uspw_5411454Marc Topkin is reporting that the Rays have signed Jack Cust to a minor league deal. Cust has spent parts of ten seasons with six different teams. Most recently, he played 67 games with the Mariners in 2011 as a DH. He hit .213 with a .344 OBP (.308 wOBA) and 3 home runs. His best season came in 2007 when Cust hit .256 with a .408 OBP (.397 wOBA) and 26 home runs. He also hit 33 home runs in 2008 and 25 in 2009. However, he has just 16 big league home runs in the last three years.



  1. Dave L says:

    Hopefully he has a good age 34 season belting homers in Durham batting cleanup.

    If we see Cusp in The Trop anytime in 2013 its will be an indicator that things have gone terribly awry.

  2. Alex says:

    He used to kill us with Oakland all the time. He would always hit those inopportune homer runs at 12:30 am when the Rays were playing in Oakland

  3. Don says:

    Hits .213…best season .256…he fits perfect!

  4. Chris says:

    Dead weight taking up a roster spot for the Durham Bulls. Sounds like 2012 when there also was some dead weight, the Bulls had a terrible start, and things got worse when Matsui and his entourage showed up. I guess it goes with being a AAA fan, but, excluding Matsui, this is the first player on the Bulls roster in recent memory who can’t even play a position. And you know he (or Duncan or someone else) won’t get released until June or so. I know, suck it up, Durham. But how does it help the Rays to have non-performers anywhere in the system? Even if it’s cheap? Or is there something buried in the numbers we can’t see?

    • Bill says:

      I often wondered why these insurance guys are better than giving a young guy a shot. Worst case you give him a little peak at the next level. And, to your point, you’re not blocking their development at AAA with has beens. Only answer I can come up with is that our young guys aren’t nearly as close as we think.

      • Alex says:

        A guy like Cust has proven that he can at least succeed in the majors. With young guys there are numerous reasons not to bring them up: They aren’t ready, aren’t worthy, don’t want to start their arb clock etc… It’s good to have guys that have done it before in the majors. If by some off chance he has a good season, great for us. Most of the elite talent is going to be in AA when it comes to the minors. Guys generally go to AAA as a buffer period. Triple A is a combo of near major league ready/major league ready prospects, 4A guys and an extension of your major league bench

        • Bill says:

          Thanks for the lesson, but everything you said was intuitively obvious and none of it refutes the original point Chris made, to which I was responding. Simple fact is that every veteran insurance policy you keep around blocks someone, somewhere, even if via domino effect. Yeah, if he has a great year, good for us. The odds of that are no greater or less than one of these young guys coming up for a stint during an injury (real or strategic) and blowing away expectations. There are only so many pitches thrown on all levels of baseball each year. If you have one of the top farm systems in baseball, seems getting good players playing time is already a challenge. Cust is blocker if he stays in Durham very long. Even if he has a great season, you still don’t know what someone else might have done with those same at bats.

        • Bill says:

          And just to clarify, I don’t have an issue with Cust himself. Just a DH seems a bit wasteful, but even that isn’t so bad. What is bad, I think, is if we end up with Cust, Fontenot and Duncan all in Durham for several weeks to a few months. And there are others we signed, whose names aren’t as big, that we aren’t even discussion, Bourgeois for example. Isn’t he on a minor league contract?

    • Mr.Smith 1980 says:

      I think you’re using the term “non-performers” a bit too liberally. Cust, at this point is not a good player, but a player with that much Major League experience shouldn’t/can’t realistically be called a non-performer.

      Career .242/.374 over 10 years isn’t a non-performer in my book…

      He will definitely not be a burden to Durham (even though I hope that’s where he stays).

