Free help is always welcome and since the Rays are in a cost-cutting mode, it is not unreasonable to suspect they go bargain shopping. Last season’s minor league free agent list yielded zero help to the big league level but this year’s list offers a few intriguing names that the Rays should consider bringing on a Non-Roster Invite to see what that player still has or does not have to offer. At worst, they become players for the Durham Bulls to use as they try to three-peat as divisional champs.
- Dennis Sarfate: A hard-throwing reliever with control issues that has spent time in the Milwaukee, Houston, and Baltimore organization. Durham’s closer for the past two seasons, Winston Abreu, is leaving and Sarfate saved 20 games for the Orioles’ AAA team last season giving up just 32 hits in 56 innings while striking out 72 batters.
- Wladimir Balentien: He hit .282/.337/.536 in AAA with the Reds organization with 25 home runs and 12 steals. He is not a very disciplined hitter but his strikeout rate is much better than it was in his younger days and he is a pretty good defensive fielder.
- Andy Marte: Marte was once the top prospect in the Braves organization but Atlanta must have known something as they dealt him to Boston who then eventually sent him to Cleveland where he has never fulfilled his potential. He hit .229/.298/.382 in 170 at bats for Cleveland in 2010 but hit .327/.369/.593 in 300 at bats in AAA the season before.
- Terry Evans: He has been stuck in AAA for most of the past four seasons but was a 20/20 player in the PCL in 2009. He would be a good everyday player for Durham and someone to call up for injury coverage.
- Drew Sutton: He and Ben Zobrist share the same hitting coach and defensive versatility. He hit .273/.379/.387 in AA this past season and is just 27 years old.