Tampa Bay Rays: The Unparalleled Value of Matt Joyce

Connor McKnightSenior Analyst IAugust 31, 2012

ST PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 21:  Outfielder Matt Joyce #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays cannot get to this fly ball against the Kansas City Royals during the game at Tropicana Field on August 21, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

While the Rays hope to avoid their current losing slump and refocus their efforts on obtaining a wild card position, the small-market squad has been consistently highlighting the expertise of general manager Andrew Friedman.

Amongst Friedman’s long list of financially beneficial signings over the past few seasons, Matt Joyce rests as one of the best values on this Tampa Bay squad.

After last season’s campaign where Joyce hit .277 with 19 home runs and 75 RBIs, Friedman understood the type of weapon he had in the former Detroit Tigers prospect.

While the media focused on the free agency of Albert Pujols, Friedman immediately pursued his versatile outfielder.

He quickly inked Matt Joyce on a one-year contract worth $499,500.

Considering Joyce’s production and relative consistency in the outfield, this was definitely a steal and a financially sound decision by a general manager of a contending, yet small-market team.

Joyce lived up to Friedman’s trust. To date, his average has dropped since last season to .255, but he still notched 14 home runs and 48 RBIs.

A versatile option in the outfield, Joyce has been a solid aspect of a Tampa Bay offense that struggled offensively without third baseman Evan Longoria. With Joyce as a key aspect of the Longoria-less squad, Tampa Bay was still able to win crucial games and stay in the playoff hunt.

While he is definitely not leading the league in any of the major categories, Joyce serves as a key member of the Tampa Bay team. The 2011 AL All-Star represents a player that has made a career out of solid performances and as seen in baseball philosophies like the policy of Billy Beane in Moneyball.

Matt Joyce is the type of player that can help the Tampa Bay Rays, with their small payroll, shock the big-market teams and clinch a berth into the MLB Playoffs.