Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays continue to add depth at catcher with former Angel Kevan Smith

Tampa Bay has now signed two former big league backups as non-roster invitees to spring training. Smith joins Chris Herrmann, who signed last week.
Former Angels catcher Kevan Smith is expected to compete in the spring with Michael Perez and Chris Herrmann for the role of backup catcher in Tampa Bay. JIM YOUNG | AP Photo [JIM YOUNG  |  AP]
Former Angels catcher Kevan Smith is expected to compete in the spring with Michael Perez and Chris Herrmann for the role of backup catcher in Tampa Bay. JIM YOUNG | AP Photo [JIM YOUNG | AP]
Published Jan. 12
Updated Jan. 12

ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays have come to terms on a minor league deal with former White Sox and Angels catcher Kevan Smith and are expected to finalize the contract, with an invitation to Major League spring training, in the next day or two.

Smith, 31, split catching duties with Jonathan Lucroy in Los Angeles last season, hitting .251 with five home runs in 211 plate appearances. He had a couple of stints on the injured list with a concussion and back spasms.

The previous two seasons, Smith started a combined 119 games in Chicago. He was claimed on waivers by the Angels last off-season and then non-tendered by Los Angeles when he became arbitration-eligible in December.

Smith has been a decent contact hitter (lifetime .272 batting average) with little power, but has struggled to throw out baserunners and is not considered particularly strong at pitch framing.

Along with veteran Chris Herrmann, who was also recently signed to a minor league deal, the Rays now have a little more depth behind the plate after the loss of Travis d’Arnaud to free agency. Mike Zunino will go into camp as the No. 1 catcher with Michael Perez, Herrmann and Smith providing depth on the big league and Triple-A rosters.

The Rays had a rash of injuries at catcher last season, with six different players getting at least one start behind the plate.

John Romano can be reached at jromano@tampabay.com. Follow @romano_tbtimes.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Home plate umpire Brian deBrauwere, left, huddles behind Freedom Division catcher James Skelton, of the York Revolution, as the official wears an earpiece during the first inning of the Atlantic League All-Star minor league baseball game, Wednesday, July 10, 2019, in York, Pa. deBrauwere wore the earpiece connected to an iPhone in his ball bag which relayed ball and strike calls upon receiving it from a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar. The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional baseball league to let the computer call balls and strikes during the all star game.
    Commissioner Rob Manfred says it will be used during the Class A Florida State League season.
  2. Baseball America released its annual list on Wednesday. [Baseball America]
    Wander Franco is No. 1 again, and Brendan McKay No. 14 as Rays lead the way.
  3. Out of 397 ballots cast, only one did not elect Derek Jeter to the Hall of Fame. [DAVID SANTIAGO  |  TNS via ZUMA Wire]
    A unanimous selection was the only remaining question and Jeter falls one vote short.
  4. In this file photo, American League All-Star Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees acknowledges the crowd before his first at bat during the 85th MLB All-Star Game at Target Field on July 15, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
    John Romano | A clear majority of readers reacted harshly to my suggestion that Derek Jeter, while being an all-time great shortstop, might be a little overrated.
  5. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter laughs with teammates during Monday's game against the Rays at Tropicana Field. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times] [Tampa Bay Times]
    Derek Jeter and Scott Rolen joined the list, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are still there, Curt Schilling still isn’t
  6. He is a Yankee icon. One of baseball's greatest ambassadors. And soon, he will be a Hall of Famer. But did Jeter's reputation exceed his actual value on the field? [GENE J. PUSKAR  |  Associated Press]
    John Romano | The Yankees shortstop might join former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Fame selections, but his defensive abilities left a lot to be desired.
  7. Former White Sox manager Tony La Russa stands with his Baseball Hall of Fame plaque while being honored before a game in Chicago on Aug.  30, 2014. [MATT MARTON  |  AP]
    "There was a toggle switch in the manager’s office and a camera zoomed in on the catcher,” Jack McDowell says of the setup he claims was installed by the Hall of Fame manager.
  8. In this 2007 file photo, Alyssa Nakken making the all-metro softball team at Woodland High School in Sacramento, Calif. [RENEE T. BONNAFON  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    Alyssa Nakken, 29, a former standout softball player at Sacramento State, will be in uniform for the big-league team, though not in the dugout during games.
  9. After five winning seasons, and four playoff appearances, in Chicago, Joe Maddon will return to the Angels where he spent 12 seasons as a big league coach before coming to Tampa Bay. [JEFF GRITCHEN  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    As he gets nearer to Hall of Fame standards, the former Rays manager is contemplating a return to some old-style baseball ideas in his new gig as the Angels manager.
  10. New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran listens to a question during the Major League Baseball winter meetings on Dec. 10, 2019. [GREGORY BULL  |  AP]
    The move comes after the Astros and Red Sox also lose their managers.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement