Sports Outside the Beltway

Tampa Bay Rays sign Troy Percival

A favorite Strat-O-Matic player of mine continues his comeback.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Troy Percival thinks the Tampa Bay Rays have a bright future, and wants to do everything he can to help the young team realize its potential.

Spurning suitors that included the New York Yankees, the 38-year-old reliever agreed to an $8 million, two-year contract Friday with Tampa Bay, which needed to upgrade one of the worst bullpens in the major leagues.

Percival, who came out of retirement to go 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 34 appearances for St. Louis in 2007, will have a chance to earn another $4 million-plus in bonuses.

He said he had comparable offers from other teams and may have even been able to get more money, but he likes Tampa Bay’s nucleus of young talent and thinks longtime friend Joe Maddon is the right manager to get the Rays out of the AL East cellar.

Tampa Bay needs a great deal more than Percival to see a turn around in the team’s fortunes. Troy proved to me he can pitch again. 36 K’s, 10 W and only 24 hits in 40 innings. Sounds like closer material to me, which is what Percival did for the Angels from 1996-2004. As long as the reliever’s arm woes don’t come back, I see this as a good move for the Rays.

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