Perhaps all those pitches and innings have caught up with him. Maybe because of last year's injury he is unable to get back his normal movement on his pitches. It's possible that at age 36, his body is telling him no more.
But what if that's not the case? What if, after posting 8 consecutive seasons before 2008 with a sub-4 ERA, and 6 of those 8 at sub-3, he is able to rebound from an injury shortened season? What if, even if he may not be the same player he was at 26 now at 36, he still has something left in the tank?
The Rays, once again, could be on the right side of a low-risk move. A 36 year old, established competitor and very good pitcher over the course of his career now once again has to prove himself.
"I'm excited,'' Isringhausen told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I've still got to make the team. I didn't get any guaranteed money. Didn't need it. ... I just need to pitch, to show I can pitch.''
The guy is playing to show he can still play--for the fun of competition and to be able to play the game he loves. The desire is there. If his arm has anything left, this could be one of the best moves the Rays made this offseason. Slowly and surely, the Rays are adding relievers with plenty of experience in high-leverage situations. One thing's for sure, he doesn't have to be the Rays 'closer' for this to pay big dividends.