Rays News

Rays News Roundup: Michael Kohn Signed, Front Office Promotions

By Robbie Knopf

A couple of important things have happened for the Tampa Bay Rays in the last few days, and let’s discuss them.

Yesterday, the Rays signed right-hander Michael Kohn to a major league contract for a yet-to-be-disclosed amount. Kohn, 28, was set to be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter before declaring free agency after the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim designated him for assignment. He managed a nice 3.04 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched for the Angels, but he put up just a 26-20 strikeout to walk ratio in his big league time and a 4.76 ERA in 34 Triple-A innings. Kohn has some serious control issues, as evidenced by his 7.3 BB/9 between Triple-A and the majors. However, the Rays see in Kohn the next pitcher with electric stuff that they can turn around.

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Kohn averaged 95.38 MPH on his fastball this season according to Brooks Baseball, and he throws two other pitches with potential in his low-80’s slider and high-80’s changeup. It won’t be an easy task getting to throw the ball over the plate more, but the Rays have done it before, and even with another embattled ex-Angels reliever. In 2011 for the Angels, Fernando Rodney‘s BB/9 was a horrifying 7.9 before the Rays got him on track. With Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger locking up the back end of the bullpen, the Rays don’t need another Rodney, just a useful reliever. They have the ability to turn Michael Kohn into that.

In other news, the Rays have promoted their two directors of baseball operations, Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander, to vice presidents of baseball operations. As noted on the Rays’ official site, Bloom and Neander worked closely with Friedman and having been rising stars in the Rays’ front office. With Andrew Friedman moving onto the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bloom and Neander will take on more important roles, and they have the ability to do so successfully. Andrew Friedman was an excellent general manager, but there is plenty of talent left in the Rays’ front office. With Matt Silverman, Chaim Bloom, and Erik Neander leading the way, the Rays expect the same superior results that they have achieved for years now.