An eye for an eye

January 13, 2009 at 12:25 am | Posted in Baseball, Rays | 2 Comments

After the Red Sox signed Rocco Baldelli away from the Rays last week, the Rays responded by signing former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler today.  OK, so maybe it’s not exactly an eye for an eye since Kapler last played for Boston in 2006.  He was a minor league manager in 2007 and then came back and played very well for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008.  Kapler signed a one-year contract for only $1 million.

I really, really like this signing for the Rays.  Here’s why.  Kapler hit .301-.340-.498 for the Brewers last year in 229 at bats.  As if that wasn’t impressive enough, consider that the Rays will be using Kapler as a righty in a right-field platoon with Matt Joyce (or possibly Gabe Gross if he isn’t traded).  That means that he’ll be starting against all left-handed pitchers.  And against lefties in 2008, Kapler hit .354-.379-.622 – that’s an OPS of 1.001!  Kapler is 33 years old and he seems rejuvenated after his one year absence from the majors.  He’s also athletic and versatile, capable of playing any of the three outfield positions.  The only down side that I see is that it means that Fernando Perez and Justin Ruggiano won’t have a chance to make the team unless there is an injury.  But I’ll get to watch them in Durham again, so that’s a plus.  Finally, do yourself a favor and don’t ever do a Google image search on Gabe Kapler.  You’ll be very sorry that you did unless you happen to be gay or a woman…

The Rays front office is having an excellent offseason for the fourth year in a row.  I really like the additions of Kapler, Pat Burrell, and Matt Joyce, all of whom I’ve written about.  There are two other players who have also been added that I haven’t mentioned yet:

  • Joe Nelson, a right-handed relief pitcher who previously played in the Rays organization with the Durham Bulls in 2005.  He had a nice season for the Bulls, and I remember him because his picture in the Bulls free gameday program looked almost exactly like one of my best friends.  Nelson had a decent year in the majors for Kansas City in 2006, even picking up 9 saves while he was briefly their closer.  He missed all of 2007 with an injury and then resurfaced with the Florida Marlins in 2008.  He absolutely excelled in the Marlins bullpen, with a 2.00 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 60 strikeouts in 54 innings.  I’m particularly impressed that he was just as effective against left-handed hitters as he was against righties, which makes him extremely useful.  Amazingly, the Marlins non-tendered him after the season, and the Rays were able to sign him to a one-year contract for only $1.3 million, partly because he wanted to stay in the state of Florida.
  • Derek Rodriguez, another right-handed relief pitcher who the Rays took in the Rule V draft from the White Sox organization.  I figure that he must be pretty good since he’s the first and only player that the Rays current front office (led by Andrew Friedman) has ever taken in the major league portion of the Rule V draft.  It looks like Chicago converted him from a starter to a reliever in 2008, and he put up pretty good numbers for them in Double-A and Triple-A.  I read that he’s also good at getting lefties out.  If he makes the team, the Rays will have three righties in the bullpen who excel at getting lefties out: Rodriguez, Nelson, and Grant Balfour.  That’s a pretty nice situation to have.  And no, Derek Rodriguez isn’t the illegitimate love child of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez…

I absolutely cannot wait for spring training to start so that I can watch the 2009 Rays start their defense of the American League pennant.  And if you have any cards of the new guys that you want to trade, let me know!



RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. Joe Nelson and Gabe Kapler? I hate you guys.

    Give Gabe 450 at-bats if you need 25+ home runs.

  2. They got a nice pick up in Gabe; I always liked that guy, and he is just ripped to all hell, too. I think one of the Yankee blogs floated his name as a possible outfield pick up earlier this off-season and surprisingly, the fans/readers were almost unanimously in favor of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: