Tampa Bay Rays Release Former Two-Way Star

A former 4th-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, he came out of college as a two-way superstar: a big-time hitter and pitcher. Alas, he was no Shohei Ohtani, and quickly gave up the hitting part of it. He got called up to the Rays in 2019 as a highly-regarded pitching prospect but never made it back to the big leagues. 

A never-ending string of injuries derailed his career, and his latest setback forced him to have Tommy John surgery this summer. It sounds cruel, but with no chance to pitch in 2023 the Rays have decided to cut him loose. 

But it isn't as cruel as it sounds: Rays beat writer Marc Topkin says the team hopes to re-sign the soon-to-be 27-year-old to a multi-year minor league contract. 

The issue was that McKay would have become a minor league free agent after his TJ recovery year, so it made more sense for the team to release him now, then sign him to a longer-term minor league deal if they can. 

McKay pitched in 13 games in his lone MLB season in 2019,  and while his ERA wasn't impressive at 5.14, he did strike out 10.3 batters per nine, while keeping walks to a minimum. But a string of surgeries for his shoulder, thoracic outlet syndrome, and now the UCL, have kept him from ever returning to the majors. 

Here's hoping his bad luck turns around after the Tommy John surgery to give this once-top prospect another shot. 

Photo: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports