Rays Sign Mike Fontenot and Rich Thompson to Minor-League Deals | The Process Report

Rays Sign Mike Fontenot and Rich Thompson to Minor-League Deals

The Rays have signed infielder Mike Fontenot and outfielder Rich Thompson to minor-league contracts, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.

Fontenot, 32, played his collegiate ball at Louisiana State University before the Orioles selected him 19th-overall in the 2001 draft. Although Fontenot is small in stature (he’s listed at 5-foot-8), he lacks the skill set associated with the build. Instead of using a short, quick swing and making contact at high rates, like a Sam Fuld or Will Rhymes, Fontenot uses a longer swing to produce more power than you’d expect from him (though his career ISO is still below league-average). While Fontenot boasts above-average speed, you’ll rarely see him swipe a base. He does have experience at the hot corner, shortstop, and second base, however, his arm doesn’t play well on the left side of the infield. The package resembles Elliot Johnson, albeit with better offensive chops.

Thompson spent time with the Rays last season. He was removed from the 40-man roster after the season ended. He’ll spend the season in Durham, though the Rays may reward his perseverance with a promotion once rosters expand.

Update: The Rays have signed a few others to minor-league deals, including re-signing Matt Buschmann and Shawn O’Malley. There are two notable new additions, pitcher Will Inman and hitter Nick Weglarz.

Will Inman is a small right-hander with a high-80s fastball. Once a starting pitching prospect for the Padres, Inman transitioned to the bullpen in 2011 and stayed there last season. He throws a changeup and curveball in addition to the fastball, though neither is a knockout offering. Command and control used to be Inman’s bread and butter, yet his walk rate last year topped six per nine innings. Inman also has a history of arm issues, which may have affected his location. He does receive high mark for character and has shown an ability to outpitch his marginal stuff in the past.

Nick Weglarz is another former top prospect. He’s struggled with injuries throughout his career and doesn’t have a true defensive home. Still, Weglarz shows a mature approach at the plate to go with good raw power. He spent last season in Double-A, and struck out close to one-third of the time. Presumably, Weglarz will spend time in Durham.

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