Free agency resumed a couple of weeks ago, and the Rays have not broken the market with any big signings or trades. However, the front office has made a couple of minor moves to help the pitching depth and added two hitters.
One of the most recent signings came a couple of days ago; when the Rays signed IF Ryon Healy to a minor league contract. Ryon is expected to be placed in Triple-A with the Durham Bulls. One of the purposes of these signings is to provide depth in the corners of the diamond, which the Rays lack following some veteran depth departures like Mike Ford. Ryon is a career .261 AVG hitter with an OBP of .298, and an above-average SLG of .450.
Healy showcased impressive power throughout his stints in the big league, owning a career ISO of .190, but his inability get on base and lack of defensive abilities have made Healy a below replacement level player over his last three years in the big leagues (-1.1 fWAR).
During the 2021 campaign, Healy ventured overseas to the KBO League signing with the Hanwha Eagles, but would be released after just 67 games. Healy, now 30, is back stateside and hoping to reestablish himself within the Rays organization.
The other player that the Rays acquired was Luke Raley, which was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for RHP and part-time OF Tanner Dodson. Raley had his cup of coffee in the majors last year; where he put up a stat line of .182/.250/.288 in 33 games played. However, in Triple-A Raley impressed as he ramped up a .294/.393/.570 line in 72 games. He has demonstrated the ability to get on base by putting a .404 wOBA.
On top of that, he has plus-plus raw power with Baseball America raving about his biceps and ranked him as the Dodgers 15th top prospect at the mid-season mark in 2021; Raley logged 19 HR in 72 games with Triple-A.
“Raley is incredibly strong with bulging biceps and plus-plus raw power.”
On top of his impressive power, Raley is also a superior runner as he actually logged a quicker spring speed in 2021 than Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena. Raley’s sprint speed puts him in the 92 percentile of clocked big leaguers last season.
Raley is in a similar position as Vidal Brujan, Taylor Tremmel, and Jaren Duran, where they are between triple-A and the MLB and in need of breaking into a regular role. These types of players have raked in triple-A, but have had some troubles finding their way into an everyday player in the majors.
Both of these moves are to provide depth to the team; injuries are something that you cannot predict. However, having a quality replacement is something that you can control, and that’s exactly what the Rays are doing here. Both players will begin their season in the minors, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they make an appearance in St Petersburg.