Make sure you check out our Sound Cloud account, especially during the season. Aptly named X-Rays Spex Radio, we’ll upload our podcasts, audio communique’s, and any other (ir)relevant songs and/or bric-a-brac (un)fit to fill the airwaves.
Hello dear readers, we genuinely hope you like the new site. We’ve got a lust that can only be quenched by more followers. That said, we’ve put together Tumblr and Google+ pages to accompany our already burgeoning social media presence on the internet. You can now follow us via the aforementioned platforms, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Connect with us via the link tab/buttons in the top right-hand corner of this here site.
We’re also working on putting together a podcast and a means to cull together other random audio tid-bits…an X-Rays Spex radio of sorts. Both will be available via a streaming audio site like Sound Cloud. Be expecting that in the near future.
We will not stop until we dominate your internet browser with at least seven different sites. I kid, I kid…or do I?
The Rays signed three players to minor league contracts Thursday; former Rays catcher and coach Craig Albernaz, outfielder Jason Bourgeois, and RHP JD Martin. All three were extended invites to Spring Training. Additionally, four other minor leaguers were extended Spring Training invites; right-handed relievers Marquis Fleming and Kirby Yates, southpaw Adam Liberatore, and catcher Mark Thomas.
I suppose it would be more appropriate to say that the Rays re-signed Craig Albernaz after releasing him in September 2012. Albernaz, 30, has been a part of the Rays organization, in one form or another, since 2006.
31 year-old outfielder, Jason Bourgeois, was initially drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2nd round of the 2000 amateur draft. Bourgeois has spent time with the White Sox, Brewers, Astros and Royals, bouncing around the middle infield and outfield over the course of his career. He’s certainly not a power-hitter by any stretch of the imagination, hitting two homers in 463 career at-bats, while driving in 27 runs. His offensive value lies in his prowess on the base paths. Bourgeois swiped 31 bags in 37 attempts in 2011, while crossing the plate 30 times. He posted a .294 BA/.323 OBP/.357 SLG/.680 slash line in that season, while striking out 24 times in 238 at-bats. Bourgeois has posted a career .261 BA/.306 OBP/.324 SLG/.630 OPS slash line, boasting a 10.3% strikeout percentage. When he makes contact and gets on base, Bourgeois can do some damage.
JD Martin was a first round draft pick in the 2001 amateur draft, initially picked up by the Cleveland Indians. Martin spent parts of eight seasons in the Indians system before joining the Nationals where he made 24 big-league starts. He spent the better part of the 2012 season in the Marlins organization, splitting his time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Matt Eddy of Baseball America calls Martin a “control specialist (who) has (a) 1.3 BB/9 rate over 382 Triple-A innings.” He also has a handful of solid pitches; an upper-80’s fastball, a variety of breaking balls, and a changeup. RJ Anderson of the Process Report noted,
Martin figures to serve as organizational depth, though his location and role are presently indeterminable. The safe money would be on him joining the Durham rotation, but the Rays have a number of young starters in line for Triple-A assignments. Chris Archer, Alex Torres, Jake Odorizzi, and Alex Colome should start in Durham. The intrigue is whether Martin, Matt Buschmann, or someone else, like Mike Montgomery, takes the fifth spot.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you’ve more than heard that JP Howell got picked up by the LA Dodgers for a cool $2.75MM. Sorry to break the news to you this way if you hadn’t heard. I will miss Howell, though I don’t think the Dodgers recent acquisition represents a move of foreboding doom for the Rays. Rather, I think the Rays could be okay without The Dude on the bump.
The Rays currently have seven lefties on the 40-man roster, be them relief pitchers or pitchers that could make the transition to the pen if necessary.
We’ve seen how Jake McGee can devastate opposing batters, and I am really excited by the prospect of Cesar Ramos getting the opportunity to pitch regularly.
We’re all pretty familiar with Ramos’ low-90s fastball, his changeup and slider that he uses against righties and lefties respectively, and a pretty good curveball. He has enough pitches to be a starter and could be used in that role, in times of need (ahem, we’re looking at you, Niemann). He could also fill the long relief role if necessary. His 54.4% GB percentage in 30 innings of work, in 2012, certainly a’int shabby either.
I’m also interested in seeing what Frank De Los Santos, Brandon Gomes, and Mike Montgomery have to offer in 2013. DRaysBay described De Los Santos as being,
A pitcher that could step in to Howell’s 2012 role, Frank De Los Santos, who posted a 6.80 K/9 in AAA with a 2.50 BB/9 and has favorable GB tendencies. FDLS will likely start the year back in Durham, but look for him down the road should a wormburner or a LOOGY get injured.
Let’s also not forget about Alex Torres, who we wrote about back on the fourth of January.
Though Howell played a key role in 2012, I don’t think his loss signals the downfall of the Rays pen in any way, shape, or form. Andrew Friedman noted that the Rays are still in the market for a couple of arms, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rays make some moves before pitchers and catchers report in February. Combine that with the Rays organizational pitching depth, and I think we could see a pretty potent pitching staff in 2013.
All apologies for being incommunicado on my part. I do, however, have a plausible excuse: Bright House Networks internet service, or lack thereof. Suffice to say, typing this piece on my iPhone is cumbersome at best. We’ve also been busy tinkering with the design of the new site. I think you all will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I know I am! Onward to the meat and potatoes.
Let me throw a name out to you, Mike Morse. The internet is abuzz with speculation of the availability of 30 year-old utility infielder/outfield, who has been displaced Adam LaRoche, who the Nationals recently re-signed.
There are currently 10-11 teams keeping their eyes on Morse with the Rays, Mariners and Yankees actively trying to acquire him. The Nationals are looking for a left-handed reliever and/or prospects in return, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.
Morse is the Rays kind of player. He is a righty that can play in the outfield and the infield (though to be fair, he isn’t known for his defensive prowess). In his eight years in the big leagues, Morse spent time in left field and right field, first base and third base, and short-stop. He also has some pop in his bat. Morse posted a .291 BA/.321 OBP/.470 SLG/.791 OPS in 2012, with 18 homers and 62 RBI in 407 at-bats. His 2011 numbers were even better, with Morse posting a .303 BA/.360 OBP/.550 SLG/.910 OPS line, with 35 homers and 95 RBI in 522 at-bats.
Morse doesn’t come with a terribly high price tag. He is expected to make $6.75MM in 2013, prior to becoming a free agent at the end of the season. He could be seen as a perfectly adequate candidate to platoon with Matt Joyce and James Loney.
A word of caution, Ken Rosenthal has reported that Morse is “strongly opposed” to being used as a designated hitter. I certainly wouldn’t consider that to be a deal breaker though.
In review, he’s a right handed power hitter that can play all over the field, and has a relatively low price tag. The Nationals also aren’t asking for much in return. Here’s to hope that the Rays don’t lose another potential player to the Yankees…cough, Hafner.