Rays Sign Jack Cust to a Minor-League Deal | The Process Report

Rays Sign Jack Cust to a Minor-League Deal

The Rays have added a backup plan at DH by signing Jack Cust to a minor-league deal, according to Roger Mooney.

Previously the Rays were tied to Bobby Abreu, who, like Cust, offers minimal defensive value and an uncertain amount of offensive support. The Cust of Oakland fame—blessed with prodigious power and an uncanny ability to get on base—is no more than a rumor. He spent last season in Triple-A, splitting time with the Yankees and Jays organizations. Despite declining power production, Cust’s walk and strikeout rates remain extreme. He can and will command the zone, yet he swings and misses within the zone about twice as often as the normal batter.

It’s not a skill set likely to leave you yearning for more, but you can’t expect perfection from a minor-league signing in mid-February. Because Cust is not a big-league free agent with six or more years of service time he will not require a retention cost come the regular season. Instead Cust could spend the entire season at Durham without added financial commitments.


  1. Jake wrote:

    For some reason, I get the feeling like this may be the 3rd best “under the radar” signing of the offseason behind the fauxtwins. I feel like he is a vastly better backup DH possibility than Shelley Duncan, even without a guarantee of power. Something just clicks to me with the addition of Cust and the Rays.

    • R.J. Anderson wrote:

      Can’t say I’m too optimistic. A guy with good strike zone discipline can succeed in Triple-A without that production translating to the majors for a few reasons, the most obvious being bat speed. I didn’t see Cust but it’s not hard to envision him working into fastball counts then obliterating sub-par heaters. Perhaps I’m being too harsh on his prospects. I just assume there are reasons why his power has declined and why neither team brought him to the majors last season.

      Granted, I’d be less than thrilled with Shelley Duncan getting significant at-bats in the majors, too.

      • buddaley wrote:

        That has been my view of the signing also. Nothing wrong with signing him, but based on his recent (3 years) history, I am more skeptical than many that he will be useful.

        Perhaps scouting sees something more promising, but it seems to me his role will be to wait at AAA in case there is an injury or other problem. Otherwise, should he make the opening day roster, who is dropped? He certainly does not provide the versatility of bench players such as Sean Rodriguez, Roberts or Fuld nor will he displace Scott unless Luke is hurt.

        • R.J. Anderson wrote:

          Yeah, I don’t see a spot on the bench for a bat-only type unless they trade Roberts. You can’t drop Lobaton, Fuld, or Rodriguez, otherwise you don’t have a true backup at catcher, center field, or shortstop (though I suppose Zobrist could be considered the reserve shortstop).

          Even if you do trade Roberts it doesn’t make sense to add another left-handed bat to this roster; not when it comes in the form of a (to be nice) limited defender.

  2. Jake, I sure hope you are right, because as a Bulls fan we saw a couple players of this type last year and they killed us at the start of the season. No real concern to a Rays fan, but to a Bulls fan it was painful to watch the team start poorly and get worse with worn out minor league contract guys.

  3. Cust had some very great numbers in the IL last season and I am, needless to say, quite pleased with the signing. I think he makes for a great 2nd or 3rd backup behind Glass Scott.

  4. otownraysfan wrote:

    i also had a “feeling” that signing jackcust will turn out well for us this year. i was sort of hoping for carlos lee, but cust is obviously a less expensive choice with similar offensive numbers. the nice thing about him being on the minor league contract is that if joe and andrew don’t like what they see, then maybe carlos lee might still be available as a fall-back solution.

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