The first pop of the glove is less than a month away, as Rays' pitchers and catchers are set to report to Spring Training on February 13. A full team workout is scheduled for Sunday, February 17 but the Rays are said to be interested in acquiring another outfielder before they open camp.
Pouring over the list of free agents left on the market, there are a couple of names left that would benefit the lineup. You have to understand in January, pickings are slim and so is the Rays' financial flexibility. Centerfielder Michael Bourn is the top unsigned free agent on the market, if you couple in the fact he's represented by Scott Boras, and his high dollar expectations you can cross him off the Rays' list.
I think Scott Hairston would be a nice fit; he's 33 and hit 20 home runs last season. He's not too much of a speed threat with 8 stolen bases, and his .263 batting average leaves a little bit to be desired. Hairston plays leftfield, so Desmond Jennings would have to slide over to centerfield which the Rays are going to do anyway with the exodus of BJ Upton. Plus Hairston is affordable; he made only $1.1 million last year.
We keep hearing Delmon Young, Luke Scott and some other unsavory names tossed in to the mix for potential designated hitters.
Young is a head case, he's underperformed since he came up with the Rays to begin his career. Bringing Luke Scott back for another season wouldn't be too bad, but it's not ideal. His injuries last season are a big turnoff especially if Evan Longoria goes out for any extended period of time. The Rays need to have a reliable DH to supplement some power numbers if Longoria hits the disabled list and Scott leaves something to prove in the reliability factor.
Another injury prone possibility is Grady Sizemore, he has multiple Gold Gloves but has only played in 104 games over the past two seasons. He's waiting to be one hundred percent physically before signing with a club. Last season he rushed back and injured his knee, but if he heels in a hurry he could be a nice addition. Overall the Rays must find a stop gap until Wil Myers comes up from Durham.
I don't see Myers making the club out of camp, if the Rays send him down for some seasoning in AAA, they can hold back his arbitration eligibility for one more year by bringing him up in June.
It's slim pickings so the Rays will have to make sure the sabermetrics' calculator is fully charged. It's going to be tough to figure out who'll be the best deal out of the free agents still available on the market.