The Tampa Bay Rays on Monday evening announced several transactions affecting members of the 2023 Durham Bulls roster. Pitchers Josh Fleming and Jalen Beeks were claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies, respectively. Catcher Blake Hunt and right-hander Michael Mercado, meanwhile, were acquired in trades by the
The Tampa Bay Rays on Monday evening announced several transactions affecting members of the 2023 Durham Bulls roster. Pitchers Josh Fleming and Jalen Beeks were claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies, respectively. Catcher Blake Hunt and right-hander Michael Mercado, meanwhile, were acquired in trades by the Seattle Mariners and Phillies, respectively. In addition, infielder Tristan Gray, outfielder Raimel Tapia and Cole Sulser were outrighted from Tampa Bay's 40-man roster and have become free agents.
Gray in 331 career contests with the Bulls over the last three seasons combined for a .233 average (274-1174), adding 179 runs, 59 doubles, five triples, 71 homers and 220 RBI along with a .774 OPS. He was part of Durham's Triple-A National championship-winning seasons in 2021 and 2022, which included a key three-run home run in the ninth inning of the 2022 Triple-A National Championship Game in Las Vegas. In 132 games this past season he hit .235 (110-468) with 71 runs, 25 doubles, one triple, 30 homers and 98 RBI. His 71 home runs in a Bulls uniform are second-most by a Bulls player in franchise history behind only Chris Richard.
Tapia, meanwhile, participated in 29 games with Durham during the 2023 campaign, posting a .269 average (28-104), adding 19 runs, three doubles, four homers and 11 RBI in addition to a .784 OPS. Sulser accumulated a 2-0 record and 3.86 ERA (18.2 IP) across 12 appearances in his second stint with the Bulls after previously pitching in 49 games with Durham during the 2019 campaign, tallying a 6-3 mark and 3.27 ERA (66.0 IP).
Fleming during parts of four seasons with the Bulls from 2019-23 combined for a 12-6 record and 3.55 ERA (126.2 IP) in 40 appearances, including 17 starts, adding 89 strikeouts. In four postseason outings (two starts) for Durham he accrued a 2-1 clip and 3.38 ERA (16.0 IP) with 13 punchouts. Beeks pitched with the Bulls during portions of the 2019 and 2023 campaigns, combining for a 2-2 record and 3.96 ERA (36.1 IP) with 37 strikeouts over his 23 outings (four starts).
Hunt played in 30 games for Durham over the course of the 2023 season, batting .263 (30-114) along with 18 runs, 11 doubles, six homers and 23 RBI in addition to an .835 OPS before missing the rest of the year due to injury. His most memorable game came on June 18, smashing three home runs while driving in six RBI at Durham Bulls Athletic Park against Charlotte. In exchange for Hunt, the Tampa Bay Rays acquired minor league catcher Tatem Levins. Mercado in 28 appearances (two starts) with the Bulls in 2023 accumulated a 2-2 record and 4.99 ERA (39.2 IP) with 56 strikeouts.
In addition to these moves, the Tampa Bay Rays reinstated seven players from the 60-day Injured List and selected right-hander Manuel Rodriguez to the 40-man roster. The Rays' 40-man roster now stands at 39 players.