Eddie Gamboa was a feel-good story in a largely forgettable Rays season, making his major league debut at 31 years of age and acquitting himself well over 13.1 innings. The right-hander managed a 1.35 ERA thanks in large part to a 89.7 percent strand rate, but it wasn't all luck. Gamboa has a solid track record in the areas of strikeout rate, HR/9 and WHIP over his long minor league career. However, a potential role in the Rays' 2017 bullpen remains far from assured given a crowded relief corps that performed reasonably well overall last season. Following a trade to the Rangers, he should have an opportunity to compete for a middle-relief spot, although he's more likely to start the season back at Triple-A given Texas' bullpen depth.
Gamboa was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on Monday. Gamboa was making a strong push for the 25-man roster before being sent down, as the 32-year-old posted a 2.12 ERA with 16 strikeouts across 17 spring innings. He'll likely spend the year as organizational depth, though it's possible he could be called up to serve in a bullpen role.
Gamboa gave up five hits and one walk while striking out six over five innings against the Mariners on Sunday. He was charged with two unearned runs. Gamboa, primarily a knuckleballer, incorporated his cutter to great success, although it's important to keep in mind that he was facing a Seattle lineup that was without most of its regulars. Regardless, Gamboa has put himself very much into contention for a spot on the Opening Day roster with his recent performance. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Gamboa could be used as a back-end starter or as a long man out of the bullpen. Mike Hauschild and Dillon Gee represent Gamboa's primary competition for a rotation spot with Andrew Cashner (shoulder), Tyson Ross (shoulder) and Chi Chi Gonzalez (elbow) all ailing.
Gamboa was traded to the Rangers for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Gamboa was DFA'd earlier Tuesday, and the Rays were able to trade him before he was exposed to waivers. The 32-year-old made his MLB debut last season, posting a 1.35 ERA across 13.1 innings, although these numbers are marred by a difficult 11:8 K:BB ratio. He'll likely serve as organizational bullpen depth for the Rangers in 2017.
Gamboa was designated for assignment Tuesday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. In order to make room for the newly-signed Nathan Eovaldi (elbow), Gamboa was dropped from the 40-man roster, and the Rays will now have 10 days to trade him or expose him to waivers. The 32-year-old didn't make his MLB debut until last season and turned in a 1.35 ERA over 13.1 innings, but a 11:8 K:BB ratio suggested that ERA wasn't reflective of his true talents. It's likely he'll go unclaimed off waivers and will remain in the organization as relief depth at Triple-A.
Gamboa's ERA stands at a stellar 1.59 despite having taken the loss to the White Sox on Wednesday, while the three innings he worked equaled his longest stint in his short major league career. The 31-year-old feel-good story is acquitting himself very well in his first taste of major league action after spending seven-plus seasons in the minors. Gamboa had only given up one earned run-- back in his first outing on Sep. 7 versus the Blue Jays-- prior to yielding a seventh-inning solo homer to Todd Frazier on Wednesday. He's been valuable in long relief situations, with four appearances of at least two innings. Although control has been in an issue in a couple of those outings, as evidenced by his 7:6 K:BB, Gamboa has certainly provided the Rays with reason to believe he can be a valuable innings-eater out of the bullpen in the same vein as Erasmo Ramirez. At minimum, he would appear to have done enough to be in the mix for a relief role come spring training.