Can Winston Abreu make the Rays Roster?

Coming into the middle of February in 2010 when the Tampa Bay Rays pitchers and catchers begin to report for Spring Training in Port Charlotte, you have to realistically visualize the picture that there might only be one lone slot left on the Rays 25-man roster for another reliever. And considering this Spring invitees will include Durham Bulls relievers like Randy Cromier, Dale Thayer and Calvin Medlock, there is still one name missing off this list who I think might have a real legitimate shot at securing that solo seat on the Rays Bullpen bench for 2010.

Sure, we can debate back and forth for days as to the merits of the other three guys I have mentioned, or a even the merits of other relievers currently on the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits roster who could also make some huge advances and impressions both the field and in the minds of the Rays organizations Coaches minds by the end of March 2010. And the one name missing from this group is Winston Abreu. I think that Abreu has the stuff on the mound and the acquired veteran wisdom needed to secure his first Opening Day roster spot of his 14-year professional career.

Sure some people will certainly point to his extended journeyman minor league career with only two prior Major League promotions to the before the 2009 season with the Baltimore Orioles (2006) and Washington Nationals (2007) as a bit of negative fodder that his name should not even be uttered with such confidence. But then again, in all of his past promotions to the Major League, he has been a stop-gap guy filling in for a veteran persence missing on that Major League roster, and that shows you teams knew he had the abilities.

But again, in 2009, Abreu did appear to fill that same type of gap for the Rays securing a limited role with the Rays Bullpen after the team put veteran reliever Jason Isringhausen on the Disabled List on June 14th and only gave Abreu two appearances before designating Abreu  for assignment after veteran reliever Chad Bradford was ready to rejoin the Rays Bullpen after an injury.

And sure you can also throw the added negative bonus of the Rays then trading Abreu to the Cleveland Indians on July2,2009 and Abreu only spending about a month on the Indians roster before they also designated him for assignment on August1,2009. But Abreu quickly rebounded and signed with the Rays again and was sent to the Triple-A Durham Bulls for the second time during the 2009 season. And within 30 days of Abreu rejoining the Bulls, he was selected as the International League Pitcher of the Week for August 30th after only surrendering 1 lone hit in his last ten appearances of 2009.

And even if Abreu’s stats while pitching with the Indians held up a gaudy 23.14 ERA for the whole baseball world to see in his only three appearances for the Tribe, most people around baseball seem to remember his actions during a July 27,2009 game at Safeco Field. Abreu took the mound in the ninth inning after Mariner’s starter Chris Jakubuska’s hit Ben Francisco square in the back with his first pitch after surrendering a 2-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera earler in the top of the ninth inning.

Abreu countered in the bottom of the ninth inning with an action that should happen according to the unwritten rule book of baseball and plucked M’s Third Baseman Jack Hannahan. Sure both benches and Bullpens’ cleared and came out onto the field, but order was quickly restored and the game started up right after the Home Plate Umpire ejected Abreu because of the retaliation pitch. Abreu was subsequently given a 3-game suspension for his part, along with a fine for good measures. Most people would see that as a negative blemishe on a pitcher’s mental make-up to try and incite a brawl, but I actually see it in a different light as a veteran pitcher understanding the unspoken code of the game, and doing the right thing for his teammate.

But the main reason I think that we will see Abreu make this year’s Rays 25-man roster might have come about with MLB.Com naming him the Triple-A Reliever of the Year after posting a 3-1 record with a 1.94 ERA during 37 appearances for the Bulls last season.  That might have been the cherry on top of that Triple-A Championship sundae. But with abreu coming back to the Bulls after his Indians disaster and showing his rubber mental consitution by getting 15 saves, you can see Abreu as a reliever who has that proverbial ice water in his veins that the Rays seemed to be missed most of last season.


Abreu has that veteran mustard and wealth of past experience that the Rays Bullpen will need during their 2010 season. And sure he might have a few quirks like carrying his glove with him to the Bullpen restroom during his time up with the Rays, but the guy truly  understands the game from A to Z. The Rays farm system has a bevy of ample arms sitting down in the minor leagues, but they do not have any relievers with prior Major League experience besides Thayer and Abreu right now. When the Rays resigned Abreu on December 14th, I felt they made the move for his expertise, not as a reward for winning a Triple-A title or a post season MLB.Com award.

The guy has take a long journey through the farm systems of the Braves, Cubs,Dodger, Diamondback, Orioles, Nationals, Indians, Royals and now the Rays during his career. And the abundance of knowledge he has as a veteran pitcher could be a valuable asset in 2010 for the Rays. I mean if he was such a middle-of-thepack reliever, then how did he pitch for Bobby Valentine’s 2008 Chiba Lotte Mariner’s squad over in Japan?  You know Valentine stresses pitching on his teams. So coming into this Spring, I am going to be watching Abreu to see if he is one of the guys to get a lot of reps in Spring Training contests.

Last season Abreu made it all the way up with the Rays Spring Training roster until March 16th when the Rays sent him to the minor league camp also located in Port Charlotte, Florida. Hopefully during this this Spring Abreu can make a lasting impression on the Rays Spring Training coaching staff to get a chance to stay and earn a roster spot. Abreu has everything you want in a reliever at the major league level. 

