The Rays are specifically not naming Anderson (or anyone else) the closer, John Romano of The Tampa Bay Times reports. "We've tried to stay away from naming specific roles because we think it's a benefit to our club to be able to be versatile and prioritize matchups," manager Kevin Cash said. "But there's no way you can doubt the value of how challenging getting the last three outs of the game is." The Rays had 11 pitchers record saves last year, but Anderson wasn't one of them. Yet following the Emilio Pagan trade, he's the favorite to inherit at least the majority part of the role, but given the Rays' approach to the role, perhaps a little caution is advised, despite his excellent skills.
Anderson was able to get long-toss work in at Tropicana Field on Monday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Anderson was joined by bullpen mates such as Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo at the Trop for some informal, small-group workouts. The hard-throwing right-hander had high expectations for the 2020 season in spring training; however, with what appears to be a modest 60-game campaign realistically on the horizon as of late Monday night, Anderson may share closing duties frequently with Alvarado and perhaps even Castillo depending on how manager Kevin Cash opts to manage his relievers under the unique circumstances.
Anderson was "in line to get the bulk of the save opportunities" for the Rays this season before spring training was suspended, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. It's worth noting that the above quote is an observation from Topkin and not a comment from manager Kevin Cash, but the report is probably the clearest indication we'll get that Anderson is the top Rays reliever to own for fantasy purposes. Cash's tendency to play matchups in the ninth inning means that the likes of Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado could still scoop the occasional save chance, though Anderson's presumed status as Option 1A for closing situations should help alleviate some of the reservations fantasy managers may have had in investing in him. Anderson didn't record a save after coming over from Miami in a July 31 trade last season, but he was arguably the majors' best reliever over the final two months, posting a ridiculous 45.5 K-BB% and 2.11 ERA in 21.1 innings with the Rays.
Anderson, who's projected to have a part in closing duties this season, has fired four scoreless, one-hit innings across four appearances in Grapefruit League play. The right-hander saw his path to closing opportunities open when Emilio Pagan was traded to the Padres, and his performance during the first half of spring training has only reinforced the notion that he's up to the task of high-leverage work. Anderson boasts a high-90s fastball that dovetails nicely with ninth-inning duties, and his elite 110:18 K:BB across 65 innings with the Rays and Marlins last season underscores the excellent control he also brings to the table.
Anderson will be an option to close after the Rays traded Emilio Pagan to San Diego last weekend, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Anderson reached a new level after joining Tampa Bay from Miami at last year's deadline, posting a 2.11 ERA and 41:2 K:BB in 21.1 innings. He was a fairly popular speculative pick in fantasy even before the Pagan trade, and his price will likely soar from here, though it's important to keep in mind the team's tendency to mix and match in the late innings -- 11 players earned saves for the Rays last year, with six earning multiple saves. Diego Castillo, Chaz Roe, Oliver Drake, Colin Poche, Jose Alvarado and Peter Fairbanks will all be in the mix as well.
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