First, the big news of the hour:
OF Josh Sale is included on list of #Rays minor leaguers coming to next week's winter development camp so team suspension apparently over— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) January 9, 2014
The Rays appear to be ready to give Josh Sale another shot. The 22 year old first round draft pick from 2010 was suspended last season after using social media... err... inappropriately.
Deadspin revealed last May that Sale had bragged on Facebook regarding his getting thrown out of a strip club, leading to an indefinite suspension. This was Sale's second round of missing significant playing time, as he had previously served a 50-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamine use.
As Michael detailed in his analysis of Josh Sale's development schedule, linked above, Sale has never played above Low-A, and will likely require at least two more years in the minors, setting his earliest ETA to 2016 (pending no further interruptions). There are real concerns about how ready Sale will be to face competitive pitching after missing the 2013 season, physically and mentally, but it will be nice to have his talent back in the system.
Meanwhile, the Rays were able to clear Jerry Sands through waivers after the acquisition of reliever Pedro Figueroa.
Source: Tampa Bay 1B/OF Jerry Sands has cleared outright waivers, been optioned off the 40-man to AAA Durham.— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) January 9, 2014
Sands may prove to be valuable depth in 2014. Organizationally he fills a Shelley Duncan like roll for Durham next season, but with the upside of a bat that could develop into a home run machine if everything goes his way.