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Calcaterra: Rays Close to Signing Bobby Jenks

This news from Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra:

Bobby Jenks and the Tampa Bay Rays are talking as we speak, and a deal between the two of them could be done as early as tonight, a major league source tells me.

Tommy Rancel and BWoodrum have both been beating the Jenks drum for some time now. While Jenks's 2010 season may seem like a disappointment at first glance - he had a 4.44 ERA - some of his advanced metrics were as good as Rafael Soriano's (FIP and xFIP, notably). Here's what Woodrum had to say about him:

First of all, his 2010 season looks really good under the magnification of advanced stats. His xFIP and FIP were near or better career bests. His LOB% and BABIP both indicate he was unlucky. His StatCorner tRA and tRArwere both excellent.

In other words, Jenks has still got it.

Replace, if you will, Omar Vizquel with Evan LongoriaGordon Beckham with Ben Zobrist, and Paul Konerko with a glove stuck on the end of a stick and I imagine Mr. Jenks's BABIP shrivels like a politician under threat of litigation. With nearly a 60% ground ball rate, I'm sure our greedy infielders will effectively reenact moments of Pacman while Jenks is on the mound.

This is exactly the sort of move the Rays need to make. While other teams are handing out multi-year contracts to sub-par relievers, the Rays are targeting one of the best (yet underrated) relievers on the market. We'll keep you updated as news breaks.