The news came today that Gabe Kapler signed a one-year, $1 million deal to join the defending AL champion Tampa Bay Rays.
Kapler is a terrific signing for Tampa. He can fill all three outfield spots, which will help if B.J. Upton is slow to recover from offseason surgery, and he has the bat to play in the corners. His 2008 line was terrific--.301/.340/.498.
The projections system put his 2009 OPS at .759, .751, .746 and .775- Dan Szymborski's ZIPS, Bill James, CHONE and Marcel, respectively. This is very good for a fourth OF- and I suspect this is a softer prediction than many others, as the comps for players that took a year off, then resumed a career must be few and far between.
I am hopeful that there will be a fan group created at Tampa games called either "Kapler's Knishes", who will all dress up as enormous potato products, or "Kapler's Kvetchers", who will all dress up as my grandmother.