Buster Olney is reporting (via MLB Trade Rumors) that the Rays and Brian Shouse have agreed to a two-year deal pending a physical.

Shouse, 40, pitched in 69 games for the Brewers last season, mostly as a specialist against left-handed hitters. Lefties hit just .180 against him with a .192 on-base percentage and a .482 OPS. Shouse has pitched in more than 422 games in the big leagues over nine seasons with 216 strikeouts and 111 walks in 322.2 innings.

Two years seems like a lot for a 40-year old left specialist. This is the same issue that the Rays are facing right now with Chad Bradford, a double-play specialist they can’t trade because of his $3.5 million salary. Of course, it is unlikely that the Rays would have been able to land either pitcher without the second year on the contract. We will have to wait to see how much money the Rays have committed to Shouse.

In the mean time, Shouse is yet another arm in an already crowded bullpen that includes the following veterans…

  • Troy Percival
  • Dan Wheeler
  • Grant Balfour
  • JP Howell
  • Joe Nelson
  • Chad Bradford
  • Brian Shouse
  • Lance Cormier
  • Jason Hammel
  • Jeff Niemann

If you weren’t counting at home, that is 10 arms for seven spots. If we assume that Troy Percival starts the year on the DL and David Price begins the year in the minors, that opens two more spots. Jason Hammel (most likely) or Jeff Niemann can move to the rotation.

That still leaves eight arms for seven positions. Somebody needs to be moved. It is no secret the Rays want to trade Bradford, but so far there have been no takers.

And what happens when Price is ready for the majors and Percival comes back from the DL? That is two more arms that need to be moved, without any obvious choices.

This is a problem, but it is a nice problem to have. Sure beats the winter prior the 2007 season when the Rays were looking for any decent relief pitchers.

Sources: Shouse, Rays near 2-year deal [ESPN]
Rays, Shouse Agree To Deal [MLB Trade Rumors]



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