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.