      • Chris says:

        That (not a burden) is what they said about Juan Miranda, Brandon Allen, and Hideki Matsui last year. But by the end of May the Bulls had lost 29 games out of 50 and stayed below .500 for the rest of the year. Miranda, Allen and Matsui were gone by June, but the damage was done. I appreciate that Rays fans could probably care less. But still it does hurt a bit. And Bill’s point that these signings (almost all with opt-out clauses) do clog up the system points to a weakness in upcoming position players in the system.
        More ranting at

        • Bill says:

          I do have to say one thing in agreement with Alex’s point above. Unfortunately AAA is where winning is about priority 3 or 4. I say this from real experience. I grew up in New Orleans. In my twenties lived a stones throw from Zephyr stadium, then an Astros AAA team (now Marlins). Took me a while to get used to a guy getting his at bats when he was 0fer life against a pitcher, late in a close game. Or a pitcher getting rocked and staying in until his pitch count.

          But don’t think Rays fans don’t care. I’m a full season ticket holder and call the Trop my summer home. But I always check in on Durham and Montgomery and am proud when they do well. Often wish they had MiLB.TV.

  5. Alex says:

    We all want the minor league teams to win, but really priority 1 will always be the big league club. Having veterans in triple a helps the young guys that actually have a chance at making the team at some point in the future. Plus as I said above it provides extra bats off the bench when the big league team needs them. The Rays know they aren’t really blocking anyone by doing this. Guys like Leslie Anderson have no future above Triple A. So why not use the spot on someone that has a track record of good success in the show? It’s been helpful to us in the past and that way we aren’t scrambling to find or trade for replacement players.

    • Bill says:

      At the end of the day I think you’re saying exactly the same thing I said in my response to Chris above. It all boils down to the fact that these guys aren’t blocking anyone because we don’t have as many young, near major league ready talent as we would like to think.

    • Bill says:

      Oh, and this is a sincere question… When has the approach of signing “proven track record guys” to minors helped us in the recent past? I’m not being argumentative, I really want to feel better about this. A list of not so good major and minor league signings that didn’t work out comes to mind. The ones who did work out just don’t put up there, at least not in the last four years.

      • Alex says:

        Well we don’t have a ton of them, but Carlos Pena was a minor league signing, that only caught on because of injury, with us. Chris Gimenez (waiver claim but you get my point). I’m sure there are some relievers I’m not remembering too. It doesn’t work out that often but the point is it has a chance to work and you hope it is only an emergency plan at best.
        Brandon Allen, Dan Johnson…those types of guys aren’t going to replace your average mlb player but you know that they have at some point or they have the potential to at least put up serviceable numbers

  6. Alex says:

    One thing I always wonder with the Rays though…Why do we sign so many left handed power guys? Are decent right handed hitters that hard to find? It’s kind of baffling considering the % of people that are right handed vs left handed in the world. Yet everytime the Rays sign a DH/1B/OF type he always seems to be left handed

    • Dave L says:

      Because the vast majority of MLB innings are thrown by RHP. The great hitting Yankee lineups of the recent past were loaded with lefty power even in the old yankee stadium.

      Thats why we are so lucky to have 2 quality LHP in our rotation to combat lefty loaded teams. How many teams have that luxury?

      Most teams in MLB are lucky to have one good lefty and one mediocre one in the rotation. Some teams only have 1 lefty at all in the rotation at times.

      Thats why Kazmir still has hope and people give him a shot.

      And thats why the Rays will NEVER trade Price until the last second where he still has value to us.

      I was thinking the same thing about Anderson and Wrigley in response to why sign old guys.

    • Mr.Smith 1980 says:

      Right-handed pitchers have a harder time pitching to lefties (mostly). Also, you can’t forget that being left handed becomes an advantage at first base due to the glove being on your right hand which makes your stretch more effective (closer to second without having to backhand it or turn your back on the infield) and allows for easy swipes on pick-offs.

      Plus, we lefties are just better all around people :)

      • Alex says:

        Yea but every lefty we sign can’t hit left handers at all. It seems like most left handed hitters struggle more against lefty pitchers than right handed hitters do against right handed pitchers

        • Bill says:

          A little bit of self fulfilling prophecy, there. Lefty get less chances to face lefties than righties get a chance to fae righties. Thus not as much chance to develop the skills to beat the platoon shift.

  7. angrybuddha says:

    It’s always important to have a designated last out. Now we know who will carry Matsui’s mantle into 2013.

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