simon, 21, hit .245/.329/.454 with 17 homers, 23 doubles, 63 RBIs and 19 steals in 97 games between Low-A Visalia and High-A Hillsboro last season. He’s a career .263/.350/.466 hitter with 20 homers, 96 RBIs and 38 stolen bases over three Minor League seasons between the D-backs' and Cubs' systems. The Cubs signed the switch-hitting infielder as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July 2018 and traded him to Arizona as the player to be named later in an August 2020 trade for left-hander Andrew Chafin.

Nov. 19: Selected INF , C/INF , RHP Calvin Faucher, RHP
The Rays added these four players to their 40-man roster before the deadline to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 Draft. None of the moves came as a surprise. Faucher and Romero are seemingly in line to contribute to the big league pitching staff next year after performing well down the stretch for Triple-A Durham. Aranda had a breakout season at the plate, earning Double-A Montgomery’s team MVP award. And Proctor is an intriguing utility man with on-base skills at the plate and the unique ability to play good defense behind the plate and anywhere in the infield.

Nov. 19: Traded RHP to the A’s for cash considerations
Needing to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for their prospects, the Rays sent Honeywell -- once one of the game’s top pitching prospects -- to an A’s team where he should have the opportunity to pitch regularly. Honeywell made his long-awaited MLB debut for the Rays in April but didn’t spend much more time with Tampa Bay, although he pitched well in Triple-A Durham. The righty will be out of options next year, so it would have been difficult for the Rays to keep him on their roster.

Nov. 19: Traded Minor League RHP Tobias Myers to the Guardians for Minor League INF Junior Caminero
Myers would have been eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if left off the Rays’ 40-man roster. Considering his performance and proximity to the Majors, he would have been a candidate to be selected by another club. Rather than risk losing him for nothing, Tampa Bay flipped Myers to Cleveland for Caminero, an intriguing 18-year-old who hit .295/.380/.534 with nine homers, 20 walks and 28 strikeouts in 43 games in the Dominican Summer League this past season.

Nov. 19: Unconditionally released LHP
Enns was lights-out for Triple-A Durham this year and handled himself well when the Rays called upon him down the stretch. But the lefty would have been out of options next year, making it difficult for Tampa Bay to keep him on the roster, and he was presented with an opportunity (and a guaranteed contract) to pitch in Japan next year. Knowing they needed to create open spots on the 40-man roster, the Rays allowed Enns to pursue that opportunity and released him.

INJURY UPDATES

LHP Brendan McKay (thoracic outlet syndrome surgery)
Expected return:
Early 2022
McKay, who hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2019, underwent thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) decompression surgery on Nov. 23. The operation was performed by Dr. Greg Pearl in Dallas. McKay, a two-way standout in college who also hit in the Minors, will focus on rehabbing as a pitcher, according to the Rays, with the expectation that he will resume throwing no later than early February. The plan is to have the 25-year-old McKay begin a throwing program and mound progression at the start of Spring Training.

It’s been a frustrating, injury-riddled stretch for McKay, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft who finished the season as the Rays’ No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline. The lefty sat out all of '20 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery, made it back for seven appearances in the Minors between June and mid-August, missed the rest of the season due to a flexor strain and then required surgery to address TOS. Due to his spate of injuries, McKay is expected to receive a fourth Minor League option year in 2022. (Last updated: Nov. 24)

CF (right knee surgery)
Expected return:
Spring Training
Kiermaier underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Nov. 3 to address a small meniscus tear, according to the Rays. He was set to start a rehabilitation program two days after the operation, which was performed by Dr. Koco Eaton in St. Petersburg, before returning to full activity in four to six weeks. That means Kiermaier, the Rays’ longest-tenured player, will be fully prepared for Spring Training in 2022. (Last updated: Nov. 3)

1B/OF (left ankle surgery)
Expected return:
Start of Spring Training
Luplow underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle on Oct. 19, an operation performed by Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay, Wisc. Luplow’s left ankle was an issue all season, as he was placed on the injured list in late May while still with Cleveland due to a sprain that sidelined him until July 30, when he was traded to Tampa Bay. He returned to the IL in August with a recurrence of that ankle issue, which tended to flare up when he landed on his left foot while hitting, and he acknowledged it was something he’d have to manage the rest of the season. Luplow, a right-handed hitter and the kind of platoon bat the Rays covet, is expected to be 100 percent ready for the start of Spring Training. (Last updated: Oct. 19)

RHP (right elbow surgery)
Expected return:
Second half of the 2022 season
Anderson, sidelined from late March until mid-September by a partially torn UCL, underwent right elbow surgery on Oct. 27. The operation, performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas, repaired Anderson’s UCL with an internal brace procedure, according to the Rays. Anderson is expected to be sidelined from throwing for three to four months, and his expected return to game action is after the 2022 All-Star break. (Last updated: Oct. 28)

RHP (right shoulder inflammation)
Expected return:
Spring Training 2022
Thompson underwent thoracic outlet syndrome decompression surgery, performed on Sept. 30 by Dr. Greg Pearl in Dallas. The righty is expected to be healthy and ready for Spring Training if his recovery goes well. Lefty Cody Reed had a similar surgery and returned to game action in less than four months. (Last updated: Oct. 13)

LHP (right knee sprain)
Expected return: 2022
Springs exited the Rays’ game against the Red Sox on July 31 when his right knee buckled underneath him as he attempted to field Rafael Devers' bunt at third base. He experienced continued discomfort during his attempts to rehab the injury, and Dr. Koco Eaton performed surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL in his right knee on Aug. 16. (Last updated: Aug. 16)

RHP  (right elbow surgery)
Expected return: Early 2022
Nearing the end of his Tommy John rehabilitation, Chirinos sustained a right elbow fracture while throwing off the mound in September. He had surgery later that month, which likely sets him back a few weeks heading into Spring Training. Chirinos could be ready to pitch at some point in April or May, if his recovery goes well. He was removed from the 60-day injured list and reinstated to the Rays' 40-man roster on Nov. 7. (Last updated: Nov. 7)

RHP (UCL tear/flexor strain)
Expected return: Likely 2023
Glasnow, out since June 14, underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 4, with Dr. Keith Meister performing the operation in Arlington, Texas. He is expected to miss likely all of the 2022 season before returning in 2023, his last year of club control. After throwing off the mound for the first time since going on the injured list, Glasnow knew he couldn’t continue to pitch with that level of discomfort and prepared himself for season-ending surgery. (Last updated: Aug. 4)