Last week, the Tampa Bay Rays designated versatile fourth outfielder Justin Ruggiano for assignment. After he cleared waivers, they outrighted him to Triple-A Durham. The Rays had to clear space on their 40-man roster after signing Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez.â†µ
Every team just had a chance to pick up Ruggiano but no one did. He's not a terrible player and has some useful skills, such as his .288/.360/.469 line at Triple-A. He's pretty quick on the bases and showed a good ability to steal at a high rate in the minors.
So, why shouldn't Houston take a chance on Ruggiano? He's not exactly young heading into his Age 29 season, but he'd be a cheap option for another year or two. He can play all three outfield positions, so he could start in left field should Brett Wallace get sent down, fill in for Hunter Pence if he's injured and give Michael Bourn a rest against tough lefties.â†µ
If I had to guess, though, I bet nothing would happen until the end of spring training. By that point, the Astros will know how Carlos Lee is looking, if Wallace has locked up a spot on the roster and if they can trust Brian Bogusevic as the fifth outfielder. If there's any question about any of these, I'm sure the Astros will put in a call to Andrew Friedman.â†µ