Logan Forsythe was only a member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization for three years yet his impact was significant. The trade that brought him into the organization with Matt Andriese, Brad Boxberger, Matt Lolis, and Maxx Tissenbaum for Alex Torres and Jesse Hahn was received mixed reviews at the time of the deal.
His deal could turn out to be one of the most impactful in Rays history when the trade tree finally dies, years away.
The Rays traded left handed reliever Alex Torres coming off an incredible season out of the bullpen. He posted a 1.71 ERA and 2.32 FIP through 58 innings in the bullpen in 2013. Hahn was a highly regarded starting pitching prospect with a long injury history. In a deal for five players, Forsythe was the heart of the trade.
In 2014 Forsythe put up his second year in a row where he struggled. He improved to a 78 wRC+ after posting a 72 wRC+ in 2013, but fell well short of his 110 wRC+ season in 2012. Despite the overall struggles he still hit left handed pitching as he put up a .241/.297/.411 line and 102 wRC+.
Heading into spring training in 2015 the expectation was Forsythe’s primary role would be the short sided platoon mate of Nick Franklin at second base. However, Franklin strained his oblique during the last week of spring training and was placed on the disabled list.
Through the end of April Forsythe was batting .282/.370/.465 and put up a 135 wRC+ while securing the everyday job at second base. Forsythe didn’t slow down as he put up a .281/.359/.444 line and 125 wRC+. He was worth 4.0 fWAR and 5.3 bWAR, thriving with consistent playing time.
Forsythe’s production led to him being named the Don Zimmer MVP award winner.
Last off-season the Rays rewarded Forsythe with a $10.25MM contract that bought out his two remaining arbitration eligible seasons and included a team option for $8.5MM and included $2.5MM in performance bonuses.
In spring training the Rays decided to move Forsythe into the lead off spot. He isn’t a conventional lead off hitter, but he got the job done.
While much of the rest of the offense was embedded in a deep slump in April Forsythe was absolutely destroying baseballs. He ended April batting an absurd .341/.426/.610 and 182 wRC+.
A Felix Hernandez fastball drilled Forsythe’s back shoulder on May 9th. He missed the next month with a hairline fracture of his left shoulder blade.
Nobody expected him to keep producing at the rate he did through the first month of the season, but after returning he hit .252/.315/.423 and 102 wRC+ in 444 plate appearances to finish the year.
Overall he had a solid season putting up .264/.333/.444 and 113 wRC+ thanks to his insane April, and he was credited with 2.8 fWAR and 3.6 bWAR.
Though he only spent three seasons with the Rays he made a big impact. He became a well above average player and reports are that he was a great teammate. The Rays will miss his leadership in the clubhouse, and his example on the field. The Rays will miss his bat against left handed pitchers the most.
Fans, meanwhile, will miss the player who played the game hard everyday. He wasn’t flashy, but he got the job done with remarkable consistency.