The Tampa Bay Rays were temporarily left with literally zero starting pitchers after a slew of injuries and a major trade

  • The Tampa Bay Rays were temporarily left without a single starting pitcher on their active roster after trading away ace Chris Archer ahead of the deadline.
  • While most teams might see this as a problem, the Rays have embraced unorthodox pitching arrangements all season.
  • The Rays' willingness to throw traditional baseball methodology out the window has made them one of the most compelling teams to watch.
     

With the AL East now a two-horse race between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays were left to try and reload at the deadline, trading away ace starter Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for younger talents Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow.

While there's nothing strange about a team that is out of the playoff hunt trading away their top pitcher, the move did put the Rays in a rather odd position — thanks to Archer's departure and a slew of injuries, Tampa Bay was left without a single true starting pitcher on their roster.

Coming into the 2018 season, the Rays had just three true starting pitchers on their roster — Archer, Jake Faria, and Blake Snell. The day that Archer was traded, both Faria and Snell were already on the 10-day DL, leaving the Rays without a single starter.

The problem didn't last long, as Faria was ready to return to the team just a day later, but in all likelihood, the Rays didn't see the situation as much of a problem either way.

After the Rays' top three starting pitchers, they have been quite experimental on the mound this year, using platoons of middle and long relievers to get through games. They even toyed with the idea of an "opening" pitcher, with reliever Sergio Romo became the first pitcher since 1980 to start and pitch at least one inning on consecutive days earlier in the year.

Related: See more players dealt at the deadline: 

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MLB players moved at the 2018 trade deadline
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MLB players moved at the 2018 trade deadline

2B Ian Kinsler

Former team: Los Angeles Angels
New team: Boston Red Sox

(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

3B Manny Machado

Former team: Baltimore Orioles
New team: Los Angeles Dodgers

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

RP Zach Britton

Former team: Baltimore Orioles
New team: New York Yankees

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

RP Jeurys Familia

Former team: New York Mets 
New team: Oakland Athletics

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

SP Nathan Eovaldi

Former team: Tampa Bay Rays
New Team: Boston Red Sox

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

SP J.A. Happ

Former team: Toronto Blue Jays
New team: New York Yankees

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

INF Eduardo Escobar

Former team: Minnesota Twins
New team: Arizona Diamondbacks

(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

INF Asdrubal Cabrera

Former team: New York Mets
New team: Philadelphia Phillies

(Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

C Martin Maldonado

Former team: Los Angeles Angels
New team: Houston Astros

(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

RP Roberto Osuna

Former team: Toronto Blue Jays
New team: Houston Astros

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

RP Jonny Venters

Former team: Tampa Bay Rays
New team: Atlanta Braves

(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

RP Brad Hand

Former team: San Diego Padres
New team: Cleveland Indians

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

INF Brandon Drury

Former team: New York Yankees
New team: Toronto Blue Jays

(Photo by Jeff Chevrier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

RP Brad Brach

Former team: Baltimore Orioles
New team: Atlanta Braves

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

RP Chasen Shreve

Former team: New York Yankees
New team: St. Louis Cardinals

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

RP Joakim Soria

Former team: Chicago White Sox
New team: Milwaukee Brewers

(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

RP Seunghwan Oh

Former team: Toronto Blue Jays
New team: Colorado Rockies

(Photograph by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

3B Mike Moustakas

Former team: Kansas City Royals
New team: Milwaukee Brewers

(John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)

INF Brett Phillips

Former team: Milwaukee Brewers
New team: Kansas City Royals

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

SP Cole Hamels

Former team: Texas Rangers
New team: Chicago Cubs

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

RP Eddie Butler

Former team: Chicago Cubs
New team: Texas Rangers

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

RP Ken Giles

Former team: Houston Astros
New team: Toronto Blue Jays

(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

RP Adam Warren

Former team: New York Yankees
New team: Seattle Mariners

(Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

RP Zach Duke

Former team: Minnesota Twins
New team: Seattle Mariners

(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports)

RP Lance Lynn

Former team: Minnesota Twins
New team: New York Yankees

(Photo byJesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)

C Wilson Ramos

Former team: Tampa Bay Rays
New team: Philadelphia Phillies

(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

RP Brad Ziegler

Former team: Miami Marlins
New team: Arizona Diamondbacks

(Sam Navarro/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)

RP Ryan Pressly

Former team: Minnesota Twins
New team: Houston Astros

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

OF Tommy Pham

Former team: St. Louis Cardinals
New team: Tampa Rays

(Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

OF Cameron Maybin

Former team: Miami Marlins
New team: Seattle Mariners

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

SP Kevin Gausman

Former team: Baltimore Orioles
New team: Atlanta Braves

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

SP Chris Archer

Former team: Tampa Rays
New team: Pittsburgh Pirates

(Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images)

2B Brian Dozier

Former team: Minnesota Twins
New team: Los Angeles Dodgers

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

RP Brandon Kintzler

Former team: Washington Nationals
New team: Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

RP Jake Diekman

Former team: Texas Rangers
New team: Arizona Diamondbacks

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

RP Aaron Loup

Former team: Toronto Blue Jays
New team: Philadelphia Phillies

(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

2B Jonathan Schoop

Former team: Baltimore Orioles
New team: Milwaukee Brewers

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

RP Darren O'Day

Former team: Baltimore Orioles
New team: Atlanta Braves

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

RP John Axford

Former team: Toronto Blue Jays
New team: Los Angeles Dodgers

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

RP Keone Kela

Former team: Texas Rangers
New team: Pittsburgh Pirates

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

SP Tyler Glasnow

Former team: Pittsburgh Pirates
New team: Texas Rangers

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

OF Scott Schebler

Former team: Cincinnati Reds
New team: Atlanta Braves

(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

SP Matt Wisler

Former team: Atlanta Braves
New team: Cincinnati Reds

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

OF Preston Tucker

Former team: Atlanta Braves
New team: Cincinnati Reds

(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SP Lucas Sims

Former team: Atlanta Braves
New team: Cincinnati Reds

(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Since the Archer trade, the Rays have adjusted their roster to look a bit less absurd. Faria is back in the rotation, and Snell is set to return on Saturday. Glasnow, who was a reliever for the Pirates, has shifted roles for Tampa Bay, and made his first start of the 2018 season on Wednesday, pitching for three innings while allowing just one run and notching five strikeouts, to help the Rays en route to a 7-2 win over the Angels.

Now 20 games back on the division, the Rays season certainly hasn't gone the way they've hoped, but they have undeniably been one of the most entertaining groups to watch in all of baseball.

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