Rays Sign Joe Inglett to a Minor League Deal

Per a press release.

Joe Inglett turns 33 in late June and has nearly 800 plate appearances of big league experience. He is no stranger to the American League East, having spent parts of three seasons with the Blue Jays in which he appeared in roughly a season’s worth of games while hitting .297/.356/.402. Versatility separates Inglett from others, as he’s played six defensive positions during his big league career and made his pitching debut last season for Milwaukee, although most of his time has come at second base and in the corner outfield.

A left-handed hitter, Inglett’s previous managers have deployed him almost solely against right-handed pitching. This appears to be for good reason, as he’s hit .200/.310/.253 against lefties in his big league career, but that line comes from fewer than 100 plate appearances. He is more than competent against righties, with a career slash line of .297/.356/.402. That’s not spectacular for a corner outfielder,

Since it’s a minor league deal to a big league veteran –albeit one closer to journeyman status— there could be an opt-out date included. The Rays have a solid history of players forgoing their chance for free agency in light of sticking with the organization (the notable exception being Ryan Shealy last season, who did find his way into the majors with Boston later in the season), so there’s no guarantee Inglett will have to be on the roster by some random mid-summer date.

That does not mean Inglett could not break camp with the team, but he’s in the same boat as Felipe Lopez. Since both can be sent to the minors, the Rays could choose to hold onto Elliot Johnson in hopes of –pardon the morbidity here— Johnson suffering a debilitating ankle sprain (like Gabe Kapler did last season), thus allowing them to keep all their utility man assets without exposing them to waivers.

Alternatively, the Rays could pit Inglett against Sam Fuld for the reserve outfielder spot. Fuld is the better defender and his offensive makeup isn’t too different from Inglett’s though. More likely is that Inglett, Lopez, and Johnson will do battle, with Lopez holding the advantage as the better infielder, while Johnson and Inglett are more flexible (with Inglett possessing the more dependable bat).

He’s a nice addition on a minor league deal, as I believe other teams could have used them off their bench.

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