Sam Fuld was a fan favorite during his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays. After he missed the entire 2016 season, the Rays are considering a reunion.
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In 2011, Sam Fuld became a fan favorite almost immediately. He had an incredible first few weeks for the Tampa Bay Rays, making incredible catches, stealing bases, and driving the ball around the Trop. He became Super Sam Fuld, a fan favorite and a player whose jersey Superman himself slept in.
While Fuld was unable to continue to perform at that high level, he became a solid outfielder for the Rays. He spent three solid years in Tampa Bay, producing a .230/.319/.326 batting line and stealing 35 bases, before moving on to Oakland and the Twins. He continued to be a solid player, albeit as a fourth outfielder than a starter before a shoulder injury led to a lost 2016 campaign.
Nonetheless, Fuld has established himself as a solid speed and defense player, one who can benefit a team with his abilities. And Fuld still does profile as a typical Rays player. Perhaps, given his time with the club, and his possible bargain price, it explains why Tampa Bay is again showing interest in the outfielder.
Yes, Fuld would add to an already crowded outfield. With Colby Rasmus, Steven Souza, and Kevin Kiermaier in the lineup, the Rays will still be looking to get Corey Dickerson and Nick Franklin time in the outfield. And what of Mallex Smith, the key part of the Drew Smyly trade? There just does not seem to be room on the roster for Fuld, even with his status as a former fan favorite.
However, he could still be a valuable depth piece. If he is willing to accept a minor league contract, Fuld could serve as valuable depth in Durham in case of injury or a lack of performance. Or, Fuld could take a spot on the Rays bench and push Smith to the minors, giving him more development time before he takes on a full time role next year.
Sam Fuld, on the right contract, could make sense for the Tampa Bay Rays. However, he would make an already crowded outfield picture that much cloudier.