Monday, January 13, 2014

One More Bull Who Won't Be Back ... And More

Mike Fontenot, Aug 20 2014
Photo courtesy Durham Herald-Sun
  • Mike Fontenot has signed with the Nationals, so he won't be back. He played in 120 games for the Bulls last year and, as we reported in our year-end summary, he was a key part of the championship team. We always considered him something of an infielder-in-waiting if the Rays needed someone in a hurry. Very solid stats. He only had 12 errors and he participated in 56 double plays last year. Good luck, Mike. Hope you get a shot at wearing a Nationals uniform. Otherwise we'll see you in a Syracuse Chiefs outfit when the Bulls come calling on May 5th.
  • Rays pitchers and catchers report to spring training in 32 days, Port Charlotte, Florida.
  • First Bulls game in 80 days.
  • Meanwhile, remember all those extra folks walking around with cameras and press passes last year? Well, mark your calendar for February 23d at the North Carolina Museum of Art when the Bull City Summer exhibit goes on display. Now, here's WDBB's question: is the opening going to be black tie, champagne and canap├ęs? Or is it going to be jeans, flip-flops and t-shirts, beer, and hot dogs? Art as baseball or baseball as art?
  • How about that grass? Looks like it survived the cold snap. Had me worried.
DBAP, Jan 13, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Is Ray Olmedo Coming Back?

Ray Olmedo Hoisting the 2009 Governors' Cup for the Bulls
The Rays signed four players to minor league contracts and one of them is well-known to Bulls fans — Ray Olmedo. He was most recently mentioned in this blog when he started a triple play in a Rochester/Norfolk playoff game last year. We’ve written a lot about Ray over the years (he was a Bull in 2009 and 2011). He was first mentioned back on April 12, 2009. Interesting game, apparently. Obscure pitcher named Price was the starter. Ray got one of his rare home runs. He had 6 in 2009, but only 25 in his 11 years in Triple-A. He's always been an asset, particularly at 2B and 3B. And he always looks like he's having fun.

Are we sure he will be coming back? Well, no. What actually happened is that the Rays signed four ballplayers to minor league contracts with an “invitation to spring training.” If past is any prologue, almost all of the minor league free agents who get contracts worded like that are 1) released at or near the end of spring training, 2) assigned to the Durham Bulls, or 3) (rare) assigned to the Montgomery Biscuits. We’ll be writing more about this when spring training starts.

How about the other three players signed?

They are hitter James Darnell, catcher Ali Solis, and a young right-handed reliever named Santiago Garrido. You could not do better than to check out the profiles of these players by Robbie Knopf over at Rays Colored Glasses.