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Rays Announce Five Invites To Spring Training

January 13, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with the following players on minor league contracts with an invitation to major league spring training: catchers Chris Herrmann and Kevan Smith, outfielder Ryan LaMarre, right-handed pitcher Aaron Slegers and left-handed pitcher D.J. Snelten. In addition, the Rays have agreed

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with the following players on minor league contracts with an invitation to major league spring training: catchers Chris Herrmann and Kevan Smith, outfielder Ryan LaMarre, right-handed pitcher Aaron Slegers and left-handed pitcher D.J. Snelten. In addition, the Rays have agreed to terms on minor league contracts (without non-roster invites) with right-handed pitcher Angel German and infielder Conrad Gregor.

Herrmann, 32, has spent parts of the last eight seasons in the majors with the Minnesota Twins (2012-15), Arizona Diamondbacks (2016-17), Seattle Mariners (2018) and Oakland Athletics (2019). He is a career .205/.282/.344 (182-for-887) hitter with 25 home runs and 103 RBI over 370 games (222 starts) at the major league level, which includes time at catcher (198 games, 165 starts), left field (45 games, 31 starts), right field (42 games, 23 starts), first base (10 games, one start), designated hitter (three games, one start) and center field (two games, one start). Herrmann began the 2019 season on Oakland’s 60-day injured list, but on July 2 vs. Minnesota became the first player in Athletics history to hit a grand slam in his team debut. He hit .202 (17-for-84) in 30 games for the Athletics before being released on September 13. He was selected by the Twins in the sixth round of the 2009 June Draft out of the University of Miami.

LaMarre, 31, has spent parts of the last five seasons in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds (2015), Boston Red Sox (2016), Athletics (2017), Chicago White Sox (2018) and Twins (2018-19). He is a career .236/.286/.338 (53-for-225) hitter with four home runs and 21 RBI over 119 games (62 starts) at the major league level. He has experience at all three outfield positions: center field (64 games, 42 starts), left field (33 games, 18 starts) and right field (nine games, two starts). Last season, he was a September call up for the Twins, appearing in 14 games (seven starts) and batting .217/.308/.478 (5-for-23) with two home runs. He began the season with Triple-A Rochester, where he hit .311/.380/.477 (126-for-405) with nine home runs and 53 RBI, finishing sixth in the International League in hitting. He was selected by the Reds in the second round of the 2010 June Draft out of the University of Michigan.

Smith, 31, has totaled 213 games (174 starts) in the majors over four seasons with the Chicago White Sox (2016-18) and Los Angeles Angels (2019), and is a career .272/.318/.381 (178-for-654) hitter with 12 home runs and 71 RBI. In his only season with the Angels, he hit .251/.318/.393 (48-for-191) with five home runs and 20 RBI in 67 games (51 starts). He made the Angels Opening Day roster and spent the entire season in the majors, but was on the injured list three times: May 22–June 6 (concussion), June 19–July 11 (left hand metacarpal sprain) and August 11-23 (lumbar strain). He was selected by the White Sox in the seventh round of the 2011 June Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh. He also played three seasons of football at Pitt and passed for 202 yards in his first start at quarterback, breaking Dan Marino’s record for a Pitt freshman debut.

Slegers, 27, spent the majority of last season with Triple-A Durham, going 6-7 with a 5.05 ERA (112.1-IP, 63-ER) in 26 appearances (15 starts). He was acquired by the Rays from the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 30, 2019. The 6'10" righty made his only appearance for the Rays on August 23 at the Baltimore Orioles to become the tallest player in franchise history, passing Jeff Niemann (6'9") and Mark Hendrickson (6'9"). He became the sixth pitcher to record a save in his Rays debut, first since Dale Thayer on May 22, 2009 at the Florida Marlins. Slegers also pitched parts of two seasons in the majors with the Twins (2017-18) and is 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA (32-IP, 20-ER) in nine career appearances (five starts). He was selected by the Twins in the fifth round of the 2013 June Draft out of Indiana University.

Snelten, 27, spent last season with the Chicago Dogs in the independent American Association, going 7-3 with a 3.12 ERA (118.1-IP, 41-ER) in 20 starts. He pitched in four games, all in relief, for the San Francisco Giants in 2018, his only career major league action. Over six minor league seasons between the Giants and Baltimore Orioles organizations, he is 27-24 with a 3.31 ERA (410.1-IP, 151-ER) in 183 appearances (42 starts). He was selected by the Giants in the ninth round of the 2013 June Draft out of the University of Minnesota, where he was first team All-Big Ten as a junior.