HomeMLB RumorsRays Designate Niko Goodrum, Select Edwin Uceta

Rays Designate Niko Goodrum, Select Edwin Uceta

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The Rays made several roster moves today, as relayed by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times on X. They selected right-hander Edwin Uceta to the roster while optioning left-hander Jacob Lopez and designated infielder/outfielder Niko Goodrum for assignment in corresponding moves. The club also activated outfielder Josh Lowe from the injured list and optioned infielder Curtis Mead.

Goodrum, 32, signed a minor league deal with the Twins this winter but was flipped to the Rays just before Opening Day. Tampa was about to start the year with a number of position players on the injured list, including Lowe, Taylor Walls, Jonathan Aranda and Jonny DeLuca. Since the season started, Brandon Lowe also went on the IL, further thinning their position player depth.

But Goodrum wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunity, though it was quite limited. He received 18 plate appearances over nine games at the big league level, hitting .188/.235 /.188 in those. He’s spent more time on optional assignment in Triple-A, where he has performed much better. He stepped to the plate 45 times over nine games for the Bulls and hit .316/.422/.605, but that wasn’t enough to hold onto his roster spot.

The Rays will now have a week to trade Goodrum or pass him through waivers. He was a solid regular for the Tigers back in 2018 and 2019 but his production tailed off in the following three seasons. He hit .247/.318/.427 over 2018 and 2019 with 24 steals, but he then hit .196/.271/.334 over the following three campaigns.

There’s been some encouraging results in the past year-plus. He hit .280/.448/.440 for Boston’s Triple-A club last year before going to Korea, where he hit .295/.373/.387 for the KBO’s Lotte Giants. As mentioned, the results weren’t there at the big league so far this year but the Triple-A production was good. Since he still can be optioned to the minors, perhaps he will intrigue a rival club who would like to option him to the minors.

The Rays leaned heavily on their bullpen yesterday as starter Ryan Pepiot was hit by a comebacker and had to depart after just two innings. The club then used six relievers to cover eight innings, as the game eventually went 10 frames. The Rays only have two pitchers that are on the 40-man and on optional assignment rather than the injured list: Jacob Waguespack and Yoniel Curet. The latter has yet to even reach Double-A. The former tossed five innings on Thursday and may be needed to cover Pepiot’s spot in the rotation, depending on how he feels in the coming days.

All that led the club to go for a non-roster option in Uceta. He signed a minor league deal with the club back in December and has been pitching in Triple-A. He has thrown 18 innings over 10 outings with an unimpressive earned run average of 7.00, but with better peripherals. His 23.9% strikeout rate and 9.1% walk rate are both close to par, with a .370 batting average on balls in play and 55.6% strand rate pushing extra runs across the board.

He has 40 1/3 innings of previous major league experience with a 5.80 ERA, striking out 23.3% of opponents against an 11.9% walk rate. He is out of options and can’t be easily sent back down to the minors. But he has just over a year of service time and could be cheaply retained for future seasons if he manages to hold his roster spot through the end of the year.

The return of Lowe should also provide a boost to the club’s offense. He hit .292/.335/.500 for the club last year while also stealing 32 bases, but he suffered an oblique injury in Spring Training and started the season on the injured list. He was set to return just over a week ago before some hamstring tightness delayed him, but he will now finally make his 2024 debut.

With the various injuries in the club’s position player mix, Mead got plenty of playing time in the past few weeks but couldn’t capitalize on it. He hit .218/.269/.276 in his 94 plate appearances, only hitting one home run and only drawing walks at a 4.3% clip. He’ll now head down to the farm and try to get back on track.


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