Rays Roundup: Rays Sign Dominican Prospect Jaun Carlos Arias

By David Hill

The Rays signed another Dominican free agent, as it was announced that they signed third baseman Juan Carlos Arias to a $200,000 contract prior to the June 15th deadline. Arias is thought to be 17 years old, although he was unable to pass his age investigation last year. The hope is that he can get an ‘age undetermined’ ruling from Major League Baseball to have the contract approved. Arias is noted to have a good deal of raw power, but may not stick at third despite his strong arm.

The signing is notable for another reason, as it means the Rays are even further over the $2.9Million allotment for signing international free agents. This contract will end up costing the Rays an additional $200,000 in taxes due to the overage. However, this is another example of the Rays willingness to spend to develop their minor leagues. Should he be able to develop into a true power hitting prospect down the line, that additional money will be well worth it.

After the decision had been made to hold Taylor Guerrieri out of the Futures Game, the Rays had another player added in left handed reliever C.J. Riefenhauser. Riefenhauser has spent most of the season with the Montgomery Biscuits before his recent prootion ot the Durham Bulls, and has produced a 4-0 record with a 0.62 ERA and eleven saves. In 58.1 innings spanning 37 games, Riefenhauser has struck out 54 batters. At only 23, he has really improved his performance this year, and is in the midst of what is easily his best minor league season. If he is able to continue to perform at that level, Riefenhauser may find himself in Tampa sometime next season.