Feb. 23: Gamel passed his physical, tweets Topkin. His deal with the Rays is now complete.
Feb. 22: The Rays are finalizing a minor league contract with free-agent outfielder Ben Gamel, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). The Wasserman client will be in big league camp and compete for a spot on Tampa Bay’s roster once he passes a physical.
Gamel, 30, spent the 2022 season with the Pirates, appearing in 115 games and tallying 423 plate appearances with a .232/.324/.369 batting line, nine homers, an 11.3% walk rate and a 23.2% strikeout rate. Gamel was one of a handful of platoon options remaining on the free agent market and will give a heavily right-handed Tampa Bay club an option from the left side of the dish if he makes the club.
Gamel has seen Major League time in each of the past seven seasons, dating back to his 2016 debut with the Yankees. He’s a lifetime .253/.333/.385 hitter (97 wRC+) in just over 2200 plate appearances, and while he’s typically been light on power — career-high 11 homers, .132 career ISO — he’s drawn walks at a strong clip for the majority of his big league tenure (10.2%).
Looking at his career as a whole, Gamel’s track record against right-handed pitching is roughly average. That’s skewed somewhat by some shaky performances earlier in his career, however. Dating back to Opening Day 2021, Gamel carries a solid .255/.351/.408 slash against right-handed pitchers — about 12% better than league-average after weighting for his home park and league run-scoring environment, by measure of wRC+. During that time, he’s walked at a stout 13.9% clip in platoon matchups.
Gamel rated as s solid outfield defender early in his career, but publicly available defensive metrics have soured his glovework in recent seasons. Statcast has given decreasingly favorable reviews to his outfield jumps and dropped his arm strength from above-average to roughly average in 2022. Gamel’s sprint speed still landed in the 65th percentile of MLB players in 2022, but he was in at least the 80th percentile in each of his first three MLB campaigns (including an 87th percentile showing in his debut season).
The Rays’ primary outfielders — Randy Arozarena, Jose Siri, Manuel Margot and Harold Ramirez — all bat from the right side of the dish, so there’s plenty of sense in adding some left-handed help. Tampa Bay has lefties Jonathan Aranda, Luke Raley and Josh Lowe on the 40-man roster, plus switch-hitting infielder/outfielder Vidal Brujan. Second baseman Brandon Lowe has some experience in the outfield, too.
Still, of that group of lefty options, none are sure bets. Aranda has mashed throughout the minors but is regarded as something of a positionless nomad on the defensive spectrum. Raley has a huge minor league track record but is 28 and has yet to hit in a pair of big league seasons. Josh Lowe is a former top prospect who’s still searching for an MLB breakout. The same goes for Brujan. As for Brandon Lowe, he’s logged just 331 career innings in the outfield, and last year’s three frames in right field represented the entirety of his outfield work on the season.
Gamel will head to Rays camp as the most experienced outfield option among the team’s non-roster invitees, and presumably with a good spring showing, he’ll have a decent chance at cracking the roster. He does have some experience in center field, though it’s limited and he’s best-suited for corner work. That said, both Siri and Margot are plus defenders at any outfield spot, which lessens the need for the Rays’ reserve options to be adept in center.
He’s the guy that gets us over the Yankees and Jays
Ben played a nearly flawless outfield for the Pirates last season.
I wish him the best
I don’t know about flawless, but he gave 100% to a team that he knew wasn’t going anywhere and an organization he had no future with. Some might say he was merely showcasing himself for a trade to a contender but he always seemed to be a gamer, focused on helping the team
Check out his highlights playing left field, he dove for balls hit in his direction making unbelievable catches
Every player showcases their talent on the field even those who aren’t being traded
Who exactly are “ those “ you mention?
Diving for balls isn’t always indicative of great fielding. Some of those balls he dives for likely would have been caught normally by elite outfielders.
I get that you liked his play, but if it was “flawless” maybe he’d be a veteran presence they’d have kept, like the guys they signed this off season
In fact, he’d have been cheaper than some of them
As for “those,” I think you are referring to my comment that “Some might say…”
You’ll have to pardon me, as I understand the cynicism that often shows up here, especially from major market fans who tend to look down their noses at any player who’s been “sentenced” to playing here
Gamel made some nice plays, but he was far from flawless. Even a more classic stat like range factor views him as a below average defender.
Excuse me, diving and catching balls
I never mentioned his throwing skills
I seen him dive for balls he shouldn’t have. Make bad reads and get slow jumps. Seen a coach tell him to stop showing off and stay on your feet. Great that he entertained you but he was average at best.
@TheMan I understood where you were going.
Unfortunately, the vultures of the internet like to focus on missteps, simply to ridicule.
Sorry pal, as a tired old dude who is avid reader here, I have always appreciated TheMan3’s insights. There was no desire to ridicule at all
I just don’t think Gamel played “flawlessly,” that’s all.
apparently you suffer from reading comprehension, I said “ nearly “ flawless
Only Yankee fans suffer from that disease
I said NEARLY FLAWLESS
Do people know the definition of nearly?
