Tampa Bay Rays Minors News: Grady Sizemore, Chris Parmelee

By Robbie Knopf

We have four quick news items on our agenda before we hopefully get to finishing up our Tampa Bay Rays MLB Draft coverage with picks 32 through 40.

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The Rays have announced that they have signed three-time All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore to a minor league contract. Of course, those All-Star appearances came back in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Sizemore spent four years plus the first two-thirds of 2009 as one of the best players in baseball before injuries, specifically microfracture surgery in his knee, derailed his career. He was decent in 2011 before disappearing until 2014, and he has since been mediocre for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies the last two years.

Sizemore isn’t that old–he’s still just 32–but we haven’t seen him do anything to help a baseball team with any sort of consistency in years. That being said, the Rays are losing nothing by signing him, and they could always use another emergency outfield option. They will work with him on his swing and defense to see if they can help him recapture even a small portion of his previous talent, although their expectations going in are basically nothing.

Someone who could be more interesting for the Rays is first baseman/outfielder Chris Parmelee. Parmelee has an opt-out from his minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles in the next few days, and Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rays could sign him and call him up unless the Orioles soon promote him. Parmelee, 27, has a .312/.381/.444 line with 13 doubles, 6 homers, 32 RBI, and a 49-28 strikeout to walk ratio in 265 plate appearances for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. Parmelee has a respectable .249/.317/.392 line (96 OPS+) in 901 major league PA’s.

Parmelee is nothing special offensively and is a horrific defender and the outfield, but he is a capable defensive first baseman who can be decent against both lefty and righty pitchers. Parmelee, a lefty hitter, actually has a slight reverse split for his major league career (.727 OPS versus lefties compared to .703 against righties), although he has a more conventional split this season in the minors.

With James Loney expected to be out until at least the middle of July, Parmelee could give the Rays another option at first base, one who they could simply designate for assignment if they run out of room for him. If the Rays think that Chris Parmelee can hit better than Nick Franklin and Jake Elmore (although even Franklin has looked better of late), then they will sign him if they are afforded the chance.

Recent Tampa Bay Rays catcher Bobby Wilson has passed through waivers and will report to Triple-A Durham. He looked good defensively for the Rays, and he will be a nice guy to have around to work with young pitchers. Luke Maile will be the Bulls’ primary catcher because he actually has a chance to hit, although it would be interesting to see who the Rays would call up if they needed a third catcher at some point. We will likely find out in September if not sooner.

Finally, the Rays have already agreed to terms with fourth round pick Brandon Koch. Koch is a high-octane relief arm out of Dallas Baptist who stands out for his fastball-sldier combination. For a full report on him, check out our profile of him.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: 31st Rounder Tim Ingram a Division III Sleeper