Here’s a move with little fanfare but provides some intrigue: The Rays have signed minor league catcher Anthony Bemboom to a minor league deal, per the transactions page on Baseball America and as identified by Neil Solondz this morning.
Here’s his career thus far:
Selected by Angels in 22nd round of 2012 draft; signed June 12, 2012
Selected by Rockies from Angels in Rule 5 minor league draft, Dec. 8, 2016
Granted free agency, Nov. 2, 2018
Signed by Rays, Nov. 9, 2018.
Bemboom has been at Triple-A for three seasons now, but was rated higher by KATOH than inhouse defender Nick Ciuffo, Twins everyman Willians Astudillo, or Nationals 25-man catcher Spencer Kieboom last off-season. That write up anticipated some of the listed names being drafted, and indeed he was, by the Rockies in the minor league portion of the draft, where claimed players do not need to be returned.
Interestingly, Bemboom went from Rule-5 selection to roster casualty in 2017, getting sidelined in a Triple-A roster crunch and filling in at Designated Hitter when he could, per the Albuquerque Journal:
“I’d never really been a DH much until this year,” he said, “and it’s different. At catcher you’re involved in every single pitch. At DH you’re kind of removed from it all. It takes awhile to get used to it.”
Bemboom didn’t mind taking some hacks at DH. It certainly beat the position he held for six weeks last season – left out.
With catchers Murphy, Ryan Hannigan and Dustin Garneau already vying for playing time with the Rockies and Isotopes, Bemboom became the odd man out. His prospects did not improve when Colorado acquired Jonathan Lucroy in a deadline trade.
Bemboom was in baseball limbo from July 1 to Aug. 20. He was not on a roster and didn’t appear in a game or in uniform during the span.
“It was a numbers game,” Bemboom said, “but it was tough. I was (in Albuquerque) the whole time and it was a challenge coming to the park every day and staying mentally positive. That’s all I could do.”
Bemboom never saw the majors with Colorado, who David Laurila described as “your classic catch-and-throw backup catcher.” Expect to see Bemboom in big league camp as he enters his age-29 season.
At this stage in his career, expect Bemboom to slot in behind Ciuffo or prospect Brett Sullivan on the Durham roster next season in terms of playing time, but to make an appearance in Spring Training.