Kevin C. Cox
Rays invite four to spring training
The Rays finally made some movies on the non-roster invitee front, signing Juan Carlos Ovieda (formerly Leo Nunez), Shelley Duncan, Jamey Wright, and Juan Sandoval to minor league contracts.
Ovieda, 30, pitched for the Marlins from 2009-2011 but missed nearly all of last season while battling identity fraud issues. He returned from those issues to throw three innings in the minor leagues, only to blow out his arm in September, requiring Tommy John Surgery. His contract has a team option for 2014, and if his rehab goes well I don't see why the Rays wouldn't pick it up. With the Marlins he threw 198 innings and closed out 92 games with a 3.86 ERA. The organization has an excellent track record of creating a valuable reliever out of what looks to be a mess. Here's to it happening again.
Last month Jason Collette covered the upside in signing Jamey Wright. It's better than anything I'm going to write here so I encourage you to read it.
Rays fans will remember Shelley Duncan as the man who incited a brawl during a 2008 spring training game between the Rays and Yankees after he slid hard into second base with his spikes high, sticking Akinori Iwamura in the thigh. The 33-year-old has a .229/.306/.427 line in 933 career plate appearances with the Yankees and Indians. He doesn't have too much of a platoon split, but does hit lefties better, posting a 103 wRC+ against southpaws for his career.
As R.J. Anderson pointed out at The Process Report, Juan Sandoval, who at 32 has never appeared in the majors, is "blind in one eye after being struck with shotgun pellets. Here’s the entire story. He seems like an easy guy to root for." Indeed.