Ex-Rays OF Desmond Jennings healthy, looking forward to playing
UPDATE, FRIDAY, 9:43 AM: Per several media reports, Jennings has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Reds.
DEVELOPING: Remember Desmond Jennings, the talented and athletic but oft-injured outfielder who was released by the Rays in August?
He apparently is over his knee issues and ready to play - elsewhere of course - this season.
"DJ is healthy and could be signing with a team by the end of the week,'' said Mike Fiore, VP of The Boras Corp., which represents Jennings. "He wants to play and is looking forward to having a good year.''
Jennings had been on the DL for the second time in two months when the Rays decided in late August to release him.
A change of scenery will be good for Jennings. Getting off the artificial turf at the Trop and onto natural grass will seem like the right move given his knee issues. As will getting in with a new group, given criticisms over his lack of hustle, voiced by Rays TV analyst Brian Anderson, and questions - fair or not - in the clubhouse over his desire to play.
Jennings, 30, has played in only 93 games the past two seasons, while making over $3-million per.
At the time of his release, this is what I wrote in the Tampa Bay Times:
The immediate reaction in hearing Friday evening that the Rays had decided to release oft-injured outfielder Desmond Jennings was to ask: What took them so long?
They gave him another chance after he sat out the final month of the 2014 season with a left knee bruise. Again after he was limited to just 28 games last season due to a pair of DL stints, including knee surgery that he had to have done by a specialist in Colorado. And again earlier this season when his latest exhibition of a lack of hustle prompted external criticism, led by Rays TV analyst Brian Anderson, and internal discussion of a demotion to Triple A. Even, so it appeared, yet again after he landed on the DL twice in the last two months - making it six trips in six years - for a hamstring strain and then another knee bruise.
But Friday afternoon, they decided they had had enough.
"It was time," manager Kevin Cash said. "Best for him, best for us going forward."