Rays trade two, DFA three, add five to 40-man roster

By JOSH VITALE, SunCoast Sports

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Tampa Bay Rays finalized their 40-man roster late Thursday night, trading relievers Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore to the Los Angeles Dodgers, designating catcher Jose Molina, infielder Cole Figueroa and right-hander Michael Kohn for assignment and adding second baseman Ryan Brett, right-hander Matt Andriese, left-hander Grayson Garvin, outfielder Mikie Mahtook and catcher Justin O’Conner to the 40-man roster.

Here’s the full press release on all the Rays’ moves:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In advance of Thursday night’s reserve list deadline, the Tampa Bay Rays have completed a series of transactions. The Rays acquired right-handed pitcher Jose Dominguez and minor league right-handed pitcher Greg Harris from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Joel Peralta and minor league left-handed pitcher Adam Liberatore. The club designated infielder Cole Figueroa, right-handed pitcher Michael Kohn and catcher Jose Molina for assignment. To bring the 40-man roster to its full capacity, the Rays added Dominguez and selected five other players: right-handed pitcher Matt Andriese, infielder Ryan Brett, left-handed pitcher Grayson Garvin, outfielder Mikie Mahtook and catcher Justin O’Conner.

“Joel’s significance to the Rays transcended his on-field performance. He was a clubhouse leader who always sought ways to make the organization better,” said President, Baseball Operations Matt Silverman. “We thank him and Jose Molina for their contributions and veteran leadership, and we will wish them well in their futures.”

“The roster deadline is always a busy day, and today we added six new players with very bright futures to our 40-man roster,” said Vice President, Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom. “We also welcome Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris to the Rays. They’re intriguing pitchers—a reliever with electric stuff and a young starting pitching prospect—and we look forward to their contributions in the years to come.”

Dominguez, 24, made the Dodgers Opening Day Roster and combined to make five appearances over four stints with Los Angeles in 2014, his second year of major league action. With Triple-A Albuquerque, he went 1-2 with 10 saves, a 3.24 ERA (33.1-IP, 12-ER) and 39 strikeouts in 31 appearances. He last pitched for the Isotopes on July 25, and returned from the disabled list to pitch twice for Short-A Ogden in September. Over seven minor league seasons, he has a career 4.25 ERA and has averaged 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

Harris, 20, spent the 2014 season with Class-A Great Lakes and went 7-6 with a 4.45 ERA (87-IP, 43-ER) in 22 games (16 starts). He was selected by the Dodgers in the 17th round of the 2013 June Draft. In two minor league seasons, he is 9-9 with a 4.69 ERA.

Andriese (ANN-dreese), 25, spent the 2014 season at Triple-A Durham, going 11-8 with a 3.77 ERA (162.1-IP, 68-ER) in 28 appearances (25 starts). In his first year in the Rays system, he ranked second among Rays minor leaguers and fourth in the International League with 129 strikeouts, and his 11 wins tied for second among Rays farmhands. Over four minor league seasons, he is 37-24 with a 3.38 ERA. He was acquired from the San Diego Padres in a seven-player trade following the 2013 season. 

Brett, 23, was named Double-A Montgomery’s 2014 Most Valuable Player by the Rays Baseball Operations department while earning spots on both the Southern League midseason and postseason All-Star teams. Brett hit .303 (128-for-422) with 25 doubles, eight home runs, 38 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 107 games, ranking among SL leaders in batting average (fourth) and stolen bases (third). Following the season, he was named Best Defensive Second Baseman in the SL by Baseball America. He has compiled a career .297 batting average over five minor league seasons. He was selected by the Rays in the third round of the 2010 June Draft.

Garvin, 25, spent the 2014 season at Montgomery, going 1-8 with a 3.77 ERA (74-IP, 31-ER) over a career-high 20 starts. He was ranked by Baseball America as the Rays No. 16 prospect entering the 2014 season. The lefthander has a career 3.75 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 148.2 innings pitched over three minor league seasons. He was selected by the Rays in the first round (59th overall) of the 2011 June Draft out of Vanderbilt University.

Mahtook (MAH-took), 24, hit .292 (143-for-489) with 12 home runs and 68 RBI in 132 games for Durham in 2014. He ranked among International League leaders in hits (143, 5th) and total bases (224, 4th). He was named Durham’s Most Valuable Player by the Rays Baseball Operations department while earning a spot on the IL midseason All-Star Team. Mahtook led Rays minor leaguers in RBI, and led the Bulls with 18 stolen bases, tied for second in home runs and set career highs in doubles, homers, RBI and games played. Following the season, he was tabbed by Baseball America as having the best Strike-Zone Judgment in the International League. He was selected by the Rays in the first round (31st overall) of the 2011 June Draft out of Louisiana State University and owns a career .274 batting average in three minor league seasons.

O’Conner, 22, split the 2014 season between Class-A Charlotte and Montgomery, combining to hit .278 (111-for-399) with 12 home runs and 47 RBI in 101 games. Between the two levels, he threw out 33 of 60 (55 percent) potential base stealers, leading to his recognition by the Rays Baseball Operations department as Defensive Player of the Year. O’Conner named to the Florida State League’s midseason All-Star Team and also represented the U.S. Team in the Futures Game at Minnesota’s Target Field in July. Following the season, he batted .303 (20-for-66) in 17 games for the Peoria Javelinas, was named to the Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars Game and hit two home runs in the AFL championship game. He was selected by the Rays in the first round (31st overall) of the 2010 June Draft.

Peralta, 38, spent the last four seasons (2011-14) with the Rays and during that time established club records with 296 appearances and 115 holds. He led the majors in appearances in that span, and ranked second in holds to Tyler Clippard (124) of the Washington Nationals.

Liberatore, 27, spent the 2014 season at Durham, going 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA (65-IP, 12-ER) and 86 strikeouts in 54 appearances. Following the season, he was named the organization’s Best Relief Pitcher by the Rays Baseball Operations department.

Figueroa, 27, split the 2014 season between Triple-A Durham and the Rays, making his major league debut in his seventh professional season.

Kohn, 28, had a 3.04 ERA (23.2-IP, 8-ER) in 25 appearances for the Angels in 2014 before being optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake. He was signed by the Rays as a free agent on October 16.

Molina, 39, made 70 starts at catcher in 2014, leading the Rays for the third straight season. The 15-year veteran is a career .233 hitter and has caught 33.6 percent of attempted base stealers, fourth-best rate among active catchers.

Follow Josh on Twitter @JoshVitale

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