The Tampa Bay Rays could be in trouble come October.
Two of their more promising pitchers had already been lost for the year. Both Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen were lost for the season due to Tommy John surgery. Then, on Tuesday, Jeff Passan from ESPN reported that Shane McClanahan is “highly unlikely” to pitch again this season. In fact, McClanahan’s injury is considered to be the worst of all of the Rays’ pitching injuries.
Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff already in trouble next year
The Rays are already feeling the effects of these injuries. Their hot start has faded, leaving them two games behind the Orioles in the AL East entering Thursday. But that is to be expected when three of their top starters are out of commission at the same time that the lineup has taken a step backwards.
The issue is that these injuries will resonate into next year as well. Springs is likely to return around the middle of 2024. Rasmussen had an internal brace procedure on his elbow and is hopeful to return at approximately the same time. However, that is not necessarily a guarantee depending on how his elbow reacts to the brace. McClanahan, if this injury is that bad, may be lost for the entirety of next year.
The cupboard is not bare in Tampa Bay. Zach Eflin, Tyler Glasnow, and Aaron Civale provide a solid trio atop the rotation. The Rays also have plenty of prospects, such as Taj Bradley, Shane Baz, and Mason Montgomery, who could step in next season. However, there are plenty of questions with that group as well. Baz missed this season due to his own Tommy John surgery and Glasnow is not exactly a bastion of health.
Ultimately, injuries may keep the Rays from their first title. Losing those pitchers may be too much for them to overcome. And that could be a problem for 2024 as well, especially given the relative fragility of the rest of the pitching staff. Add in several unproven rookies, and the Rays could have a problem next year as well.
The Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff has taken a tremendous hit. They could be feeling the repercussions throughout next year.