(via Tampa Bay Rays Communications) - The Tampa Bay Rays have added infielder Vince Belnome, right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn, left-handed pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser and right-handed pitcher Kirby Yates to their 40-man roster, bringing the total to 37 players.
In addition, the Rays signed three players to minor league contracts with an invitation to major league spring training camp: right-handed pitchers Mark Lowe, Victor Mateo and Sam Runion. Also signed to minor league contracts were catcher Mayo Acosta and right-handed pitchers Mike Colla, Eduar Quiñonez and Albert Suarez.
Belnome (bell-NO-may), 25, spent the 2013 season at Triple-A Durham and hit .300 (133-for-444) with eight home runs and 67 RBI in 127 games. He ranked among International League leaders in hits (133, 4th), doubles (35, T-3rd), batting average (.300, 7th), on-base percentage (.408, 2nd), runs scored (77, 2nd) and walks (84, T-3rd). In his first year in the Rays system, the Coatesville, Pa. native was named Durham’s Most Valuable Player by the Rays baseball operations department while earning spots on both the International League midseason and postseason All-Star teams. He was acquired from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league left-handed pitcher Chris Rearick following the 2012 season.
Hahn, 24, went 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA (67-IP, 16-ER) in 19 starts at Class-A Charlotte in 2013 and was named to the Florida State League’s midseason All-Star Team. Baseball America tabbed him as having the Best Fastball in the Rays system in its Best Tools Survey following the 2012 season. The righthander has a career 2.38 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched over two minor league seasons. He was selected by the Rays in the sixth round of the 2010 June Draft out of Virginia Tech University.
Riefenhauser (REEF-en-how-zer), 23, split the season between Double-A Montgomery and Durham, compiling a 1.22 ERA (73.2-IP, 10-ER) in 51 total appearances. He was named to the Southern League’s midseason All-Star Team and also represented the U.S. Team in the Futures Game at New York’s Citi Field in July. At season’s end, Baseball America selected him to the 2013 Minor League All-Star Team, the only relief pitcher named to the first team. He was also named by Baseball America as the Best Reliever in the Southern League. The lefthander has a career 2.99 ERA over four minor league seasons. He was selected by the Rays in the 20th round of the 2010 June Draft out of Chipola (Fla.) Junior College.
Yates, 26, spent the season at Durham and earned midseason All-Star honors, going 3-2 with a 1.90 ERA (61.2-IP, 13-ER) and 93 strikeouts in 51 appearances. His 20 saves led Rays farmhands and tied for third in the International League. Following the season, he was named the organization’s Best Relief Pitcher by the Rays baseball operations department. Over five minor league seasons, he has averaged 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings pitched with a .202 batting average against. Yates was signed as a non-drafted free agent in June 2009.
Lowe, 30, has spent parts of eight seasons in the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners (2006-10), Texas Rangers (2010-12) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2013). He owns a career 4.17 ERA in 264 games, all in relief. Last season, Lowe pitched in 11 games for the Angels after making their Opening Day roster. He was designated for assignment on May 29, signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals in June and spent the remainder of the season with Triple-A Syracuse, where he went 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA (28.2-IP, 10-ER) and 37 strikeouts in 24 games.
Mateo, 24, has spent his entire career in the Rays organization and was briefly a free agent before re-signing with the club. In 2013, his first year at the Double-A level, he went 7-9 with a 3.93 ERA (153.1-IP, 67-ER) in 27 games (26 starts) for Montgomery. On August 24, the Dominican Republic native recorded the second no-hitter in Biscuits history in a nine-inning shutout vs. Jacksonville (Marlins).
Runion, who turned 25 this month, spent the first seven years of his professional career in the Kansas City Royals system. He pitched in 37 games (one start) for Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2013, going 4-2 with a 3.72 ERA (55.2-IP, 23-ER), and in July pitched in one game for Omaha, his Triple-A debut. He was selected by the Royals in the second round of the 2007 June Draft out of Asheville (N.C.) High School.
Jeff Niemann may return to the Rays but it's unlikely, and on Monday the team made him a free agent.
Niemann was outrighted off the 40-man roster and chose to turn to free agency.
