Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier speaks softly but make no mistake, he's oozing with confidence. 

Tampa Bay Rays Kiermaier On Still Being An ‘Absolute Game Changer’ Defensively

Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier speaks softly but make no mistake, he's oozing with confidence. 

ST. PETERSBURG, FL. – Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier speaks softly but make no mistake, he’s oozing with confidence. 

“When you put a glove on my hand, I’m different than anybody else,” Kiermaier told me in front of his locker in the Rays clubhouse. I think I was blessed with definitely something out there defensively, maybe more than others. It’s an obsession with me.”

Kiermaier is in his 9th season and flat out thinks he’s as good as any outfielder in MLB. He’s struggled at the plate, yet hit a walk-off home run to beat the Red Sox 3-2 last Saturday and came up with a clutch basket catch on Sunday. 

“Sometimes I wish it was that way with the bat, but ya gotta play the hand that was dealt to you,” Kiermaier said. I know that I’m an absolute game-changer out there defensively. Ever since I stepped up to the big leagues, I felt like I was an elite outfielder and I wanted to keep that for as long as possible. Here, I’m still today in my 9th year and I definitely think I’m one of the best.” 

Kiermaier was recruited out of high school for football and baseball and is still a huge football fan. But he says baseball is so unpredictable and that’s why he loves this game.

“You saw it perfectly on Saturday,” Kiermaier said. “We had 1 hit between two teams through 9 innings collectively. In the 10th inning they scored 2, we scored 3. The next day there 1st two batters get 2 hits, which in 2 at-bats doubled the amount of 30 some plate appearances. This game will never make sense. But that’s what makes you appreciate it so much.”

Kiermaier’s name pops up in trade rumors every year, yet here we are and he’s still starting in center field for the Rays. He and his wife and kids call Tampa their year-round home. He works out in the off-season with the University of Tampa baseball team. At 32 years old most players start slowing down. Kiermaier knows if his defensive play continues to stand out, he’ll have a job in the bigs.

“It’s something that’s helped me make a career in this game, ” Kiermaier said.

“I know it matters so much. It’s valued so much nowadays.”

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