Tampa Bay Rays Re-Sign OF Gabe Kapler

Thaddeus WalkContributor IOctober 27, 2009

According to an AP report, the Tampa Bay Rays have re-signed one half of their Double-Gabe right field platoon, welcoming back Gabe Kapler.

The team announced a one-year deal worth $1.05 million earlier today. The 34-year-old Kapler played in 99 games this season for the Rays, sharing time with Gabe Gross in right field, and finished the year batting .239 with eight homers and 32 RBI.

Kapler started the 2009 season platooning in center field with Tampa Bay newcomer Matt Joyce in place of regular starter B.J. Upton, who had off-season surgery on his left shoulder and was not ready for Opening Day. Kapler then began to platoon in right field with Gross.

Kapler's specialty is playing against southpaws, a job he did particularly well in 2008 and continued in 2009. He hit .354 with four of his eight homers in 82 at-bats against left-handers. Gross, Ben Zobrist or another player would usually get the start in right field when a rightie was on the mound.

Kapler initially signed with Tampa Bay last January as a free agent. He has also played with Detroit, Texas, Colorado, Boston and Milwaukee during parts of 11 Major League seasons.

His season in Tampa Bay went mostly under the radar to out-of-market fans except for his SportsCenter claim to fame. On April 13, Kapler struck out against New York Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher in a blowout for the Rays at Tropicana Field.

In 2010, Kapler is expected to keep his spot in right field as a platoon with Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings or another. He will likely only start against left-handed opposing pitchers.