Teaming up with the Seattle Mariners, their most frequent trade partner of late, the Tampa Bay Rays have added additional catching depth acquiring Jesus Sucre.
Once again, the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners have pulled off another trade acquiring catcher Jesus Sucre for a player to be named later or cash. Sucre had recently been designated for assignment and was not on Seattle’s 40-man roster, so the Rays will not have to make a corresponding move to accommodate him on the roster.
You can never have enough pitching, which the Rays certainly have, but that is not the case concerning catchers, as the Rays have had little or no depth at the position. The acquisition of Sucre marks the Rays second catching pick-up this off-season having added veteran Michael McKenry and signing him to a minor-league deal.
The interesting part of this deal is that Sucre was a Super 2 player arbitration eligible for the first time and agreed to avoid arbitration by signing a one-year split deal with the Mariners in December. The split called for $600,000 if he stayed in the majors and $300,000 if he is sent to the minors according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Good news though for the Rays, as he still has three more arbitration years after the 2017 season.
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Sucre has had problems hitting major league pitching as evident with his time in Seattle, as over parts of four seasons he owns a slash line of .209/.246/.276 in 264 at-bats. However, his numbers in the minors paint a different picture as over parts of four seasons at Triple-A Tacoma he has slashed .279/.312/.341.
The 28-year old has spent the majority of his career in the minors, 11 seasons all told, where he has batted .259/.294/.340 with 21 home runs, and 209 RBIs in 581 games.
Having sustained a fractured fibula during winter ball last December (2015), Sucre spent the major of the season at Triple-A Tacoma in 2016, where he would hit .273/.301/.333 in 29 games following his return from the DL. He would play in only nine games for the Mariners (July and Sept) hitting .480 (12-for-25) with one home run and five RBIs.
However, while he has struggled at the plate his defense behind the plate has not. Considered a very good defender, he has thrown out 35 percent of attempted base stealers at the major league level. Baseball America has sited him as a strong overall catcher, with a “cannon arm” and ranked him as the Braves No. 27 prospect following the 2009 season.
Originally signed by the Atlanta Braves as an amateur free agent in 2005, he was released by Atlanta in July 2011 and signed days later by Seattle.
This is the third trade between the two clubs this off-season, the first coming in November when the Rays traded Richie Shaffer and Taylor Motter, and followed that up with the trade of Drew Smyly last month.
In 2015, the two clubs had the first significant trade of the off-season just days removed from the conclusion of the World Series when Nathan Karns, C.J. Riefenhauser and minor league outfielder Boog Powell were dealt for Logan Morrison, Brad Miller and Danny Farquhar.
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He will be coming into spring training as a non-roster invitee and it is doubtful that he has any chance of making the opening day roster, however, in all likelihood he will head to Triple-A with Durham for insurance.