Confirming recent speculation from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are likely to sign veteran left-hander Erik Bedard to a minor league contract.
Bedard made 26 starts with the Astros last season, his most since 2007 with the Orioles. However, while he managed to stay mostly healthy for a change, he posted a 4.59 ERA over 151 innings while averaging 4.5 BB/9. The 34-year-old has averaged just above 89 mph on his fastball over the past two seasons, so his velocity isn’t what it once was.
The Rays will be without right-hander Jeremy Hellickson until May following elbow surgery, so the additional rotation depth can’t hurt. As of now, Jake Odorizzi is considered the favorite to replace Hellickson in the rotation.
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: