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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Rays’ Pitching Factory Turns Out Latest Bargain Ace

  • Shane McClanahan leads MLB in strikeouts (98) and is the co-favorite for the AL Cy Young (+400).
  • He is making just $711,400 this season.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Few MLB teams get more value out of their pitching staff than the Rays — and their latest ace could prove one of their greatest success stories.

On Thursday, Shane McClanahan allowed an unearned run, two hits, and a walk in Tampa Bay’s 2-1 win over the Cardinals — plus another nine K’s for an MLB-best 98 strikeouts.

The 25-year-old McClanahan — who’s pre-arbitration until 2024 and making just $711,400 this season — is yet another testament to a Rays pitching factory that develops big talent on a budget.

  • Tyler Glasnow (recovering from Tommy John surgery) is making a modest $5.1M in his third arbitration season.
  • Shane Baz — expected to make his 2022 debut Saturday — is pre-arbitration until 2025.
  • Luis Patiño (pre-arbitration until 2024) came to Tampa in a trade for another Rays ace, Blake Snell, who was dealt before the lion’s share of a 5 YR/$50M extension kicked in.

The tradition continues with McClanahan: The 31st overall pick in 2018 has fanned seven-plus in 11 of 12 outings, leads the AL in innings pitched (72.1), and co-leads MLB in wins (7).

Now, he could be next in line for pitching’s highest honor: He is currently the co-favorite (+400) with Justin Verlander to win the AL Cy Young award.

If McClanahan keeps up his torrid pace, the Rays will once again have a spend-or-save decision on their hands.

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