The Jeff Keppinger deal I talked about earlier in the week was finalized today. Keppinger will earn $1.525 million this year with some incentives. Keppinger provides the Rays with good depth in the infield. His defense is not great, but his hitting should make up for it. I could see Keppinger getting a fair share of starts between second and short. He could see more time at second so Ben Zobrist can move to right and relieve Matt Joyce against lefties.
As a result of the Keppinger deal, Russ Canzler was designated for assignment. The move opens up a spot on the 40-man roster for Keppinger. There were some who thought Canzler had a chance to make the team and steal some starts from Carlos Pena. This move obviously foils that plan. It looks like the Rays will do what they did with Casey Kotchman last year, by having Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez back up Pena.
Rays News and Notes
- The Rays released their list of non-roster invites to Spring Training. Two of the biggest names were prospects Tim Beckham and Hak-Ju Lee. The shortstop prospects don’t have any chance to make the team, but it will be nice to see how they perform against Major League pitching.
- Speaking of prospects, MLB.com released their prospect watch for 2012. The Rays had six make the list, with Matt Moore being named the top prospect in baseball. The other five were Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, Tim Beckham and recent draftees Mikie Mahtook and Taylor Guerrieri.
- Matt Joyce will be hosting a Sweet Swing camp this Sunday at North Brandon Little League. Grant Balfour and other pros will attend. It is always great to see the Rays doing good things for the community, and the Rays seem to do a good job interacting with the fans.
- The four Spring Training games that will be televised on Sun Sports have been released. Marc Topkin has all the info on the Heater.
- Finally, for those of you heading out to the annual Gasparilla celebration on Saturday, a trio of Rays will be the Grand Marshalls for the parade. Matt Joyce, James Shields, and David Price will all have the honor this year.