The Tampa Bay Rays announced that they re-acquired right-hander Oliver Drake from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations on Friday.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) January 4, 2019
The Rays initially claimed Drake off waivers in November, yet designated him for assignment a couple of weeks later. Meanwhile, after being claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays, Toronto designated Drake for assignment last week in order to open a spot on the roster for southpaw Clayton Richard. In order to open a spot for Drake on the 40-man roster, Tampa Bay announced that right-hander Jaime Schultz has been designated for assignment.
Drake, 31, hasn’t had much success in his brief big league career, however, there are reasons to believe he could succeed in the near future. The right-hander has been rather unlucky over the past couple of seasons, having been staked to a .353 BABIP, albeit with an exceptional 47% swinging strike percentage. Drake worked to a 2.21 ERA with an impressive 3.3 K/BB ratio and a 50% ground-ball rate across 20-1/3 innings with the Twins — the only team with which he found real success.
Drake also saw MLB action with four other teams in 2018 (Blue Jays, Angels, Indians, Brewers), and he’s seen time with six Major League clubs over the past two seasons. Drake is out of minor league options, so he’ll need to break camp with Tampa Bay (or another club) next spring or else be exposed to waivers yet again.
Schultz, 27, was once considered one of Tampa Bay’s most promising MiLB arms. However, he struggled to a 5.64 ERA in 30-1/3 innings last season. Even though he racked up 35 strikeouts in the time, struggled mightily with command, issuing 17 walks and hit three batters. The right-hander also underperformed in Durham last season and hasn’t been able to consistently avoid a bloated walk rate in the upper minors.