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Rays think free agent Steve Pearce can bounce back in ’16

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The latest free agent acquisition of the Tampa Bay Rays follows a familiar theme: buy low, sell high.

The Rays have agreed to terms with ex-Baltimore outfielder Steve Pearce, who struggled through his most recent season but showed upside before that.

Pearce hit only .218 last season, and his OPS and his power numbers slid. But the Rays think they can use Pearce in the outfield, at first base and as a designated hitter. Last year, Pearce’s doubles fell from 26 to 13 and his homers from 21 to 15 and his average from .293 to .218.

The Rays have often profited from bounce-back years from their players, however. Pearce should be able to share time with James Loney at first and Logan Morrison at DH.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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