The Tampa Bay Rays have signed three players to minor league contracts, each with an invitation to major league spring training: catcher Bobby Wilson, outfielder Corey Brown and infielder/outfielder Eugenio Velez. In addition, the Rays have acquired minor league right-handed pitcher Buddy Borden from the Pittsburgh Pirates as the player to be named in the trade for infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez.
Wilson, 31, has spent parts of six seasons in the major leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014) and Los Angeles Angels (2008-12), batting .209 (82-for-393) in 193 games. Aside from a September stint in the majors with the D-backs, he spent the 2014 season with Triple-A Reno and hit .267 (72-for-270) with three home runs and 38 RBI in 76 games, including .288 (32-for-111) against left-handed pitching. The right-handed hitter owns a career .277 batting average over 11 minor league seasons. He went to Seminole High School and was a 2002 June Draft selection by the Angels from St. Petersburg College.
Brown, 29, has spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox (2014) and Washington Nationals (2011-13), appearing in 39 games. He spent the majority of the 2014 season with Triple-A Pawtucket and hit .231 (75-for-325) with 17 home runs and 42 RBI in 91 games. The left-handed hitter owns a career .263 batting average and .345 on-base percentage over eight minor league seasons. He was a first-round selection (59th overall) of the Oakland A's in the 2007 June Draft out of Oklahoma State University after attending H.B. Plant High School in Tampa.
Velez, 32, has spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2011) and San Francisco Giants (2007-10), batting .241 (160-for-663) with eight home runs and 72 RBI in 259 games. He spent the 2014 season with Triple-A Nashville (Brewers), batting .309 (125-for-404) with a .363 on-base percentage, seven home runs, 51 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 116 games. He owns a career .300 batting average and .356 on-base percentage over 12 minor league seasons.
Borden, 22, spent the 2014 season with Class-A West Virginia, going 7-9 with a 3.16 ERA (128-IP, 45-ER) and 122 strikeouts in 27 games (26 starts). He was selected by the Pirates in the seventh round of the 2013 June Draft out of UNLV, and made six appearances (three starts) with Short-A Jamestown to open his career.