The tall right-handed starting pitcher missed all of last season after shoulder surgery.
Photos from Saturday’s KaBOOM! event at Union Academy Family Center in Tarpon Springs. More than 200 volunteers from the Tampa Bay Rays, Citizens Alliance for Progress, Inc., organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Tarpon Springs community pressed on through a rainy morning and afternoon to complete the playground in only one day.
BY: John Mamola / 620wdae.com
In case you missed Wednesday night's episode of the new ESPN show "Olbermann", you missed a nearly six minute presentation by ESPN analyst/host Keith Olbermann reacting to comments by super-agent Scott Boras. Boras telling the Star-Ledger on Wednesday that he suggests the Rays should move to New Jersey.
“I think there’s a lot of cities that may attract them, but I don’t know…maybe…maybe New Jersey would like their win percentage,” Boras said, completing his takedown of the Tampa Bay market….
Tampa Bay had the worst attendance in the majors in 2013, when Rays averaged a 18,645 fans per game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., a facility universally regarded as outdated. They also finished last in 2012 and 29th in 2011 despite posting a winning record each season.
“I would say the Tale of Two Cities: The one they’re in and the one they should be in,” Boras said.
Olbermann took to the airwaves and presented the following.
Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey joined the Ron and Ian Show Wednesday morning to talk about the team's offseason plans as far as pitchers are concerned, including David Price. Will the Rays re-sign Fernando Rodney or go in another direction?
Click below to hear what Hickey had to say about all things Rays pitching:
photo credit: Getty Images
Rays outfielder Wil Myers capped a sweep of the postseason rookie award by winning the American League Rookie of the Year.
by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
He may have arrived later than most rookies, but outfielder Wil Myers' 88 games with Tampa Bay were enough to net him the big prize for first-year players.
Myers was named the American League Rookie of the Year Monday by the Baseball Writers Association of America, besting both teammate Chris Archer and Detroit shortsop Jose Iglesias.
The 22-year-old hit .293 / .354 / .478 with 13 home runs and a AL rookie-best 53 RBI. Iglesias led American League rookies with a .303 batting average with 3 homers and 29 RBI in 109 games played. Archer, 25, finished the year 9-7 with a 3.22 earned run average in 23 big-league starts.
Myers previously was named the Top American League Rookie by The Sporting News in October, and also won the MLB Players Choice Award for Outstanding Rookie in the American League last week, beating out both Archer and Iglesias for each award.
Final voting (1st - 2nd - 3rd): Total points
1) Tampa Bay OF Wil Myers (23 - 5 - 1): 131 pts.
2) Boston / Detroit SS Jose Iglesias (5 - 17 - 4): 80 pts.
3) Tampa Bay RHP Chris Archer (1 - 5 - 15): 35 pts.
4) Oakland RHP Dan Straily (1 - 2 -4): 15 pts.
5) Los Angeles Angels OF J.B. Schuck (0 - 1 - 1): 4 pts.
6) Cleveland RHP Cody Allen (0 - 0 - 2): 2 pts.
7) Texas LHP Martin Perez (0 - 0 - 2): 2 pts.
8) Kansas City OF David Lough (0 - 0 - 1): 1 pts.
photo credit: Getty Images
Rays fans will see a lot more of outfielder David DeJesus after he signed a two-year extension with the team Wednesday.
by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
David DeJesus says his decision to sign an extension with the Tampa Bay Rays wasn't about money, it was about getting another possibility for postseason action.
"Playing meaningful baseball was high on my priorities," the Tampa Bay outfielder said Wednesday. "Being back with that team and getting back with those guys that I grew comfortable with that was definitely something. I just wanted a fair deal, and I feel that we worked toward it, and we got it."
The 33-year-old will remain in a Tampa Bay uniform through at least the 2015 season, with the club holding an option for the 2016 season.
"He does a lot of things that we value. He's fit in extremely well for the time he was here," executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "Getting a chance to watch how he takes care of himself gave us the confidence and conviction that would be able to remain a good player for at least the next two years."
Click below to hear from the outfielder!
And hear from Andrew Friedman on DeJesus as well as what he thinks this first wave of free agency will bring!