6:10pm: Smolinski has been granted his release by the Rays, tweets Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times.
10:00am: Korea’s NC Dinos are engineering some mid-season changes to their slate of foreign players. The club has wrapped up a deal with the indy ball New Britain Bees to purchase the contract of lefty Christian Friedrich, as first reported by the ALPB News Twitter account (link).
It seems the Dinos have eyes on another former major leaguer as well. Outfielder Jake Smolinski, who has been playing with the Rays’ top affiliate, is nearing a deal with the KBO club, according to baseball writer Sung Min Kim (Twitter link).
Teams in the Korea Baseball Organization are limited to three foreign players, among other regulations on spending. Accordingly, the Dinos will need to part ways with some existing players to facilitate these moves. Former big leaguers Christian Bethancourt and Eddie Butler will evidently be released to make way.
Friedrich, 31, has thrown nearly three hundred MLB innings, but the former top-100 prospect hasn’t cracked the bigs since 2016. He sat out all of last season but had shown well in the Atlantic League, posting 63 frames of 3.00 ERA ball with one strikeout per inning and 2.1 BB/9.
As for the 30-year-old Smolinski, he faced a tough path up to the majors in Tampa Bay. But the five-year MLB veteran has been hitting well this season at Triple-A, where he carries a .270/.360/.504 slash with a dozen home runs in 286 plate appearances.
Both decent major leaguers good luck to them in Korea. Also was Bethancourt playing catcher or pitcher in Korea?
Smolinski isn’t a decent major leaguer. He’s a strictly platoon outfield, His career numbers against LHP are okay, but he is inept against RHP. .204/.263/.289 in about 400 PA’s, and that is a trend that hasn’t changed since the A’s released him.
A decent major leaguer in my book is someone that has more than 50 games in the big leagues. You have to have perspective barely anyone makes the bigs let alone is in the league for a semi long time
Friedrich… just another long line of Rockies pitching prospect bust
Christian Bethancourt… I never thought he’d turn out to be a bust.
Both he and gattis came threw the same system.
One adjusted the other sucked
im sure Betancourt is still better then a lot of teams backup catchers. Miami?
He has one of the worst work ethics in baseball. It’s been well documented he would rather play video games than doing his homework
Looks like the NC Dinos have made a big upgrade since Betancourt was mediocre and Butler was just plain bad.
They need to make a move in the standing and those “foreigners” weren’t really helping, so it could not hurt!