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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: OF Jake Smolinksi signs minor league deal

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Plus more on the Mallex trade, which has not been finalized

MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Per MLB Trade Rumors:

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.

Rays News

  • 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

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