Down in the Tampa Bay area they are obsessing about Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. See, for example, Marc Topkin of the St Pete Times.
Up here, however, we are more interested in less flashy/famous players. As has been mentioned here before, the 2011 Durham Bulls will be mostly drawn from players on the Tampa Bay 40-man who don’t make the 25-man active list out of spring training and the players with a “non-roster invitation” to spring training. We mentioned some possibilities in an earlier post here. And most of the players in the Garza trade have a shot, as was discussed here.
The Rays have just signed five more players we need to keep an eye on. Here's a quote from the press release:
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed five players to minor league contracts, each with an invitation to major league spring training: right-handed pitcher Jonah Bayliss, outfielder Chris Carter, right-handed pitcher Dirk Hayhurst and infielders Daniel Mayora and Ray Olmedo.
More details on the players are here.
I have fond memories of Ray Olmedo’s 2009 tenure with the Bulls. I like guys like Ray who have good gloves and solid baseball instincts. Have to think that he’s a clubhouse asset or he would never have been signed. Nice to see that he’s got another shot at playing for the Bulls. He took us into the Governors' Cup and the AAA Championship in 2009, maybe he can do it again.