May 1, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman talks to the media after signing designator hitter Hideki Matsui (not pictured) to a minor league contract at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Rays Reclamation Projects

Baseball is a game of second chances. If a player shows potential, even if his career looks bleak he will very often catch on with another organization to at least give his baseball career one last shot to succeed. Every team signs players who fit that profile. But the Rays may do that most often of anyone in baseball. Since 1996, the Rays have acquired 40 players who fit a specific profile: former first round picks who never could establish themselves as big league players. Most of them never amounted to anything. But a few of them have become important, even critical pieces for the Rays as they have transformed their team from a losing culture to a team that has made the playoffs 3 of the last 4 years. Others moved on from the Rays organization before finding success and the largest group never amounted to anything. But it’s interesting to look at them and see what the Rays and their general managers Chuck LaMar and now Andrew Friedman saw when they chose to give these players one more chance. Over the coming weeks, we will go through all 40 players, learn their stories, and analyze how the Rays have been able to be so successful with their reclamation projects. We’ll see it all- success, failure, and frustration- and it will be an interesting experience. It’s something for all of you to look forward to here at RCG.

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Tags: MLB Draft

  • thebaseballcube

    Too bad they didn’t stick with their ultimate reclamation project Josh Hamilton!

  • RCG_Robbie

     @thebaseballcube Well, yes (as we talked about here: Hamilton wouldn’t qualify for this list anyway (since the Rays themselves drafted him), but it has to frustrating to watch him seize the upside we always knew he had as a member of the Rangers. (Although after Hamilton was suspended for 3 years from his drug problems, you can’t exactly blame the Rays.) But there are a bunch of notable players on this list that helped the Rays achieve their recent success. There’s no Hamilton in there, but not very often do you see a Hamilton-caliber player leave his original team before reaching free agency or being part of a blockbuster deal. But the Rays found other gems, and it all has worked out in the end- going from last place nearly every year to 3 playoff trips in 4 years with more on the way is pretty darn good.