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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: Rays sign catchers Kevan Smith, Chris Herrmann to minor league deals

The deals include an invite to MLB camp at Spring Training.

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Tampa Bay Rays v Chicago White Sox

The Rays have signed catcher Kevan Smith to a minor league deal with a non-roster invitation to Major League camp, per MLBTR owner Tim Dierkes.

Smith had been identified by our Homin Lee back in December as a right-handed hitting catcher who could help balance the Rays roster next season, thanks to his name popping up as one of three free agent catchers with at least 300 PA vs LHP from 2017-2019 with good results: 120 wRC+ over the last three seasons, 145 wRC+ in 2019.

With a track record that strong in the batter’s box, he will be a leading candidate in the competition for back up back stop in 2020, so long as he can overcome his reputation as a bad defender. Smith was added on waivers by the Angles last season and played in 67 games after coming up with the White Sox, appearing in three seasons there.

The Rays also recently signed catcher Chris Herrmann to a similar minor league deal with an invite to camp. A left handed hitter, he has appeared in the majors each of the last seven seasons across four clubs, totaling 30 games last season in the Athletics system.

Rays News

  • Neil Solondz interviewed GM Erik Neander and Cardinals television broadcaster Jim Hayes about last week’s big trade — you can find the podcast here or embedded below. As always, it’s required listening for the informed Rays fan, and included great insight into why Jose Martinez is the ideal role player for the Rays needs.
  • The Rays have signed 27-year old Indy Ball first baseman Conrad Gregor, per his twitter account:
  • Daniel Robertson joined MLB’s Hot Stove program to discuss the Daniel Robertson Family Foundation that helps families dealing with cancer
  • The Rays sent three prospects to the annual Rookie Program, which often serves as a nod to future likely MLB regulars. This year’s attendees were Vidal Brujan, Brendan McKay, and Michael Brosseau — which should be covered in another Neil podcast this week.
  • Follow Yoshi!

Other Links

  • Speaking of catchers, it’s Catcher Day 2020 at Baseball Prospectus
  • Old friend Jake Faria has been designated by the Brewers.
  • SunTrust Park gets a new name following the name holder’s recent merger.
  • The Cardinals may look to flip Matthew Liberatore in their pursuit of a third baseman:
  • What kind of punishment awaits the cheating Astros and Red Sox?