More of the same from the Winter Meetings in Orlando on Tuesday, as the Tampa Bay Rays’ front office officials engaged in conversations, yet no major deals were to be had.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 13, 2017
Rays GM Erik Neander felt there were some good talks, although no large deals were particularly close. Neander said there was a 50/50 mix of talks involving free agency and trades, with slightly more discussions on the agent front.
The Rays did make another small move to add infield depth on Tuesday, acquiring Ryan Schimpf from the San Diego Padres for minor league infielder Deion Tansel.
We’ve acquired INF Ryan Schimpf from San Diego for minor league INF Deion Tansel.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) December 12, 2017
Schimpf, 29, has played parts of the past two seasons with the Padres, yet posting just a .195 batting average. He, however, has some interesting power numbers with 58 of his 86 hits (67.4%) going for extra bases, including 34 home runs. He also struck out 175 times in 527 plate appearances, making him the king of the “three true outcomes”— home run, strikeout, and walk; Schimpf has homered, struck out, or walked in 278 (53%) of his 527 career plate appearances.
His 12.97 AB/HR ratio ranks sixth in the majors and third in the NL (minimum 500 plate appearances) behind Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton (11.74) and the Dodgers Cody Bellinger (12.31).
Schimpf, a lefty hitter, has two minor-league options remaining and will battle for a spot on the roster during Spring Training. In addition to his ability to serve as a utility infielder, as well as power bat off the bench, Schimpf could also be a platoon candidate at second base if Tampa Bay doesn’t sign another first baseman — thus shifting Brad Miller back to first base.
Schimpf is the second infielder the Rays have acquired in two days, and third in the last two weeks, adding Joey Wendle on Monday and previously claiming Micah Johnson off waivers.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 12, 2017
It has been suggested, namely by Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), that the accumulation of depth by the Rays comes at a curious time when they are said to be considering trading several veterans, including 3B Evan Longoria, SS Adeiny Hechavarria and 2B Brad Miller. However, the Rays’ General Manager pumped the breaks on the doom and gloom assertion, saying the acquisitions are not a precursor to a trade of a veteran, rather they are more a product of price point and roster flexibility.
Reports broke Tuesday that Rays had signed a talented 16 year-old prospect Jelfry Marte of the Dominican Republic. Marte is the third ranked international prospect behind Shohei Ohtani and Wander Franco, who signed with Tampa Bay in July.
However, the reports may be a bit premature, as the Rays would likely need to acquire international signing money from another club to sign Marte. The prodigious shortstop initially signed with Minnesota, but his $3-million contract was voided because of a vision issue.
Neander Quotes That Matter
I don’t think we have a big need to re-stock our farm system. It’s much stronger than it has been in some time. …While our team has been hanging around not necessarily where we want to be, our minor leagues have gotten much better.
— Per Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) Neander said Schimpf, Joey Wendle and Micah Johnson are all versatile that can play multiple positions. Of the group, Neander says Wendle is likely the best defender of the three.
— Just remember, as with any other industry, journalists have to make money as do their publications. That is to say a lot of what they write during this, the Hot-Stove period, is prone to hyperbole and sensationalism. Don’t always believe the hype. With this in mind, here are two articles that may temper the palpitations you’re likely having:
— Finally, I realize the linked article is three-years old, however, the Yankees are still hosting the described event in the Tampa Bay market; students from the school I teach at attended it today. I never understood why my home team doesn’t act similarly within their own market?
In the end this event is for the kids, and to them whomever provides a given experience is irrelevant. Yet you cannot imagine how much swag the Yankees gives to students in attendance, which ultimately allows them to maintain a foothold within — even if just promotionally speaking — the market. Hey Rays, do you want your fan base to grow? Get ’em while they’re young!