As the Rays consider who will provide bench outfield support in 2018, the team moved quickly to sign former Athletics defender Jake Smolinski to a minor league deal.
Smolinski’s 2018 campaign was cut short by a blood clot in his left calf, and in his 41 plate appearances he hit just .128/171/.205. The former second-round pick did post a terrific .278/.372/.548 slash in Triple-A this season and is a career .227/.287/.357 hitter in the Majors.
Smolinski will likely be competing with to-be-acquired Cuban outfielder Guillermo Heredia for a right-handed hitting outfield role on the 2019 roster, and face the disadvantage of Heredia already having a 40-man roster spot.
- The Rays are close to finalizing a deal that would send Mallex Smith to Seattle for catcher Mike Zunino and the aforementioned right handed hitting bench outfielder. We will have more once the deal is final.
- Marc Topkin is reporting the deal will also include OF Jake Fraley going to Seattle, and LHP Michael Plassmeyer, a 2018 4th-round pick, returning to the Rays. You can read more from Topper here on his five takeaways from the deal.
- Jeff Sullivan already has a breakdown of the rumored trade for Fangraphs, believing it is a win for the Rays:
You can see an argument favoring either side of this, but I find the Rays’ to be more convincing.
- Kevin Kiermaier has been named the Wilson Defender of the Year in Center Field
- And so has potential new Rays catcher Mike Zunino
- Adam Sobsey has a wonderful retrospective of Charlie Montoyo’s career to date for Baseball Prospectus
- Early reports from the GM meetings indicate Jim Hickey’s tenure in Chicago may be over
- Tampa native Lance McCullers pitched in the playoffs through a torn UCL, which he had surgery to repair yesterday
- Next we have three quick hits on New York, sorry: CC Sabathia is returning to the Yankees on a one year, $8 million deal
- Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez needs shoulder surgery
- The Yankees are not in on Goldschmidt, per Heyman:
Paul Goldschmidt is drawing significant interest (understandably) but not from Yankees. Maybe they really will give Luke Voit a shot.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 8, 2018
- Charlie Montoyo has hired the Astros hitting coach to be his No. 2
- Hardball Times: Improving a Starting Pitcher Injury Model With Multiple Classifier Algorithms
- Sarris: If you could build the perfect pitcher, what would he look like?
- Stark: What happens when ‘bullpenning’ madness meets the free-agent starter market?
- Grant Brisbee on the Farhan Zaidi hiring
- Bill James says all players are replaceable
- Bryce Harper declined a 10 year, $300 million offer to return to DC
- And Boras did Boras things yesterday:
Scott Boras’ State of the Union address is off and going. He has three pages of notes. He starts off by crushing MLB attendance and blaming it on teams being non-competitive. He said the Blue Jays are suffering from “Blue Flu” and the Marlins bring “the M-I-A to Miami.”— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 7, 2018
Scott Boras on Bryce Harper: “Certainly Harper’s bazaar has begun. It’s fashionable. It’s historical. It’s elite. Global certainly. And certainly it has inspirations that deal with great shoes and great hair.”— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 7, 2018