While you watched the Tampa Bay Rays sweep the New York Yankees, there were a few Rays news items worth discussing.
Back in June, Drew discussed how the Rays were the favorites for shortstop Adrian Rondon, one of the top prospects available among international free agents, and that has indeed happened. The Rays signed Rondon for $3.3 million, surpassing their bonus allotment of $1,988,100 with him alone. The Rays clearly think it’s worth it, however–he is considered an extremely advanced hitter for his age with tools across the board and a chance to be in the major leagues by the time he’s 20 years old. The signing will not become official until Rondon turns 16 on July 7th. The Rays also signed outfielder Jesus Sanchez for $400,000. Sanchez doesn’t have Adrian Rondon’s pure abilities, but he also has a mature approach and some pop in his bat. Even through just two signings, it is clear that the Rays are pulling off the same trick that they did in 2012, when they surpassed their IFA bonus pool to sign prospects like Jose Mujica and Jose Castillo.
A few days ago, the Rays claimed right-handed reliever Cory Burns off waivers from the Texas Rangers, designating right-hander Angel Sanchez for assignment to make room. The Rays had to hope that Sanchez would pass through waivers and remain in the organization, but instead, he has been claimed by the Chicago White Sox. Sanchez, 24, has been struggling at Double-A despite electric stuff, and apparently the Rays did not see enough from him to think that he was worth keeping.
Finally, Taylor Guerrieri is back. The 21 year old Rays top prospect made his first appearance since Tommy John Surgery, working a perfect inning for the GCL Rays with a pair of groundouts. After the surgery and a suspension for a drug of abuse, Guerrieri has a lot to overcome as a pitcher, but it is great to see him beginning that process. The Rays will be extremely careful with Guerrieri for now, but hopefully he will make it back to full-season ball games within a month and start making up for his lost development time.