The Rays certainly like to keep things interesting. Tonight they face the Texas Rangers in Game 163, with the winner advancing to the playoffs. Considering the Rangers edged the Rays out of winning the ALDS in 2010 and 2011, everything is on the line in tonight’s matchup. While the Rays are wishing to extend their season, two veteran Rays players are hoping to finally make their first career playoff appearances.
Relief pitcher Jamey Wright and outfielder David DeJesus have never made it to the playoffs in their Major League careers. Wright is currently playing in his 18th season in the MLB, while DeJesus is in his 11th season.
Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 1993 and making his big league debut with them in 1996, Wright has played for 10 teams over the course of his career. He has spent time with the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and more during those years.
Wright played with the Dodgers last year, which were eliminated from the Wild Card race with two days left in the season. Another playoff chance came when he was traded in August of 2002 to the Cardinals, who were ranked first in the NL Central. However, Wright had only four appearances with St. Louis and was inactive when the Cardinals advanced to the playoffs. They beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS but lost to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.
During Spring Training this year, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times talked to Wright about not making it to the playoffs yet.
“I’ve dreamed about it ever since I was 7 years old,” Wright said. “I know exactly how it’s going to feel. And I just want to feel it and have it not be a dream.”
David DeJesus has also missed out on living the dream. The Kansas City Royals drafted DeJesus in 2002, and he made his debut with the Royals on September 2, 2003. However, the Royals were ranked third in the AL Central and never made it to the playoffs. During DeJesus’ career, he has played for the Royals, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals. None of those teams came close to making the playoffs while DeJesus was on their roster. The Rays claimed him in August, hoping he could bolster their lineup to help in the playoff push.
“We’re very excited about getting [DeJesus],” Joe Maddon told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune in August. “We’ve liked him for several years now. Been difficult to get our hands on him. A very good outfielder, good baserunner and, I think, a very good hitter…he adds a lot to our clubhouse also.”
While both Wright and DeJesus are closer to the playoffs than ever before, their veteran experience can be an asset to David Price and the Rays’ lineup tonight. Let’s just hope Wright and DeJesus can reach their playoff dreams while wearing a Rays uniform.