His OAA in LF in 2022 was a -3.
Love the selfie
ben’s looking all cute n shi
Time of year players are knocking all doors looking for work…
I thought there was a slight chance he’d return to the Yankees and compete for LF, but they already have Ortega as a second-tier option.
I’m honestly shocked they haven’t signed Moose.
This one belongs to the Reds
Worth taking a gamble on.
To be honest this website has gone downhill in the last 3 years. Stop posting meaningless articles about minor leaguers and trivial transactions just to get views. No one cares about no names in Triple A. We only care about the Machado’s and Soto’s of the baseball world. It’s getting annoying when 90% of the articles on here are about no names
You obviously cared enough to comment. These moves are all part of the landscape that shapes the season. He has a good chance to make the roster of a team that has been successful lately.
This article is the result of there being nothing important or interesting to talk about
Yanks – wasnt sure if your original post was just to trigger people,but based on your follow up, its obvious that wasnt the case and, in fact, you are a moron that knows little to nothing about baseball. What a stupid take you had….wow.
Well said, Clepto. Love the arrogance from yet another Yanks fan who thinks only major market teams deserve publicity. Nice of him to drop by
And there you go, you just said why the site posts stuff that some may consider to be relatively minor transactions – because there is nothing more important, especially at this time of year. So what do you propose instead, that they go dark for a day or maybe even several days? Yeah, that would be good for business.
@remember Actually yes….if it means keeping annoying simpletons like Clepto and Yanks2 from posting.
Guys literally arguing about the validity of a baseball related post on baseball site….that they arrived at after reading the title.
@Yanks2: I want to read about all the signings. It would not be complete coverage if they skipped minor league signings. You can read the headline and can just skip what you aren’t interested in. Quit whining and let those of us that care about all the signings get the complete baseball coverage we want.
“This article is the result of there being nothing important or interesting to talk about” Would it be putting too fine a point on it to say that you are the result of there being nothing important or interesting to talk about?
Anyway, maybe Gamel can take the place of Kevin Kiermaier as the hustling outfielder. I remember when the Rays weren’t so good and a couple of the non-rosters would make the team. That’s how they ended up with Carlos Pena all those years ago.
Just don’t click.
They post about nearly every transaction, big or small, and that’s nothing new.
Speak for yourself. Most ppl on here are baseball junkies that want to read about every transaction. U r in the minority on this one bud.
Love Of The Game
I’ve been on this site since close to inception. They have always covered deals like this just was in a different format at the outset. If you don’t like said article simply move on to the next.
Plenty of fans, such as myself, do enjoy knowing teams organizational depth. As a person who rarely comments (don’t feed the trolls) your trollish comment deserved the reply for its blatant lack of understanding how other fans see the game.Take off your Yankee glasses and realize 29 other teams do exist and fans all view the game differently.
not all Yankee fans think like him. like several have already commented, I also prefer reading about all the moves and players. ..
It takes zero effort to just scroll passed an article that you don’t care about. Seems like you just wanted attention, which you’re getting.
I agree. I’d rather read about how much money the Yankees spend on their players only to watch other teams win the WS
Troll is troll.
You could’ve had a blank name and by your diatribe about this site, we’d know exactly who you support. If it’s not a multi million dollar signing, you moan. Scroll along.
You can always just get your news from ESPN or some other mainstream platform. But I think you knew that.
This is probably not the website for you, then.
Still see a big hole at 1st base. Really thought Luke Voit who mutilated AL East pitching would be the answer
Should the Rays go after Miguel Sano?
Profar makes better sense for them.
Profar probably wants more than anyone is offering. That would explain why he’s the last remaining free agent on the Top 50 list.
He probably had his hopes up for a Texas reunion, but even they said enough is enough.
The Rays seem like they’re content with Yandy Diaz and Isaac Parades at the corners. Seeing as both did fairly well last year hitting wise, and Parades is a plus defensive 3B, I can see why they’re content with it.
Tom the ray fan
He’ll be DFA by mid may early June if he even makes the squad
GOAT Closer Esteban Yan
I’d rather see Lowe platoon than this guy. They gave Lowe too short of a leash last year.
He’s an emergency option. Just there to get some work in. Probably will get a opt out date. Would have to have a heck of a spring or injury to another player to make team I would say.
the great bambi
I liked that you guys took a pic from his music video
As a Pirates fan, I like this move for the Rays. Gamel’s an old school, scrappy ballplayer. Can help in many ways off of the bench.
Good option if jose lowe is a bust
What’s he smoking in the photo?
Typical Rays signing. Cheap being the number one priority. Team really needs an owner that cares.
No comma is needed before too. Learn this.
They used the photo from one of those Facebook “gonna get clean and get my kids back” posts.
That is hilarious Dan!