The Tampa Bay Rays have found their first baseman though not the right-handed bat they have been looking for with the return of Logan Morrison.
Still no right-handed bat, but the Tampa Bay Rays did find a first baseman as they chose to re-sign Logan Morrison to a one-year $2.5 million deal. With Morrison on-board, it now looks as though the Rays are set with shifting Brad Miller to second base to replace Logan Forsythe.
The deal was first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo via Twitter and confirmed by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times via Twitter. Topkin also adds that Morrison can earn close to additional $1 million in incentives.
Morrison got off to a horrendous start last season with the Rays, with no home runs, no RBIs through the first 29 games of the season posting a .364 OPS through his first 95 plate appearances.
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However, in mid-May, he began to rebound and in his final 303 plates appearances he would hit .275/.350/.498, with all 14 of his home runs and finish the season hitting .238 with 43 RBIs, in 107 games.
Chances are that had his season not end prematurely due to a wrist injury that required surgery, his time spent in the free agent pool would have been shorter and could have resulted in a bigger payday than what he received from the Rays.
The primary reason that the Rays liked Morrison and acquired him last season was his power and with hopes that he would flash some of his numbers from his second season in the majors when he hit 23 homers and 72 RBI in 123 games for the Marlins.
However, since 2012 he has not done much and has averaged just 12 home runs with 41 RBIs while batting .239. Speculation is that he will play first base and DH but that could all change if the Rays are still able to land a right-handed bat.
I would expect that the Rays would still sign a right-handed bat, which could now include Byung-Ho Park who was just DFA’s by Minnesota earlier today or getting into a stronger pursuit for switch-hitter Matt Wieters. The downside to Park is that he is owed $9 million dollars over the next three years.
Additionally Topkin says the addition of Morrison will require the Rays to drop someone off of the 40-man roster, with relievers Eddie Gamboa, Ryan Garton or Erasmo Ramirez (via trade) being the most likely.