Bobby Wilson was well-traveled in 2016, landing in Tampa for a second Rays stint after stops in Detroit and Texas. The veteran backstop actually smacked a career-high seven homers over 251 plate appearances last season, while also driving in a personal-best 33 runs. However, as has been the case throughout his career, consistent contact continued to be a problem, as he connected at only a 72 percent clip. The 33-year-old signed with the Dodgers over the offseason, which leaves him in a clear third catcher role behind Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes. If some playing time were to clear up, however, Wilson could potentially provide modest fantasy production in the homer and RBI categories, but he figures to only serve as veteran depth until then.
Wilson signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers on Friday worth $1 million if he's promoted to the majors, Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball reports. The veteran left Tampa Bay after posting a .230/.272/.391 line with four home runs in 95 plate appearances. Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes are the clear No. 1 and 2 catchers in Los Angeles, so Wilson will likely land with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Wilson will elect free agency, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Wilson is keeping the door open for a return to the Tampa Bay, but Topkin speculates that Wilson will be able to land a major league contract elsewhere. While the 33-year-old has struck out in more than a quarter of his plate appearances in each of the past two seasons, Rays pitchers praised his preparation and intangibles.
Wilson has cleared outright waivers, Steve Carney of 620 WDAE Tampa Bay reports. The Rays bumped Wilson from the 40-man roster, and after going unclaimed on waivers, the 33-year-old can elect free agency. He presumably will opt to test the open market, because while Wilson hit just .237/.270/.355 between Detroit, Texas and Tampa Bay last year, catching depth is always in demand and he could at least get a spring training invite from another club.
Wilson is out of the lineup Sunday against the Rangers. Wilson ended the season as the Rays' primary catcher, but he'll give way to Luke Maile behind the plate in the season finale. The Rays have long prioritized defense above all else from their catchers, and while Wilson fits the bill in that regard, he'll turn 34 in April and doesn't have much of a track record as a regular starter in the majors. If the Rays retain him this offseason, he seems more likely to open the coming season in a backup role.
Wilson went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in Wednesday's 11-5 loss to the Yankees. The backstop's seventh round-tripper of the season kicked off a four-homer barrage for the Rays in the third, which helped cut in to what had been a 7-0 Yankees lead. It was Wilson's second homer of September, with both of them having come in the last six games. He's also hit six of his seven bombs overall on the season with the Rays, his third team of 2016 following stints with the Tigers and Rangers.