Rays Claim Bligh Madris

The Rays announced Friday that they’ve claimed first baseman/outfielder Bligh Madris off waivers from the Pirates. He’s been optioned to Triple-A Durham. In order to open a spot on the 40-man roster, Tampa Bay transferred right-hander Ryan Thompson to the 60-day injured list due to triceps inflammation.

Madris, 26, made his big league debut with Pittsburgh earlier this season, appearing in 39 games but stumbling to a .177/.244/.265 batting line through his first 123 Major League plate appearances. The lefty-swinging Madris, however, has been far better in Triple-A Indianapolis, where he’s posted a .294/.366/.482 batting line in 2022 (124 wRC+). Because he was just selected to the 40-man roster this season, Madris has two option years remaining beyond the current campaign.

Beyond veteran David Peralta, the Rays’ outfield mix is primarily right-handed at the moment. Each of Jose Siri, Manuel Margot and Randy Arozarena swing from the right side of the dish. Tampa Bay has given left-handed-hitting infielder Jonathan Aranda a handful of looks in left field at the minor league level this season, but he’s yet to play the outfield in the Majors. Madris won’t be dropped directly into that mix just yet, but he’s posted a decent .261/.336/.449 against righties this season, so perhaps he’ll get a look as a platoon option at some point before season’s end. He won’t be eligible for any postseason consideration, however, as he wasn’t in the organization prior to Sept. 1.

As for Thompson, he only went on the injured list in late August, so today’s move to the 60-day IL formally ends his season. A Rule 5 pick out of the Astros organization back in 2018, Thompson has risen to be an important member of the Rays’ bullpen. He’s tossed 42 2/3 innings of 3.80 ERA ball this year and, dating back to 2021, carries an overall 3.17 ERA with a 24.1% strikeout rate 6.3% walk rate and 50% ground-ball rate in 76 2/3 innings of relief work. He’s picked up 21 holds and three saves in that time, drawing high-leverage work with increasing frequency.

Thompson will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The Rays can control him through the 2025 season, but he can now be officially ruled out for the remainder of the current season and for any postseason games Tampa Bay might play.

Published at Fri, 16 Sep 2022 19:39:07 +0000