Rays Director of Scouting, RJ Harrison appeared on “Minors and Majors” a radio show on SiriusXM. He was asked why it took so long for Desmond Jennings to be called up…

There was nothing [to work on]. I think more than anything, just staying healthy…Probably for the last year he’s been, as you say, big league ready, or ready for this opportunity. But there has been some ups and downs with injuries. Some setbacks. And heck, some of those other guys (Fuld, Ruggiano) have come to the big leagues…those moving parts we have at the big league level. And things were going good. So a lot of times you aren’t going to disrupt when you are going good.

Huh-wha?!? Jennings was big league ready a year ago, and yet the Rays waited to bring him up because he might get hurt, and because Sam Fuld and Justin Ruggiano were playing well? Who keeps their top prospect in the minors because a couple of 4-A players are hot? Oh. The Rays do.

And Jennings has certainly had his fair share of injuries in his career. He even just did a stint on the DL with an injured finger. But in the last three seasons, his injuries have been of the minor variety.

This season, Jennings played

in 86 of the Bulls 98 games. Last year he appeared in 126 games combined between triple-A and the Rays. And in 2009, he played in 132 games, missing only 12.

Hey, injuries are something to be concerned about with Jennings. But Jennings is not a pitcher. Either the injuries are going to happen or they won’t. And yet the Rays continued to baby their best position prospect at the cost of fielding an inferior big league lineup.

Now, if you are a kid drafted out of high school by the Rays and are on the fence about signing, aren’t you leaning towards going to college because it might be faster track to the big leagues?

Welcome to Rays baseball.

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15 Comments

  1. cg says:

    Some of their player personnel decisions boggle my mind. I stand by my belief that had they called up hellboy as a starter full time last season we would have at least made it to the ALCS. Don't know why they didn't think he wasn't mentally prepared after his killer starts.

    I just don't know why they handcuff themselves

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  2. Sublime says:

    Head scratcher! Dude has been ready but is just sitting in AAA because of Sam Fuld??? That in itself is comedy!

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  3. MJ says:

    I forgot what plus speed on the basepaths looks like. Not sure I've ever seen anyone score from 1st base on a ground ball base hit to right center.

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  4. Tone says:

    The reason we never got to see Jennings is because the front office gave up on this season well before it was time to. I was fine with Jennings starting the year in AAA, since his spring training was lackluster. After Fuld started to cool off, they should have pulled the trigger on Jennings and Guyer. Ruggiano should have never made it up; but that is coming from a fan's perspective that wants to win now. The front office is not concerned with 2011 like fans are.

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  5. Gus says:

    What I have been preaching for a year. And CG is correct -- Hellickson should have started the ALDS last year (over Shields, who didn't have it at all and we all knew it).

    And there is no doubt that over the last year, the Rays had soured on Jennings for some reason (maybe legitimate, maybe not, but I've never seen it explained) and the whole winter I heard Jennings being diminished as a top propsect all over the media landscape. I never understood it. He started 2 games last September.

    Look, this hot start is just as meaningful as the 2 spot starts last September. He needs a chance to prove himself one way or another. But he solves the two biggest holes the team has had for 2+ years -- RH hitting, leadoff man. Every at bat given to Kapler, Baldelli, Ruggiano, Damon and Fuld at Jennings expense in the last 2 seasons was, I believe a terrible waste.

    Of course, I can't prove a negative. But this is the same organization who sent Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman and Evan Longoria down to Durham when they had won roster spots in spring training, only to have injuries and ineffective play ultimately bail them out. They make lots of mistakes on the offensive side of the ball in evaluation -- I think much of it comes from the GM side, not the playing field side of management, because contracts seem to be more important in who plays than the merits of the play itself. That has been pretty frustrating. Just glad to see a real lead-off man at the top of the roster.

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    • Tom says:

      Wow, you are being critical because Pena and Kotchman did not make the team out of Spring Training. I think Friedman should be lauded for getting 2 guys off ot the scrap heap and getting excellent production from them.

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      • Gus says:

        Fair point. For sure they are excellent acquisitions, but they are part of the overall stretgy of looking through the scrap heap more liberally than free-spending clubs. So we end up with Hank Blaylocks and Manny Ramirezs (Roberto Alomar under this regime?) as well. Kiss enough toads, they've come up with some princes for sure. But they'd look smarter if they hadn't had luck and injuries bail them out of those bad roster cuts. I think Pena had the option to not report to Durham and was almost lost until Norton's knee got him Dl'd. April 2008 was heading into disaster until Aybar got hurt and Longo got called up prematurely.

        It seems like they give away lots of MLB at bats for agendas other than winnning the game in front of them or even player development.

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        • Sublime says:

          Gus and Tone:

          "It seems like they give away lots of MLB at bats for agendas other than winnning the game in front of them or even player development."

          I couldn't have said it better myself!

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          • Alex says:

            It seems like everyone here is the GM of the team that went from worst to first and has been very good since 08 with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball....Oh wait you all aren't? I think they know what they are doing.

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  6. Don says:

    I watched Jennings last year, even with limited opportunities he didn't look that "ready"... of course the intimidation factor could have been there which isn't good either...looks like it worked out fine, Now he gets his opportunity with no pressure..nothing to win but 3rd place...and a job next year, bye BJ....

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  7. Wizzle says:

    I'm not sure being like, 6 games behind for the wildcard is "in the race", but looking forward, the team is still somewhat in it. while DJ was held back in AAA for longer than he probably should have, this does at least guarentee that next year and the year after will be for league minimum. so for at least one extra year he won't be arb eligible. and for a team like the rays, saving even $1 million is a big deal. having at least a logical chance at a playoff berth and getting an extra cost controlled year on DJ is a very good scenario that I am pretty happy with.

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  8. Jason says:

    The Rays value every single player in their system, sometimes too much. Fuld had to make the team outta ST because he is out of options, then he made THE CATCH, and hit like .300 in May, and all of the tweets about Super Same, etc. and there was no way they could DFA him then... he'd never get through waivers and the Rays would lose on the investment made. With Ruggiano, he came up and tore the cover off the ball, and was the Rays every day LF for about 3 weeks, and did a solid job, and in my opinion is a solid 4th OF option, and I would like to keep him also. The Rays again, probably didin't feel he'd pass through waivers if DFA's after being so hot, would again lose someone they invested in. Hre is whats going to happen now. Joe Ma had the oppurtunity to start Ruggs, Jennings, and Upton in the OF against the Lefty Francis on Sat night and didint. then Zobrist couldve played 2nd and, and Sean Rod couldve played SS, instead we got Fuld and Johnson, and you saw what happened... Ruggs hit's lefties good... he will now sit for a good long time, til everyon forgets about him, and the Rays will try to sneak him through waivers. Cuz, that's just what we do... All of these things, plus the super 2 clock kept Jennings at Durham

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