Friday, February 14, 2014

Getting Ready for Spring — Part 2: Catchers

A glance at the Rays 40-man shows two catchers on the list. They are going to need both of those guys. So, unlike any season that I can recall, the Bulls will be starting their season without a catcher who’s also on the 40-man. We see five catchers on the NRI list. If that seems like a lot, remember all those pitchers in camp. Somebody’s got to lead them through their daily routines and catch/warm them up once the games start.

Regular readers know that I’m very much an amateur at this business and I really don’t put much faith in my own predictions, but ...


Of those five catchers, one has worn a Bulls uniform. Mayo Acosta was an emergency call-up from A+ ball in 2012 and played in 9 games. Two, Casali and Maile, have never played AAA ball. And, not to put too fine a point on it, while Rodriguez and Solis both have 8 seasons of pro ball, neither of them have much AAA time.

The Rays dealt away three superb catchers from the Bulls last year (Vogt, Gimenez, and Albernaz). The current situation simply doesn’t look good at all. What puzzles me is that the Rays do such a good job picking pitchers, how come they don’t do better at finding guys to catch them?

Mayo Acosta26BiscuitsStatsNotes
Curt Casali25BiscuitsStatsOnly AA
Luke Maile23Bowling Green (A)StatsOnly A
Eddy Rodriguez28Padres systemStats47 AAA games
Roman Ali Solis26Pirates SystemStats41 AAA games

Update to Part 1

Two changes to the pitchers we need to keep an eye on. Just keep remembering the 40-man, NRI rubric. If they are a non-roster invitee they’ve got to get on the 40-man to play for the Rays (but are fair game for the Bulls). And they’ve got to get into the rotation/relief corp to stay with the Rays for the season opener. That said, the Rays traded catcher Jose Lobaton (and Felipe Rivero, who was on yesterday’s list) for an up-and-coming RHP Jake Karns from the Nationals system. [stats]. He could easily start the year either with the Biscuits (the Rays AA team over in Montgomery, Alabama, or with the Bulls).

Also the Rays have reportedly signed a veteran LHP Erik Bedard to a minor league deal. [stats]. As Bulls fans we should be skeptical of ever seeing Mr. Bedard. Yes, he signed a minor league deal, but that doesn’t mean he has to accept a minor league assignment at the end of spring training (it’s all in the fine print that we will never see). If he doesn’t make the Rays 25-man, but does slip into the 40-man, then the Bulls could have a left-handed starter, but don’t bet on it. Much more likely he has some sort of opt-out agreement.

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