Rays add RHP Yacksel Ríos on Minors deal

January 22nd, 2021

The Rays have added another reliever to their Spring Training roster competition, with former Phillies and Pirates right-hander signing a Minor League deal that includes an invitation to big league camp.

Ríos’ agent, Gavin Kahn, announced the deal on Twitter with a photo of the 27-year-old signing his contract. The Rays have not officially announced the agreement.

Ríos only made three appearances for Pittsburgh last year. He began the season at the Pirates’ alternate training site, joined the big league club on Aug. 3 and pitched four innings over three games before he was placed on the injured list due to right shoulder inflammation. The club announced on Sept. 9 that Ríos had been shut down from throwing due to a setback in his rehabilitation and transferred him to the 45-day IL on Sept. 21. He was outrighted off the Pirates’ 40-man roster on Oct. 30 and became a free agent.

Ríos got back on the mound in his native Puerto Rico this offseason, playing winter ball for Indios de Mayagüez.

In parts of four seasons in the Majors, Ríos has put together a 6.36 ERA and 1.60 WHIP over 66 appearances. He’s averaged nearly a strikeout per inning, with 68 in 69 1/3 innings, but allowed 77 hits, 14 homers and 34 walks. Philadelphia selected him in the 12th round of the 2011 Draft, and he debuted with the Phillies on Aug. 22, 2017. Pittsburgh claimed him off waivers on Aug. 3, 2019.

Ríos throws hard, with a fastball that averaged around 96 mph in 2018-19, and rounds out his arsenal with a curveball, changeup and slider. He is set to join right-handers David Hess, Andrew Kittredge, Phoenix Sanders and Tyler Zombro, lefties Dietrich Enns and Kenny Rosenberg, and catchers Joseph Odom and Kevan Smith on the Rays’ list of Spring Training non-roster invitees.

Longtime head groundskeeper to lead Charlotte Sports Park operations
The Rays announced on Thursday that Dan Moeller, entering his 24th season with the team and his 20th as Tampa Bay’s head groundskeeper, will take on additional responsibilities for the operations at Charlotte Sports Park while maintaining his current role at Tropicana Field and the club’s Spring Training facility.

Officially, Moeller will now be the Rays’ head groundskeeper and Charlotte Sports Park’s director of operations.

“Dan has long contributed to the success of our organization as head groundskeeper,” Rays president Matt Silverman said in a statement. “His skills and character are a great fit to also take on our management of Charlotte Sports Park.”

The Rays moved their Class A team from Port Charlotte, Fla., to Charleston, S.C., but will still have a lot happening at Charlotte Sports Park throughout the year. Moeller’s new duties include year-round management of security, ticketing, promotions, sponsorships and budget, in addition to field maintenance, landscaping and coordination of Major League and Minor League Spring Training. He will also direct the Rays’ extended spring workouts, Gulf Coast League and instructional league programs at Charlotte Sports Park as well as county-sponsored tournaments held there.

Along with his work at Tropicana Field and in Port Charlotte, Moeller serves as an advisor and consultant for the Rays’ academy in the Dominican Republic and their community field renovation program.

“I’m honored to take on this role at our facility in Port Charlotte,” Moeller said. “I look forward to working with the Charlotte Sports Park personnel and further strengthening the relationship between the Rays organization and Charlotte County.”