The Tampa Bay Rays have claimed starting pitcher Chase Whitley off waivers from the New York Yankees, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
#Rays claim RHP Chase Whitley on waivers from #Yankees.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 20, 2015
Whitley, 26, made four spot starts for the Yankees in 2015, going 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA through 19.1 innings of work. But Whitley's season ended prematurely as an elbow injury on May 14 forced him onto the disabled list. The right-hander underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, thus putting him out of action for approximately 12-16 months, as previously reported by VAVEL.
Ironically, Whitley suffered his elbow injury at Tropicana Field in 2015, the home ballpark of the Rays. Therefore, Whitley could potentially return to the action on the same mound he injured his elbow just one year prior.
Hailing from Alabama, Whitley made his Major League debut in 2014, making a spot start against the New York Mets. Mets' flamethrower Jacob deGrom also made his debut in that game. The Yankees won the game by a score of 1-0 behind 4.2 solid innings from Whitley, who did not earn the victory in the game. (boxscore via ESPN).
After his debut outing, Whitley bounced around between the rotation and the bullpen, finishing his rookie campaign with a 4-3 record and 5.23 ERA in 24 games (12 starts). For his career. Whitley sports a 5-5 record with 5.02 ERA in 95 career innings.
The Yankees drafted Whitley in the 15th round of the 2010 draft, so this will be his first taste of action outside the Yankees' organization.
Since he is not expected to be ready at the beginning of 2016, Whitley will likely serve as depth for the Rays' pitching staff heading into mid-to-late summer. Outside of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb, the backend of the Rays' rotation is filled with question marks heading in 2016.
Much like the Rays, the Yankees also have a ton of question marks surrounding their rotation next season. Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda all enter 2016 with uncertainty surrounding their health and expected production. But the Yankees obviously deemed Whitley expendable as the team still has young flamethrower Luis Severino and swingman Adam Warren on its roster.
The deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters in lieu of the Rule 5 draft was today.