Rays Sign Oliver, Arencibia
The Rays have signed two talented, if flawed players to minor-league contracts.
Andy Oliver is a left-handed pitcher who was once drafted in the second round by the Tigers. He threw more than 30 big-league innings for Detroit during the 2010-11 seasons, albeit without success. Oliver has since bounced around, most recently spending time with the Phillies as a Rule 5 pick. A well-built short-armer, he comes bearing a quality fastball that can touch into the mid-90s. Unsurprisingly, his biggest issue is command. Oliver even walked more than seven batters per nine innings during his two minor-league seasons with the Pirates, one of the best organizations at solving locational troubles. If, by some act of God, Oliver begins to throw more strikes, he could reach the majors in a relief capacity.
From the walk-prone to the walk-immune. J.P. Arencibia, a catcher-cum-first-baseman, has more than four years of major-league service time to his credit. Most of those days were spent in Toronto, where he posted consecutive solid seasons in 2011-12. Big-league success has since eluded Arencibia, whose raw power has led to a career .196 ISO, and whose unrefined approach has resulted in more than five strikeouts per walk. To his credit, Arencibia did improve his receiving under Sal Fasano, though if he reaches the majors with the Rays, he’s likely to serve in a roving role, where he can slot in here and there versus left-handed pitching.
Both players are expected to report to Triple-A Durham.