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Rays sign five to minor-league deals with invites to spring camp

Tampa Bay boosts its depth at Triple-A Durham by signing a handful of players with big-league experience who could come in handy in case of injuries.
At 6-foot-10, Aaron Slegers became the tallest pitcher in Rays history when he made his first and only appearance for Tampa Bay on Aug. 23, 2019 at Baltimore. Slegers threw three innings of one-run ball to get his first big league save. [JULIO CORTEZ  |  AP]
At 6-foot-10, Aaron Slegers became the tallest pitcher in Rays history when he made his first and only appearance for Tampa Bay on Aug. 23, 2019 at Baltimore. Slegers threw three innings of one-run ball to get his first big league save. [JULIO CORTEZ | AP]
Published Jan. 14
Updated Jan. 14

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have signed five former major leaguers to minor-league contracts with invitations to big league spring training.

Along with previously reported catchers Kevan Smith and Chris Herrmann, the Rays have signed outfielder Ryan LaMarre, right-handed pitcher Aaron Slegers and left-handed pitcher D.J. Snelten.

Slegers, 27, spent almost all of last season with the Rays’ Triple-A team in Durham, going 6-7 with a 5.05 ERA in 26 appearances, including 15 starts. Slegers made one appearance for Tampa Bay in 2019, pitching three innings in relief against the Orioles to get his first big league save on Aug. 23.

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

Snelten, 27, was a ninth-round pick out of the University of Minnesota by the Giants in 2013 and spent six years in their farm system. His lone big league experience was four relief appearances in San Francisco in 2018. After being waived by the Giants and released by the Orioles, he spent last season in an independent league.

LaMarre, 31, has spent parts of the last five seasons in the majors with five different organizations. His most extensive playing time came in 2018 when he hit .279 with two homers in 180 plate appearances between the White Sox and Twins. Of his 62 big league starts, 42 have come in centerfield.

Smith and Herrmann could possibly challenge Michael Perez for the backup catcher job.

Related: Rays add depth at catcher with former Miami Hurricanes player Chris Herrmann

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

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