Tampa Bay Rays Sign Three to Minor League Contracts

Alex SchuhartCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2012

Will Rhymes
Will RhymesLeon Halip/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed outfielder Jesus Feliciano, second baseman Will Rhymes and pitcher Romulo Sanchez to minor league contracts.

Rhymes is the only member of the triumvirate to have spent time at the major league level in 2011. Feliciano spent the entire year in the minor leagues, while Sanchez pitched in Japan.

The 28-year-old Rhymes hit .235 with no home runs and two RBI in 29 games for the Detroit Tigers last season.

A speedy second-sacker, the right-handed hitter spent most of the year with the Toledo Mud Hens, the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, with whom he hit .306 with 13 stolen bases in 104 games.

Always hustling, Rhymes can be counted on to hit between the .290 and .300 each year at the minor league level. Though his major league experience is limited, he has shown he can do that in The Show as well—the 2007 Florida State League All-Star made his big league debut in 2010, hitting .304 in 191 at-bats.

Feliciano, 32, last appeared at the major league level in 2010, playing in 54 games as a reserve for the New York Mets and hitting .231 with no home runs and three RBI in 108 at-bats. That season was his only taste of the majors to date.

In 2011, he mostly played for the Mets’ Triple-A squad, the Buffalo Bisons, hitting .263 in 121 matches. In eight games with their Double-A team, the Binghamton Mets, he hit .324.

The Puerto Rico native is a singles hitter with good but declining speed. Though he does not strike out much—his career high in the minor leagues is 57—he does not walk much either.

Despite his down average in 2011, the career minor leaguer can normally be relied upon to hit around .300—from 2007 to 2010, his average never dropped below .308 and it peaked at .339 in the final year of that span.

Sanchez, 27, has had three cups of coffee at the big league level, last appearing in two games for the New York Yankees two years ago. In 4.1 innings that season, he struck out five batters and did not allow a run.

The 270-pound behemoth, who has also pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, went 0-2 with a 4.96 ERA in 15 relief appearances for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2011.  

Though he can strike batters out on a regular basis, whiffing 10.5 batters per nine innings in 2011, he also walks them on a regular basis—in 104 minor league innings in 2010, he walked 59 batsmen, or more than one every two frames.