My baseball fandom has always been quite peculiar. Living in Toronto, I was a Tampa Bay Rays fan through a couple of their quality seasons and a handful of awful seasons. I wasn’t a fan of the players per se, but rather a fan of Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon. I’m not entirely sure that I was even a fan but I loved following the team. If you measure fandom by dollars spent, I bought the hat. I loved that hat and all of the random tuberculosis comments that followed a “TB” hat. Great hat. Chewed by a dog. RIP.
I mention this because the Tampa Bay Rays are really Tampa Bay Raying the 2017 season. Despite a 4.06 ERA since his promotion to AAA, Brent Honeywell’s 2017 has been absolutely amazing. He’s almost striking out one-third of the batters he faced, while only walking just under 7% of them.
After his Future’s Game MVP performance, I’d argue that Honeywell has jumped to the front of the line. Nevermind Blake Snell, Jose De Leon, Taylor Guerreri, Jaime Schultz or 27-year-old Austin Pruitt. Brent Honeywell is ostensibly better than them all. If he was part of any other organization, he probably would’ve been up months ago.
Brent Honeywell isn’t on the 40-man roster, though. This means that to bring him up, even if it’s just a September call-up, someone has to get hurt for the year and transferred to the 60-day disabled list -or- someone has to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Honeywell.
I’m not familiar enough with Tampa’s 40-man to make suggestions, but 2017 is a great year for the Rays to make a push, so delaying simply because you might lose the last guy on your 40-man is the Tampa Bay philosophy taken to an extreme. Burning an option next spring training shouldn’t be too large of a concern given Honeywell’s talent either.
The only conceivable reason that Honeywell has been kept off the 40-man is to keep his clock from starting and that’s a tough pill to swallow in the heat of a wild card race.
Oh, and Honeywell has a screwball.