Breaking News: Leslie Anderson’s Story Ends

By Robbie Knopf

Leslie Anderson played four years in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, appearing in 455 games total. Not one of those games came for the big league club. Anderson agreed to a four-year, $3.75 million deal with the team prior to the 2010 season, but the team never deemed him worthy of a call-up. They already knew prior to the 2011 season when they designated him for assignment to accommodate Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on their 40-man roster, and now they have made it official. Joe Smith reports that the Rays have released Anderson so he can pursue an opportunity in Asia. His failed tenure with the team has officially reached its conclusion.

The crazy thing is that Anderson’s numbers were not so bad. In 386 Triple-A games and 1599 plate appearances, he managed a .295/.348/.439 line, becoming one of the Durham Bulls’ most dependable hitters. But the issues rained down right from the start. Anderson was already 28 when the Rays signed him, meaning he had to complete his development immediately to crack the Rays’ roster with his prime still ahead of him. Instead, it was not until his fourth and final season that he started walking with any regularity as he failed to show the plate discipline necessary to succeed in the major leagues. Combine that with his inherent flaws as a player–he is a corner outfielder and first baseman without much power and he is not so great defensively either–and Anderson’s career prospects were limited. The Rays signed Anderson knowing he had some promise, but for the most part he either did not come as advertised or failed to deliver until it was too late.

Best of luck to Leslie Anderson as he continues his career. He deserved an opportunity to advance his career somewhere, and hopefully in Asia that will finally take place. Anderson may return to America, and he still has a chance to make the major leagues someday. But at this point, it is no longer the Rays’ concern. The Rays signed Leslie Anderson hoping for one thing and instead received something else. He never made the major leagues because he never proved himself deserving and that will be the way his story in the Rays organization comes to a close.