Abreu has pitching ability, the vast experience and a yearning to succeed at the highest level of the game.
And we also know from his little incident in Seattle, that Abreu also understands the little things that
revolve just under the surface around the game of baseball. I guess all Abreu needs now is a chance on the mound to show he should be one of the last decisions of the Rays this Spring, and be sitting on that Rays Bullpen bench watching the first pitch of the 2010 season.


I like the Rays farm house it has a lot of talent. The Rays will be a team that hangs around for quite a while they will be a team that scares people for at least the next five years. Also can I ask your opinon on who has the better rotation? White Sox or Red Sox because red state blue state thinks the White Sox have the best. Just would like your opinon since you don’t like either team and could you reply on my blog I don’t get too many so the more the better! Thanks.

I actually think that in 2009, the White Sox has a younger, more ambitious rotation, but the Red sox beat them with veteran players like Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and a crew of hundreds (or so it seemed during the injuries).
Just because one game was superior (Buhrle) doesn’t discount that Boston’s pitching kept them in the AL East Wild Card, while the White Sox staff did their part, but the White Sox hitters missed their stride.
BTW, a farm system full of talent at two levels is better than a $ 200 million payroll in my book.

Rays Renegade

And wouldn’t you love your team have that kind of money. By the way Kelly, Westy, Anderson, Iglsesia (whatever his name is the SS guy), Bucholtz, Lester, Ellsbury, Pedy, and Bard is a great young team also not to mention three or four other players. Also how do the White Sox have that great of a pitching team? I think they are good or very good, but not at the Sox level.,

whatever happened to those plans for a St.Pete waterfront Park with grand sails for shade etc etc? The renderings were nice? Is that still a go?

Jake Peavy and Mark Buehrle have the control to be one of the best 1-2 combo in the AL. John Danks is like Jon Lester and getting better every year. Gavin Floyd is in the mold of David Price and has some work to do, but is an innings eater, which is great for a #4 in the rotation guy. Freddie Garcia is the question mark here, but I think that time off for most of 2008 gave him another year to his career.
By the end of 2010, the White Sox starters will have better stats than Boston, but Boston will have a chance the White Sox will not….. for the post season.
I honestly have had Peavy on my Fantasy for 2 seasons and have won the title twice…..He is my ace over Beckett.

Rays Renegade

Those plans are gone like the wind.
There was a huge bit of opposition from an old political hot pot group in St. Petersburg that wanted to save the waterfront, and the Rays backed up a bit and let a committee decide the futre locations of the stadium.
They are finalizing their reccomendations, but the sail is dead right now.

Rays Renegade

well rays renagade u know ur team top to bottom well what u said is true then the rays need to look at Abreu then hope u right he might be a real good pitcher.
tmas805 PS good blog as always hope u get to the top 5 go renagade go

I am happy to stay near # 10.
I do not want to be near the top rung of the ladder. I am fine right here. This spot is fine with me, I was in or around the top 10 spot the entire time in 2009, and I like the neighborhood (lol).
Abreu was given the Minor League Baseball Triple-A reliever of the Year award for 2009.
I think he just did not have enough time to adjust to the majors before the Rays shipped him back down, then out to Cleveland.
I thought he had the ability last Spring, and should get a second chance in 2010.

Rays Renegade

You have some great points re: Abreu. Investing in the farm system has paid off for the Dodgers. Most of the starters are from that system: Kemp, Loney, Martin, Broxton, Billingsley.

It is becoming more of a reality in baseball to home grow your players to fit your system.
The Rays definitely have to produce players in this method due to the restricted pocketbook and payroll forced on by being a small market team.
But it is possible, and Carl Crawford and Rays starter James Shields are prime examples of farm system produced MLB stars or top flight pitchers brought up through the system.
But every team has these types of guys, but with our limited resources to go out and hand-pick the right player, these additional options are paramony for our team.

Rays Renegade

Best of luck to Winston. I remember him well.

I always think it says something when a guy struggles at the Major League level during a season, then get s post-season award like Triple-A Reliever of the Year.
Circumstances and maybe other factors came into play we are not aware of at the moment.
But whatever they are….I think this guy can throw, and will possibily get every opportunity to stay with the Club past April 2nd.

Rays Renegade

Some guys just a hit an invisible wall when they go from Triple-A to the Big Leagues.
Not sure why, but they do.
But thank goodness most of the guys just take a small adjustment time, or none at all and feel right at home.
I remember a few years ago when stress and anxiousness got the better of Rick Ankiel, but he went back down to the minors and re-invented himself to again be a force in the MLB.
But of course, he has not thrown a pitch since coming back up, and will line-up probably in centerfield for the Kansas City Royals and is a testement that hard work can provide the miracle ” happy ending”.

Rays Renegade

Some just have a harder time than others do. I know we have Marte, who performs beautifully in AAA, but struggles at the Big League Level. It’s tough. Maybe he can bust through this season.

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