By Jason Shetler
A somewhat interesting story came out on Thursday when the Pirates visited the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte. Matt Joyce talked to Marc Topkin, the Rays beat reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, and made mention that he thought he was going to sign with the San Diego Padres, but nothing came about. There wasn’t any specifics however on when Joyce would have signed with them, or if he was even offered a contract at all.
The Padres outfield is projected to be Matt Kemp, Jon Jay and Melvin Upton Jr, so Joyce would have had to compete for a fourth outfield spot, and most likely on a minor league contract since he posted a career worst .564 OPS for the Los Angeles Angels last season. The Pirates wound up signing Joyce to a minor league deal on the day that pitchers and catchers reported. He has a pretty good chance to crack the Opening Day roster as the fourth outfielder. The Pirates obviously are hoping they can get the Matt Joyce who had a 118 OPS+ with the Rays from 2009 to 2014.