Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rays sign six to minor league deal

A day after the Rays signed free agent Pat Burrell, the Rays officially sign six players to minor league contracts and an invitation to spring training. Although four of the players were already reported to be sign, the new guys are two relief pitchers: lefty Randy Choate and righty Julio DePaula. Draysbay has found the scouting reports on these pitchers and they look promising. Choate will compete for a bullpen spot as a lefty specialist and has an excellent groundball rate, probably because he throws sidearm. Choate hasn't been as good in the majors lately as he is in the minors and I would have preferred a Ray King acquisition. The other pitcher DePaula is a reliever that throws in the low nineties with an average slider and changeup. Don't see him making to the bigs this spring unless he impresses and dominates in Spring Training. I would like to see someone like Thayer or Talbot make the squad then older pitcher.

The other four position players include two who played with the Rays last year: outfielder Jon Weber and catcher Michel Hernandez. Ray Olmedo is an infielder, primarily a shortstop, that is competing for this years Major League shortstop insurance. His experience in the Majors with the Reds and Blue Jays is a plus. The last player is outfielder Ray Sadler, who is going into his 10th season of pro ball. Sadler is mainly a defensive player, playing all three outfield position, but has the ability to hit the longball with 50 home runs in the past two seasons in the minors.

The player of out this group most likely to make the Rays is Randy Choate, if he pitches well has a shot to join the bullpen as a left-handed specialist. But like I said, Olmedo(pictured below) is the MLSI(Major League shortstop insurance) and has a chance to join in the middle of the season if he stays. Take that LOOGY! 

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