Potential Player of Interest: Doug Slaten | The Process Report

Potential Player of Interest: Doug Slaten

A lot can change between now and the spring, but the Rays project to have three left-handed relievers on the opening day roster: Jake McGee, Cesar Ramos, and Alex Torres. McGee is the surest bet, Ramos is a good bet, and Torres is a wild card. The Rays cannot option any of the three to Durham without exposing them to waivers; though one could envision Torres heading out in a trade if necessary. Despite the trio of left-handed relievers at the top level, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rays sign a big-league-tested left-handed reliever to stash in Triple-A. If the Rays do opt for this route, Doug Slaten could fit the bill.

Slaten filed for minor-league free agency earlier this week, as is his offseason tradition. Over the past seven seasons, Slaten has appeared in 216 big-league games with three teams. He’s a journeyman and an everyman. Slaten’s stuff is not great; he throws a high-80s fastball, a high-70s slurve that serves as his starter and finisher against lefties, and a low-80s changeup to keep right-handers honest; though right-handers have the tendency to thrash Slaten whenever they get the opportunity. Slaten has one use: get lefties out—the departing J.P. Howell has a higher career OPS against left-handed batters than Slaten.

Three face-offs against Joey Votto this season illustrate what Slaten’s life is like. If he is to succeed then he must locate and outthink the hitter. That means using the slurve when the hitter is thinking fastball and the fastball when the hitter is thinking slurve. Slaten does just that in the final meeting with Votto. He throws him a slurve that Votto mistakes for a fastball, then a fastball that Votto mistakes for the slurve. The result is a strikeout. Not pretty, but effective.

Slaten’s usefulness and willingness to sign a minor-league deal will land him a job; be it with the Rays or another team.

One Comment

  1. Slaten would certainly be a nice arm to have down in Durham. I’d also like to see rubber arm Aaron Laffey be signed…..If Cesar Ramos was needed to make a start…..Slaten, Laffey, and Feliciano are three lefties I’d look at.

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