Rays Clear Room on 40-Man Roster; Designate Justin Ruggiano & Leslie Anderson For Assignment | The Process Report

Rays Clear Room on 40-Man Roster; Designate Justin Ruggiano & Leslie Anderson For Assignment


The moves clear room on the 40-man roster for Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon.

Sam Fuld’s inclusion in the Matt Garza trade and Justin Ruggiano’s inability to be optioned to the minors meant this move was coming sooner or later – between the trade and Opening Day. At one point, Ruggiano appeared to have potential as a fourth outfielder in the bigs when the Rays acquired him in the Mark Hendrickson/Toby Hall deal, but his performances in Triple-A have slipped and his minor league teammates bestowed the nickname, “Scrooge”, onto him for a reason.

The only hope for Ruggiano making the team this season was if the Rays fielded two left-handed corner outfielders in need of a dance partner. Matt Joyce may tango with a righty, but Johnny Damon will not, leaving Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez as enough flexibility to roll without another right-handed corner outfielder. This means Fuld can claim a 25-man roster spot thanks to better defense, the ability to play each outfield position, and providing a pinch-running option.

The next step in Ruggiano’s career will depend on whether he passes through the waiver wire unclaimed or not. If he does, expect an outright assignment to Durham. Otherwise, he will head to another organization’s 40-man roster, if only until the team decides to try to sneak him through waivers for their own Triple-A benefit.

Leslie Anderson, meanwhile, signed with the Rays last offseason out of Cuba. A first base/outfielder type, Anderson’s minor league numbers give credence to the old adage about Central American players (“nobody walks off the island”). The numbers themselves aren’t horrible, but the poor track record of Cuban-born players making their debut at Anderson’s age and his struggles on breaking pitches suggests his major league success will be limited. As such, PECOTA’s projection of .253/.300/.382 isn’t unfathomable.

It’s worth noting that Anderson had options remaining and the Rays even sent him to the Arizona Fall League. Perhaps another team takes a chance on him, but it doesn’t seem the Rays are too optimistic about his big league future by choosing to send him to waivers rather than one of the five catchers on the 40-man (including Jose Lobaton and Nevin Ashley).

In an unrelated roster move, the Rays also signed 16-year-old left-hander Luis Cepeda. The move comes similar in timing, age, and position to when the Rays inked Czech native Stepan Havlicek last year.

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