Rays Claim Jerry Sands
It was announced earlier today that the Rays claimed outfielder Jerry Sands off waivers from the Pirates. Sands, 26, is a right-handed hitting outfield who is now in his fourth organization in the last 14 months.
He was originally a 25th round draft pick of the Dodgers in 2008 and hit well at every level in the organization before being traded to Boston as part of the Carl Crawford deal. Sands was traded against shortly thereafter as part of the Joel Hanrahan deal. 2013 was the first season in which Sands struggled to hit as he hit just .212/.315/.347 last season, all of which was spent in the minors.
A July article from the Durham, NC area explains some of the issues that Sands endured last season which quotes his Triple-A hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo as saying:
“You can’t have the same swing in Single-A in Double-A or Triple-A. You’re not going to go through the minors and not have your swing change. If you do, you won’t be here long. You have to adjust because that Double-A swing isn’t going to work at Triple-A. In the Majors, what that pitcher throws you next is based on how you swung the first time.”
Another quote from Pagliarulo that stands out and may hint at why the Rays made this claim.
“The thing that’s really surprised me is his defense,” he said. “It really makes you like the way he plays the game. As a right fielder, he’s already Major League level. And we had no idea how good a defensive first baseman he was…Defense is a big part of the game and he’s got that down.”
Given the Rays inability to land another right-handed outfield bat this offseason to help platoon with David DeJesus and James Loney, Sands has an opportunity in Port Charlotte to land a 25 man roster spot.