Toronto has signed reliever Jon Rauch to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with a $3.75 million option for 2012.
Rauch had a decent year last year, pressed into service as the Twins’ closer when Joe Nathan had Tommy John surgery. He had a 3.12 ERA and 46 strikeouts and 14 walks in 57.2 innings and converted 21 of 25 saves. He also led the league in being really, really tall and in having neck tattoos, so he’s not a one-dimensional player.
Octavio Dotel will likely start as the closer, but given how erratic he can be, the Jays may happily turn to Rauch if need be.
Earlier this offseason the Rays traded away franchise player Evan Longoria. Over the weekend they traded starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. These were clearly financially driven moves, and now the Rays sport a payroll of less than $70 million. The club’s offseason moves prompted Longoria to say that he feels sorry for Rays fans.
If you asked Rays brass, I’m sure they’d make strong statements defending all of these moves while offering evidence-light arguments that, yes, they truly are interested in fielding a competitive team in 2018. They would likely react VERY angrily to any suggestion that they are tanking this year. Teams never admit that they’re tanking.
In other news, the Rays announced a new blog: