Rays Are Possible Destination For Posada


Posted Dec 25, 2011


If Jorge Posada has any baseball juice left, perhaps he could try to squeeze it out in Tampa Bay?

ESPN Deportes is reporting the Rays are interested in signing the veteran Puerto Rican to be a part-time first baseman, designated hitter and play a little at his "old" position at catcher.

ESPN Deportes also indicated the Phillies and Orioles are interested parties for 40-year-old veteran's services, though it is not yet known if the ex-Yankees star is ready to call it quits.

A role for Posada, who has 275 career homers and 1.065 RBIs, in Tampa Bay could make the most sense, except that veteran starting catcher Jose Molina is a well-seasoned 36-year-old.

While the Tampa Bay region is well stocked with seniors, the Rays usually shy away from veteran ballplayers. Wade Boggs, who the team wanted to get in a Tampa uniform for his 3,000th hit, was a notable exception.

Posada still has some pop in his bat, hitting 14 homers in 344 at-bats last season, though he hit 38 points below his career average at a miserable .235.

Posada is also a notoriously poor baserunner and could get grouchy if his role is not made clear to him.


ROSTER REPORT

The Rays ended the season feeling vindicated that their plan to focus on starting pitching and defense was good enough to get them into the playoffs for the third time in four years. But they are also realistic enough to realize they need to add to their inconsistent and often anemic offense, with the potential for upgrades at a number of positions. The starting pitching staff is likely to return intact, though a trade might be the best avenue to improve the offense.

ARRIVALS: C Jose Molina (free agent from Blue Jays), RHP Josh Lueke (trade with Mariners), RHP Burke Badenhop (trade with Marlins).

DEPARTURE: C John Jaso (traded to Mariners).

FREE AGENTS: RHP Juan Cruz, DH Johnny Damon, 1B Dan Johnson, 1B Casey Kotchman, RHP Andy Sonnanstine.

Cruz served his purpose, giving the Rays a solid season after signing a minor league deal and positioning himself to move on and make more elsewhere. Damon and Kotchman present interesting decisions as both played well and were key parts of the Rays success, and there is mutual interest in returning, but the Rays also have to consider upgrades at one or both positions to improve their overall offensive production as they combined for only 26 homers and 121 RBI. Johnson declined an outright assignment to Class AAA. Sonnanstine was non-tendered.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: RHP Burke Badenhop, LHP J.P. Howell, RHP Jeff Niemann, LHP David Price, CF B.J. Upton.

Howell was the most interesting decision, as the Rays decided to gamble that his second season post-surgery would be better than his first. Niemann and Upton both could end up on the trade block.

MEDICAL WATCH: --RHP Alex Cobb (surgery to remove part of top rib and blood clot from right arm in August 2011) is on track to recover and participate in the offseason throwing program. He is expected to be fully healthy for spring training.





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