The Rays have signed Ryon Healy to a minor league contract, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). Healy will be making his return to North American baseball after playing with the Korea Baseball Organization’s Hanwha Eagles in 2021.
A veteran of five MLB seasons, Healy’s last appearance in The Show came on a big stage, as he served as the Brewers’ DH and cleanup hitter in Game Two of their wild card series game with the Dodgers in 2020. Injuries had thinned Milwaukee’s roster to the point that Healy (who had played only four regular-season games with the Brew Crew) got the nod for the elimination game, as the Dodgers knocked the Brewers out of the best-of-three series.
Healy has a .261/.298/.450 slash line over 1606 career plate appearances in the majors, almost all with the A’s in 2016-17 and then the Mariners in 2018-19. A noted prospect on his way up in Oakland’s farm system, the Athletics dealt Healy to Seattle in November 2017 since Matt Olson and Matt Chapman were blocking the way at Healy’s two corner infield positions. While Healy followed up a 25-homer campaign in 2017 by hitting 24 long balls in his debut season with the M’s, his hitting numbers declined overall, and injuries limited him to 47 games in 2019.
From there, Healy bounced to the Brewers, and then to the KBO League. The Eagles released Healy in July after he hit .257/.306/.394 over 268 PA for the Daejeon-based team. Both in South Korea and in the majors, Healy has struggled to consistently get on base, and his power dropoff with the Eagles is also a bit of a step backwards for a player who at least used to fit the three-true-outcomes model.
The Rays have been known to be looking for a right-handed hitter with first base ability, and while Healy fits that description, he might be viewed as more of a backup plan than as a true answer to Tampa Bay’s needs. Still, the Rays have been known to find hidden gems in the past, and if Healy is able to get on track, he could be an interesting complement to Ji-Man Choi or Austin Meadows (both left-handed hitters) as the Rays’ top choices at first base or DH.