More Information on Russ Canzler | The Process Report

More Information on Russ Canzler

If Google referrals are to be believed, then Russ Canzler is a surprisingly popular player. More people find this site through Googling for information on Canzler than just about any big league player. I’m not entirely sure why either. When I last covered Canzler, I admitted that I knew little about him other than his statistics, position, and hometown. Googling Canzler today, I ran across this hometown article from late November that sheds some light on his situation. The notable quotables:

“It was a very exciting, tense two weeks of negotiating and hearing offers from other teams,” he added. “In the end… the Rays were looking for a strong, right-handed corner infielder or outfielder with power who could help at the Triple A level right away… someone prepared to help them at the major league level sooner rather than later.”
“From what their assistant general manager told me, they have a lot of positions open at the Triple A level,” Canzler said. “With my bat and my versatility, this whole situation (with the Rays) really suits me.”

The rest of the article delves into the Joe Maddon connection (Canzler actually used to hit at Joe Maddon Field, as weird as that reads) and is worth the read. The second quote is pretty common information. Presumably Dan Feinstein is who Canzler is referencing and that pitch has probably been used on countless minor league relievers by this point in the offseason.

Each of the Rays’ internal options for Triple-A first base are either minor league free agents (Chris Richard, Joe Dillon, Ryan Royster) or projected to start in Double-A (Henry Wrigley, Matt Sweeney). The same can be said for the Rays’ third base options. That means, theoretically, that Canzler and Chris Carter could find themselves in the Durham Bulls’ lineup on a daily basis.

The more interesting aspect is the first quote. Specifically the last part: “Someone prepared to help them at the major league level sooner rather than later.” Maybe that’s the player overemphasizing his role and importance within the org or an executive providing hope – however hollow it might be – but it’s not that outlandish if Canzler’s power is legitimate. After all, the Rays currently lack a true backup to Evan Longoria and Dan Johnson (or whomever may start at first base) in the wake of Willy Aybar’s non-tendering.

Other minor league notes that we’ve neglected to mention:

– Toronto signed longtime Durham Bull Winston Abreu. I’m perhaps the biggest fan of Abreu shy of his immediate family. Things never opened up for Abreu here, but that the Toronto Blue Jays – a pretty smart team– signed him is interesting. Would not be surprised to see Abreu in the big leagues next season, although that park seems like a poor fit for someone of his talents.

– Oakland signed Joe Bateman. A side-armer with heavy groundball tendencies, Bateman – like Abreu – seemed like someone who might be able to fill a role for the Rays. Alas, it never worked out.

– Florida signed Darin Downs. Downs is best known for taking a line drive to the skull while pitching with the Montgomery Biscuits.

Roan Salas (Toronto), Heath Rollins (Kansas City), and Justin Dowdy (San Francisco) were selected in the minor league portions of the Rule 5 draft. Rollins is the only loss with big league implications. He was in consideration for the final bullpen spot until the very end last spring and profiles as a middle reliever in the big leagues.

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