Rays add C Hank Conger in late-night move
After deciding to tender contracts to C Rene Rivera and their other eight arbitration eligible players, the Rays after midnight Wednesday added some competition behind the plate by acquiring Hank Conger from the Astros for cash considerations.
Conger, 28, will be officially added to the roster Thursday, with a corresponding move to be announced. The Rays could go to spring training with Conger, Rivera and projected starter Curt Casali competing for playing time, or at the least they have some depth for additional moves during the off-season. Conger is arbitration eligible, and projected to make $1.8-million, slightly more than Rivera.
Conger, a switch-hitter, is coming off a strong offensive season with the Astros, posting a career high 11 homers, 33 RBIs and a .759 OPS over 229 plate appearances, though with a .229 average. He had some issues behind the plate, however, throwing out only 1 of 43 attempted basestealers, which he attributed primarily to bad mechanics, telling the Houston Chronicle he felt he was rushing and getting "out of my element. In his previous parts of five major-league seasons, he threw out close to 23 percent. He is known as one of the better pitch-framers in the game.
A 2006 first-round pick by the Angels, Conger spent parts of 2010-14 in Anaheim, then was traded last off-season to Houston, where he started 53 games. He was voted winner of the Good Guy award by the Houston chapter of the BBWAA.
The other eight tendered contracts were RHP Alex Cobb, LHP Drew Smyly, RHP Erasmo Ramirez, OF Brandon Guyer, OF Desmond Jennings, LHP Jake McGee, team MVP 2B Logan Forsythe, and newly acquired DH/1B/OF Logan Morrison.