ST. PETERSBURG -- Checking out the new faces in camp is always a big part of the fun of Spring Training. Luckily, the Rays have plenty of offseason additions to get to know over the next two months, each of them looking for a chance to play a significant role
ST. PETERSBURG -- Checking out the new faces in camp is always a big part of the fun of Spring Training. Luckily, the Rays have plenty of offseason additions to get to know over the next two months, each of them looking for a chance to play a significant role for the team in 2015.
Here's a look at some of the new players fans will be able to watch once camp opens in Port Charlotte, Fla.:
OF/DH Corey Dickerson: Dickerson's offensive prowess made him a player the Rays felt they had to get when he became available. So they traded closer Jake McGee to the Rockies to acquire the left-handed-hitting talent.
• Spring Training preview Part I: Rays hoping several players rebound from 2015
Dickerson experienced an injury-shortened 2015 season due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot, then he also had a broken rib. He still hit .304 with an .869 OPS in 65 games. In 2014, Dickerson hit .312 with a .931 OPS, 24 homers and 76 RBIs in 131 games. He has a career slash line of .299/.345/.534 with 39 home runs in 925 Major League plate appearances. Dickerson has fared better against right-handed pitching (.313/.358/.577) than lefties (.246/.299/.377), but he should see regular playing time.
OF/1B/DH Steve Pearce: The Rays signed Pearce as a free agent on Jan. 28. He hit .218 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs for the Orioles in 2015, but he is one year removed from a career year in 2014, when he hit .293 with 21 home runs and 49 RBIs. While Pearce's numbers declined in 2015, he spent time on the disabled list due to an oblique strain. He has hit well at Tropicana Field, where he has a career .288 average with seven home runs, 14 RBIs and a .644 slugging percentage in 23 games.
C Hank Conger: The Rays acquired the switch-hitting catcher from the Astros for cash considerations. Conger is coming off a season in which he batted .229/.311/.448 with 11 home runs in 73 games. He hit right-handed pitching best -- .279/.353/.538 -- but he only managed a .175/.268/.351 slash line against left-handers. Conger struggled with his throwing, nailing just one would-be basestealer in 43 attempts in 2015.
SS Brad Miller: Miller came to the Rays in a Nov. 5 trade with the Mariners. He hit .258 with 11 home runs, 46 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 144 games in 2015. Miller has the flexibility that Tampa Bay likes -- he made starts at shortstop, center field, left field, DH, second base, third base and right field in 2015 -- but he is earmarked to be the starting shortstop this season. Only one other American League shortstop could match his combination of homers (11), stolen bases (13) and slugging percentage (.402): Houston's Carlos Correa.
OF/1B/DH Logan Morrison: Morrison came to the Rays in a Nov. 5 trade with Seattle. He hit .225 with 17 home runs and 54 RBIs in a career-high 146 games in 2015, his first time appearing in at least 100 games since 2011. Morrison's home run and RBI totals were his highest since he had 23 homers and 72 RBIs with the Marlins in 2011.
Tampa Bay struggled against right-handed pitching in 2015, and Morrison's acquisition will help this year's lineup address that weakness. He hit .241 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in 315 at-bats against right-handers last season.
RHP Danny Farquhar: Farquhar came to the Rays as part of the six-player deal that sent Nathan Karns to the Mariners. He went 1-8 with a 5.12 ERA in 43 appearances spanning five stints with Seattle in 2015. After pitching to a 6.23 ERA in 25 appearances before the All-Star break, Farquhar registered a 3.48 ERA in 18 games in the second half. He has a career 3.96 ERA over parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues, all with the Mariners, including 16 saves in 2013 to lead AL rookies.
The Rays hope Farquhar can get back on track to become a fixture in their bullpen.
RHP Chase Whitley: Whitley went 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA in four starts for the Yankees last season before having season-ending Tommy John surgery. Because his surgery took place in May, he will not be healthy by Opening Day. If Whitley makes it through Spring Training on the Rays' 40-man roster, he would likely begin the season on the 60-day disabled list, which frees up a spot on the 40-man roster.
Once healthy, Whitley should add to Tampa Bay's starting pitching depth. He is 5-5 with a 5.02 ERA in 28 Major League appearances. Whitley has a career 2.96 ERA with in 179 1/3 career innings at the Triple-A level.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.