Stark: Rays Have Interest in Ryan Raburn | The Process Report

Stark: Rays Have Interest in Ryan Raburn

The Rays are one of a half-dozen teams interested in utility man Ryan Raburn’s services, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.

Raburn, who turns 32 in April, is coming off a miserable season with the Tigers. In years past, Raburn roved between second base and the corner outfielder, serving as a decent platoon option against left-handed pitchers. Everything fell apart last season, however. Raburn’s numbers cratered across the board as he battled and thigh issues. After July 31, Raburn appeared in just three games. The Tigers moved on to other options—namely the superior Omar Infante and the similar Jeff Baker, before releasing Raburn on November 20.

Despite average height, Raburn’s Isolated Power numbers have surpassed the league-average throughout his career, and he’s been able to hit for decent averages—even while striking out more than a fifth of the time. Mashing left-handers is Raburn’s raison d’être. He doesn’t steal bases, though he does show some wryness during the run of play. His defensive versatility belies his ability to play any position well, even the corner outfield.  Simply: Raburn must hit to have value.

The good news for Raburn is that he should improve on his disastrous 2012 season. But by how much? Having a down year is a forgivable sin, having a season like Raburn had makes you wonder whether he’ll ever regain his past ability. Given the reported interest in Raburn, it’s possible teams believe the injuries caused the poor performance. If so, he may net a big-league deal after all. The Rays will have to weigh their options, with Raburn alternatives like the aforementioned Baker also on the free-agent market.

As an aside: If the Rays were to sign Raburn, expect to hear a lot about his ties to the area and the Rays (he went to Durant High School, in Plant City, and his brother Johnny played in the organization a few years back). 

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