The Rays have signed free-agent catcher Kevan Smith to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, per MLBTR owner Tim Dierkes. Smith is represented by Fusion Sports Agency.
Smith, 31, spent the 2019 season with the Angels, appearing in 67 games with the club. He posted a solid .251/.318/.393 batting line, which is especially respectable compared to the collective lack of offense from the catcher position. He slugged five homers in 251 plate appearances, and he owns a career 89 OPS+, not bad for his position group. The Angels non-tendered Smith in December after coming over from the White Sox as a waiver claim in 2018. However, he’s regarded as a below-average defender behind the plate and has consistently graded as a poor framing catcher.
Smith will join a Tampa catching mix that has an established starter in Mike Zunino. The former is in line for the bulk of the playing time, and he’s joined on the 40-man roster by Michael Perez and rising prospect Ronaldo Hernandez. Smith will have to compete with that pair, but even if he’s unable to break camp with the club, Smith can no doubt serve as a solid depth option in the upper minors.