Marc Topkin is reporting that the Rays have signed Gabe Kapler to a one-year, $1 million deal. The same Gabe Kapler who is the only player in major league history to tear his Achilles Heal while running the bases after a teammate’s home run.

Right field is now going to be All Gabe, All the Time. Kapler, who had a 1.001 OPS against lefties in 2008 (87 PA), will likely join Gabe Gross to form the all-Gabe right field platoon. This signing could also be a sign of a new religious diversity initiative by the Rays as Kapler, who is Jewish, will be partnering with Gross, who is a devout Christian.

Last season, Rays right fielders posted a combined .809 OPS, which is not terrible, but as a run-producing position, that only ranked 10th in the American League. The addition of Kapler should help push the Rays up closer to league average.

With the Gabes in right field, both Fernando Perez and Matt Joyce will now likely begin the season in triple-A, with the final three bench spots going to Shawn Riggans, Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist.

The Rays now project to have 16 players with a salary of at least $1 million in 2009.

No word yet on who is being dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for Kapler. The leading candidate is JK Ryu.

Rays sign Kapler [The Heater]
The 15-Minute Home Run Trot [Deadspin]

 
 

14 Comments

  1. GM-Carson says:

    Hey the Rays beat the Phils this time, as Kapler was a right-handed batting target of the Phightins.

  2. Justin says:

    Prof,

    Is this a good move? Not sure from your post what you think.

  3. The Professor says:

    meh. it was a good move for the money and it offers a sense of some stability to RF next season. ultimately the Rays are still going to be behind the pack in terms of run production from RF. but they will be a little better in ’09.

  4. Clayton says:

    I’m on board. Not expensive and it gives Joyce time to hopefully develop into an every day player in Durham. My only qualm is that I really want Perez on the bench.

  5. Leningan says:

    yeah, our bench seems a bit crowded now. makes me think one of the crowd (gross, aybar, benzo, perez, ruggs, and now kapler) will be moved. If not now, then over the all-star break. There is something to be said for depth, but c’mon…

  6. Justin says:

    Prof,

    Given the choices, who would you have liked to see us pick up instead?

  7. The Professor says:

    i think Kapler is fine and as good as the Rays could have signed. i just dont see Kapler as a guy to get too excited about.

    on the other hand, the Rays last two signings will certainly appeal to the female fanbase as well as the Clay Aikens.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “gross, aybar, benzo, perez, ruggs, and now kapler”

    Perez, ruggs and joyce all have options left, so they can play everyday in Durham. None of them are a sure thing. Depth is something you NEED to be successful. As soon as Joyce is ready (even if that opening day), you can be sure Gross will be traded.

    - bossmanjunior333

  9. Joe D. says:

    I like the Kapler signing for a few reasons:

    1. It gives the Rays the much needed Right handed hitting RF that we’ve needed.

    2. The price was right, you can’t do much better than a veteran bat at $1M in MLB.

    3. He’s always been a platoon/bench/role player only three seasons in his career has he been a most days starter. and should be good a good fit for the role the Rays need him to fill.

    4. He was a former Minor league manager and he should be able to fill the role Cliff Floyd helped with in mentoring the younger player the Rays have on the team.

    5. He has played all 3 OF positions in his career. Including 25 Games in CF last season, with only one Error.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Prof,

    What would you rather have?

    Rocco, who would have cost us 6M this year…or

    Kapler, who cost us the 4M Rocco buyout plus 1M.

    By my count, we could have been one million away from keeping Rocco instead.

    If you say you’d rather have the Kapler deal with the Rocco buyout, I’ll get really excited about this move. Kapler’s .354 BA against lefties might make the buyout worth it.

    Thanks, Stephen

  11. The Professor says:

    If I remove my emotional attachment to Rocco I prefer Kapler.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If you’d rather have Kapler, than I’m all over this signing!

    How close can two healthy Gabes come to this:

    25 HR, 90 RBI, .280 BA?

    Am I dreaming?

    Stephen

  13. Anonymous says:

    I wouldnt think of it in those terms of production. Matt Joyce will likely become the everyday RF at some point. However, between gross and kapler, a .270/.350/.480 line is probably what we can expect.

    - bossmanjunior333

  14. DirtbagFan says:

    just further increases the sensibility of moving CC now.

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