The Rays Tank: Free Agent Moves

Layne Murdoch

The Angels and Red Sox add free agents

Two of the Rays American League rivals made big splashes in the free agent market yesterday. Lets recap.

Red Sox sign Ryan Dempster to a 2yr/$26.5 million contract.

Dempster has been a good starting pitcher since 2008, transitioning to the rotation after serving three years as the Cubs' closer. He features a fastball, slider, split fingered fastball and looks to have implemented a cutter last season. The Red Sox needed someone to fill out their rotation after Jon Lester, Clay Buccholz, John Lackey and Felix Doubront. In his only other experience in the American League the soon to be 36-year-old right hander struggled after being traded to Texas last August. His wOBA against of .349 and .346 in August and September were nearly 100 points higher than any previous month. Fenway Park isn't exactly PetCo Park. As a Rays fan I can say I'm not too worried about this signing.

Angels sign Josh Hamilton to a 5yr/$125 million contract

A year after signing the best hitter on the market to a monster contract (Albert Pujols) the Angels come back and do it again this season. Will this move help the Angels make the playoffs in 2013 after missing them in 2012? Hamilton is replacing Torii Hunter who had an excellent 2012 season, even better than Hamilton's according to fWAR -- 5.3 to 4.4. The Rangers, who finished ahead of the Angels, won't have Hamilton, though, so that's always nice for a division rival. Hamilton's home OPS is over 100 points higher than his road counterpart, which has to be a concern. Also, Angel Stadium is nearly the opposite of Arlington, a pitcher's park that's not kind to left handed bats.

In any case, it should be a fun 2013 season.

In Rays news, the team made a minor trade, sending southpaw reliever Chris Rearick to the Padres for infielder Vince Belnome. The left handed 24-year-old plays first and second base and hit .275/.380/.384 in 80 games at Triple-A last season.

Links:

-ESPN.com concluded it's ranking of the 100 best players ever yesterday. Babe Ruth finished first followed by Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. For me, Bonds is the best player of all time but it's hard to argue with Ruth.

-Dave Cameron gives his take on the Dempster signing over at FanGraphs.

-Ichiro is close to a two year deal with the Yankees.

-The Angels are converting the press box into luxury seating, moving all writers down the right field line. Hey, they have to pay for Josh Hamilton somehow. The White Sox did this a few years ago and I'm surprised more teams aren't doing it to try and maximize revenue.

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