Rays Make Two Minor Moves

Pardon the silence around here for the past few days; Hanselmen has been on the road somewhere in the dueling banjo part of North Carolina and I have been on my deathbed with pneumonia. I would not wish this type of illness on anyone, even Pat Burrell. Anyhow, today the Rays made a a minor league signing and a waiver claim one of which affects the 40-man roster and another a name you are probably familiar with.

The Rays signed former Angels/Braves/Red Sox/Mariners first baseman Casey Kotchman to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. The former 13th overall pick in the 2001 draft is the epitome of replacement level player at first base as his slick glove work is negated by his powerless bat. The move helps the Durham Bulls more than it does the Tampa Bay Rays and for those that are comparing the move to the Rays signing Carlos Pena in late 2006, please stop.

In other news, the Rays claimed reliever Rob Delaney off waivers from the Minnesota Twins today. Seth Stohs of SethSpeaks.net happens to be an acquaintance of mine who covers the Twins like few others do so of course he had a full report of Delaney that he shared with me:

Rob Delaney – RHP – (9/8/84)

Acquired: Signed as F/A in June 2006 from St. John’s U.

2010 Team(s): Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota Twins

2010 MiLB Stats: 7-9, 4.72 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 80.0 IP, 23 BB, 92 K

2010 MLB Stats: 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 1.0 IP, 1 BB, 0 K

On September 4, 2010, Rob Delaney’s big league dream came true. Delaney entered the game with the Twins leading 12-3 in the 9th inning against the Rangers. The first batter he faced, Ian Kinsler, hit a long home run. Delaney then walked Mitch Moreland, and Jeff Francoeur singled. But Delaney went back to his basics. He got Taylor Teagarden to ground into a fielder’s choice. Then former Twins infielder Cristian Guzman grounded into a double play to end the game. It was Delaney’s lone big league appearance but likely will not be his last.

Delaney’s rise through the Twins system has been incredible, especially considering he was not drafted in the 2006 draft. He was dominant until he reached Triple-A where he has encountered some difficulties. In 36 games in Low A, he had a 0.77 ERA, a 0.66 WHIP, and a 10.8 strikeout rate. In 43 games in Ft. Myers, he had a 1.80 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. In 49 games with Double-A New Britain, Delaney posted a 1.54 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP, and ten strikeouts per nine innings. However, in a season-and-a-half at Triple A Rochester, he has pitched 127.2 innings in 97 games. He is 14-12 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. In 2010, he walked just 2.6 per nine innings, and struck out 10.8.

Delaney, whose nickname is “Big Daddy,” reportedly lost 25 or more pounds heading into the 2010 season. His fastball sits between 88 and 91, but for a stretch in the middle of the season, he was consistently touching 93-94 mph and throwing it right by hitters. He has a good slider and a changeup as well. Control of the slider was often the issue. When it was sharp, it was hard to hit, but when it spun and sat over the plate, it was very hittable. Delaney is a great teammate. He is able to forget bad outings quickly, a very important trait for a relief pitcher.

The Rays had 39 players on the roster so adding Delaney fills them up at 40. Once the Damon and Ramirez signings are officially announced, two players are going to have to be cleared from the 40 man roster to accommodate the moves. My guess is that particular player pool comes down to Justin Ruggiano, Jose Lobaton, and Cesar Cabral.

Frankly, the addition of Delaney intrigues me as much as the addition of Kotchman disappoints me as it means Russell Branyan is not coming back here and Branyan at least offers power upside. Kotchman is a good glove who deserves his own designated hitter.

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About Jason Collette

Writer/Analyst
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One Response to Rays Make Two Minor Moves

  1. davidbloom says:

    This is not Carlos Pena. However, the Rays do need some good defense at 1B. Especially, with the hack bullpen that has been put together. Say what you want, but the demise of this season will be the pen unless they start calling up from the minors some live arms. Russell , Wade if he is gets healthy, and Farnsy are the sleeper pickups, but all come with risk.

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