Frustration Mounts for Brandon Guyer

By Robbie Knopf

Over the last two months of 2013, Brandon Guyer will make upwards of $150,000 without playing a game. The Rays called up Guyer to place him on their 15-day disabled list, allowing him to earn a major league salary the rest of the season. Don’t you wish you could make that type of money for doing nothing? For Guyer, however, the money he will be making is far from sufficient retribution for the golden opportunity that he just barely missed.

It could have been the big break Guyer was waiting for. Desmond Jennings went down with a broken finger, and the Rays needed a centerfielder. The Rays have plenty of outfielders, but Guyer stood head and shoulders above the rest because of his ability to play a strong centerfield while impressing at the plate as well. Instead, just over a week earlier, Guyer went down with the exact same injury, a broken finger, an injury that will sideline him the rest of the season. It was as though the baseball gods were mocking him, exclaiming how while every player has his ups and downs, his injuries and his slumps, Guyer’s predicament went beyond it all. After shoulder surgery put him on the 60-day DL in 2012, this finger injury has placed him back on the major league DL once again this season. Ironically, Guyer has made a major league salary both seasons–earning money like a major league player even though he certainly wasn’t feeling like one. And the worst part of it all is how well Guyer has played since joining the organization prior to the 2011 season, slamming 3 home runs in just 50 big league plate appearances and a .305/.380/.486 line with 24 homers and 40 stolen bases in 913 PA’s at Triple-A. Guyer is now 27 years of age and is by all accounts too old to be a real prospect. Nevertheless, though, he has a nice combination of power and speed and the ability to make an impact in the major leagues right now. The Rays could certainly use him if he was healthy. But why does it seem like the players who are underdogs from the start have obstacle after obstacle surface out of nowhere to stop them?

The Rays haven’t given up Brandon Guyer yet. He remains on their 40-man roster, and with a combination of health, performance, and luck, he could make his way onto their roster next year. But every year that he goes by without establishing himself in the big leagues brings him one year closer to his career’s demise.