Anderson is a right-handed reliever who will fit into the Rays’ bullpen. In 45 appearances this season, he has a 3.92 ERA and has 69 strikeouts in just 43 2/3 innings. The 29-year old has a 2.72 FIP and only 16 walks this season.
His fastball velocity ranks in the 89th percentile, and his 37.1 strikeout percentage is in the top three percent in the Majors.
“The fastball/breaking ball mix and the fastball play big,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “High end, elite-level strikeouts, keeps his walks down, and we look forward to having him in our big league bullpen. We believe this is someone that can make a big impact for us, not just for this year, but for years to come.”
With the team looking to add bullpen help, the decision to trade Stanek came as a surprise. The right-hander opened 27 games among his 41 appearances this season, posting a 3.40 ERA.
But the Rays believed that moving Stanek and Sanchez to Miami was a way for the club to acquire two arms that it believes can contribute over the next few seasons, with Anderson likely to get responsibilities as one of the late-inning options for Rays manager Kevin Cash.
“We set out to improve our bullpen and the back end, and Nick Anderson, the more we dug into it, the more we thought that there was high-end, back-end potential,” Neander said.
As for Richards, the Rays are still unsure if the right-hander will go to Triple-A Durham or if he’ll join the big league club. Despite making 20 starts this season, going 3-12 with a 4.50 ERA, Richards has made three consecutive relief appearances and the Rays want to build him back up as a starter moving forward.
With Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow on the injured list, the Rays were running thin in rotation depth, so adding Richards should help while they await Snell’s return to the rotation.
“I don’t know what our plan is with him stretching out,” Cash said. “We’re just trying to get logistics of everybody, finding out when they can get here, packing up families and stuff like that.”
While the return is something the Rays are excited about, it cost them a big league reliever and a top prospect. Neander said that adding Sanchez to the deal was “hard,” and a reason why the deal went down to the wire.
Sanchez, who was on the 40-man roster, became a tradeable piece as the team looked to clear space. He was recently promoted to Triple-A Durham, where he hit .206 with one home run in 18 games. The 40-man roster now stands at 38.
“This time of year, there are prices to be paid, and there could be big prices, and you have to take a jump at some point to do it or you don’t,” Neander said. “This is one that we decided to make a jump, but certainly difficult to depart with Ryne. Not just for the talent, but with the support he’s had along the way with some of the things we’ve tried to do.”
More deals made on Wednesday
While the acquisitions of Jesus Aguilar from Milwaukee and the deal to land Anderson and Richards took center stage, the Rays completed three other trades before the Trade Deadline arrived.
Most notably, the Rays traded left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek to the Dodgers in exchange for Minor League outfielder Niko Hulsizer. Kolarek went 4-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 54 appearances with the Rays this season.
“The Rays were the first team that gave me a chance at the Major League level,” Kolarek said. “The relationships I have with coaches, teammates are super close relationships, couldn’t be more thankful for [pitching coach Kyle Snyder].”
The Rays also traded outfielder Joe McCarthy to the Giants for Minor League pitcher Jacob Lopez, who has a 3.02 ERA in nine starts at Class A.
Kiermaier activated, Wendle to the IL
Before Wednesday’s game vs. the Red Sox, the Rays activated center fielder Kevin Kiermaier from the injured list and placed infielder Joey Wendle on the 10-day IL with right wrist inflammation.
Wendle felt some pain after taking a swing in Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. After feeling the pain over the last few days, Wendle underwent an MRI and received a cortisone shot, which landed him on the injured list.
It’s the same wrist that Wendle fractured earlier this season.
“It’s pretty sore now. It hurts when I swing, just to be frank,” Wendle said. “My wrist was feeling good and I was to the point where I felt like I was kind of over the hump with it, and then on Saturday, don’t know what happened, something moved or shifted or something funky in there and put me in some pretty good pain.”
The Rays are hoping that Wendle’s stint on the injured list is close to the minimum 10 days. In his absence, newly acquired Eric Sogard and Mike Brosseau will get the bulk of the time at second base.