The Rays have added a backup plan at DH by signing Jack Cust to a minor-league deal, according to Roger Mooney.
Previously the Rays were tied to Bobby Abreu, who, like Cust, offers minimal defensive value and an uncertain amount of offensive support. The Cust of Oakland fame—blessed with prodigious power and an uncanny ability to get on base—is no more than a rumor. He spent last season in Triple-A, splitting time with the Yankees and Jays organizations. Despite declining power production, Cust’s walk and strikeout rates remain extreme. He can and will command the zone, yet he swings and misses within the zone about twice as often as the normal batter.
It’s not a skill set likely to leave you yearning for more, but you can’t expect perfection from a minor-league signing in mid-February. Because Cust is not a big-league free agent with six or more years of service time he will not require a retention cost come the regular season. Instead Cust could spend the entire season at Durham without added financial commitments.