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.
- 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:
I am excited to announce that I have signed a contract with @raysbaseball. I am grateful for this opportunity and excited for this upcoming season. I want to thank @jackalsbaseball, the Jackals’ fans, and everyone who has supported me along the way. #GetJacked #Rays #2020 pic.twitter.com/SLrB0R1Je7— Conrad Gregor (@conradgregor55) January 11, 2020
- 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.
#Rays infielder Vidal Brujan brought a good attitude into a 2019 season that saw him hit .277/.346/389 between two levels, and is ready to bring it into 2020. Here's more from the @RaysBaseball representative from the @MLB/@MLB_PLAYERS Rookie Program: https://t.co/Amzx8LLUgK pic.twitter.com/oibl0EOxux— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 12, 2020
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- Austin Meadows was listed as a top-10 left fielder in MLB
- Effectively Wild takes on the Rays-Cardinals trade
- Baseball Prospectus finds the through line connecting Jose Martinez’s roster value to the Rays recent cost cutting moves (i.e. removing Tommy Pham and Jesus Aguilar, among others).
- Speaking of catchers, it’s Catcher Day 2020 at Baseball Prospectus
- Old friend Jake Faria has been designated by the Brewers.
RHP Jake Faria has been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for INF Jedd Gyorko. pic.twitter.com/NEwMqigce1— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) January 10, 2020
- 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:
Bruce Levine just reported on the radio that the deal discussed between the Cards and Rockies has been:— FullCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) January 11, 2020
Dakota Hudson, Carlos Martinez, Tyler O'Neill and Matt Liberatore for Nolan Arenado
- What kind of punishment awaits the cheating Astros and Red Sox?