The Rays announced the signing of right-hander Jacob Waguespack to a minor league deal. He’ll get a look in big league camp as a non-roster invitee.
Waguespack, an Ole Miss product, is familiar with the AL East. His MLB experience came with the Blue Jays between 2019-20. He started 13 of 18 appearances as a rookie, working to a 4.38 ERA over 78 innings. His follow-up season didn’t go as planned, as he surrendered 20 runs in 17 2/3 frames of relief. Toronto outrighted him from the roster during Spring Training in 2021.
After spending the ’21 season in Triple-A, Waguespack headed overseas. He signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. He found success in his first NPB campaign. In 72 2/3 innings spanning 32 games, he posted a 2.97 ERA with an impressive 26.2% strikeout rate. That led the Buffaloes to keep him around last year, but he struggled in his second season.
Waguespack allowed 5.77 earned runs per nine in 43 2/3 frames. Control was the main issue, as he walked almost 13% of opposing hitters. On the plus side, Waguespack continued to miss plenty of bats. He punched out a third of batters faced last season. Over his two-year tenure, he ran a strikeout rate above 29%.
The Rays will see if the 30-year-old can carry some of that swing-and-miss stuff against MLB hitters in Spring Training. He’ll likely open the season with Triple-A Durham as a long relief depth hurler. The Rays frequently shuttle multi-inning bullpen arms between Durham and Tampa Bay. Waguespack still has a pair of options, so the Rays could move him freely to the minors if he earns a spot on the 40-man roster at any point.