When he is thought of by baseball fans, Jon Rauch is typically remembered due to his size. Standing at 6’11″, Rauch is the tallest player in major league history, coming in at an inch taller than future Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson and the eminently forgettable, yet tall, Eric Hillman. If ever a baseball team was to play a pickup game of basketball, Rauch would likely be the top pick by default.
However, over his career, Rauch has been more than just the answer to a trivia question. He has been a fairly solid reliever, spending most of his career as a setup man. Rauch even closed for a time, racking up 21 saves with the Twins in 2010. Overall in his career, Rauch has put together a 43-40 record with a 3.90 ERA, saving 62 games while showing solid control and a decent strikeout rate.
In the past six years, Jon Rauch has been a bit of a baseball vagabond, spending time with six different ballclubs over that time frame. Now, he has a chance to play for his seventh major league team in seven years, as the Royals have signed Rauch to a minor league contract with an invitation to the major league camp. Rauch becomes the third veteran pitcher that the Royals have signed to a minor league deal in the past week, following Brad Penny and Guillermo Mota.
While it is unlikely that Rauch breaks camp with the Royals, this is another signing that helps provide solid depth in the event of an injury. Should Rauch prove to have anything left during his time in Spring Training, and prove that his 7.56 ERA with the Marlins was not a sign that he has nothing left, Rauch may even end up being more than just a very large insurance policy.
The signing of Jon Rauch may not be overly exciting, but it does continue with the Royals moves of making low risk/potentially high reward signings over the past week. If any of these lottery tickets work out, then the Royals may be able to cash them in for an asset for their future. If not, then Omaha will have a nice veteran presence for the young pitchers on the verge of reaching the majors to learn from.