Cabral A Low-Risk Gamble For Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Exploring all avenues in their attempt to rebuild their bullpen in one offseason, the Rays selected lefthander Cesar Cabral in the Rule 5 draft from the Red Sox.
Cabral is only 21, and split last season, his first in full-season play, between low Class A Greenville and high Class A Salem.
But with a 91-93 mph fastball and the potential for the swing-and-miss repertoire needed in the AL East, the Rays felt he was worth the low-risk gamble.
"That's a little bit of a stretch, but the stuff plays,'' Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "We're in the position to take that type of chance.''
The bigger question will be if Cabral has the makeup and maturity to handle the jump.
"He's got a chance,'' executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "He's got high upside . . . Whether or not he can reach that in the near future gets to his makeup, and we don't have a good feel for that.
"It's absolutely worth it for us to get him in, work with him and see if we feel like he has that competitive makeup to help us in 2011 and potentially help us a lot beyond that. He's got the raw ingredients. The competitive makeup and that almost unique ability to go from A-ball to the major leagues, we don't know if he possess that or not."
Cabral, a Dominican Republic native signed by Boston in 2005, was 2-0, 0.29 in 17 games for Greenville and 2-0, 5.81 in 28 games for Salem. Overall, he struck out 80 in 79 innings.
The Rays lost four players in the draft. The biggest name was righthander Aneury Rodriguez, the 23-year-old acquired from Colorado for Jason Hammel who went 6-5, 3.80 for Triple-A Durham this season. The Rays felt Rodriguez wouldn't make their team, but hope to get him back from the Astros.
• Dave Eiland, the former Yankees pitching coach, is expected to join the Rays in a special assistant role. Eiland pitched for the Rays from 1998-2000.
• Two potential bullpen candidates were among the first batch of non-roster invitees announced by the Rays—lefthander R.J. Swindle and righthander Cory Wade. Also signed to minor league deals and invited to camp were righthander Richard De Los Santos, infielder J.J. Furmaniak and infielder Russ Canzler. Swindle, De Los Santos and Furmaniak were with Triple-A Durham last season.