Perhaps it’s just a maneuver that will lead up to a contract but I found it interesting that the Tampa Bay Rays signed former outfielder Rocco Baldelli to a job as a special assistant instead of offering the guy even a minor league contract.
Rocco Baldelli has been hired as a special assistant to the Rays. You may remember that at one point it was said that Baldelli was suffering from a condition that was causing his muscles to shrink up and dissapear. Later it was found out that Baldelli was suffering from channelopathy which isn’t quite as bad.
Still Baldelli played in Boston last year amassing 150 at-bats and a .253/.311/.433 line. Hardly what he had been doing in years past but considering the reserve role and transition worse could have been expected.
Baldelli who is just 28 years of age is expected to work with the minor leaguers in Rays camp.
Had the Rays not already had a mass of outfielders on their roster it’s likely the two sides could have reached some sort of agreement. Still by accepting this role with Tampa Bay both sides appear to be leaving that door open. Baldelli will also have the opportunity to sign with another club should it arise.
The bottom line is he will be in playing shape one way or the other. Currently Tampa Bay’s glut of outfielders include Carl Crawford, BJ Upton, Matt Joyce, Gabe Kapler and second basemen Ben Zobrist also figures to obtain playing time out there. Pat Burrell by way of a huge contract is entrenched as the teams DH.
The rise of Baldelli to the fae of the Rays and then into darkness following his medical condition makes him an easy guy to root for and something tells me one way or the other a deal gets worked out between him and some team before spring training ends.