Skip to content

Bargain-hunting Rays still have some holes

Jan 18, 2013, 7:53 PM EDT

Joe Maddon, Andrew Friedman

The Rays have spent some money this winter, adding Yunel Escobar for shortstop, James Loney for first base and Roberto Hernandez to the pitching staff. Their rotation is fine even with James Shields gone and the infield might be set, if Ben Zobrist plays second base, but the team still has some needs as is.

Outfield: Desmond Jennings is the only sure starter in the Tampa Bay outfield, and it’s still unclear if he’ll be playing left or center. Matt Joyce will start somewhere against righties, probably in right field but perhaps at designated hitter. A career .201/.288/.325 hitter in 234 at-bats against lefties,  he’s more useful being platooned.

Beyond those two, the Rays have the option of playing Zobrist in right, but they seem more likely to use him at second initially. Brandon Guyer was looking like a nice sleeper entering last season, but he opened up in Triple-A and then suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in May. Sam Fuld is also back healthy after missing much of the season, but he should be viewed as a reserve. Top prospect Wil Myers will almost certainly spend the first month in Triple-A to push back his free agency clock, and he might be held back until mid-June, depending on how he’s performing and the Rays’ needs in right field.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark today mentioned Michael Bourn as a possibility for the Rays, as unlikely as that would seem to be. Not only would he blow up their budget, but he’d also cost them their first-round pick. Scott Hairston would seem to be a nice fit as a starter early who can be eased into a reserve role when Myers comes up, but the Rays haven’t been mentioned in connection with him. Perhaps they think Guyer is his equal. Still, even if the the Rays do opt to go with a Guyer-Jennings-Joyce outfield, they’re going to need a…

Designated hitter: In recently posting a Rays depth chart, I put Ryan Roberts at DH for lack of any better alternatives. It shouldn’t be difficult to do better there, though. Tampa Bay could re-sign Luke Scott to DH against right-handers after he hit .229/.285/.439 for them last season. Travis Hafner and Jim Thome are alternatives there, but they’re pure DHs incapable of playing elsewhere. Scott can at least play a passable first base and perhaps still left field when healthy.

One alternative here would be to sign Kelly Johnson, put Zobrist in right field and use Joyce primarily at DH.

Bullpen: The Rays have only three sure things for the pen right now: Fernando Rodney, Jake McGee and Joel Peralta. They’ll probably stick Hernandez there initially, and they do have some adequate holdovers in Cesar Ramos and Brandon Gomes, plus guys with upside like Josh Lueke, Dane De La Rosa and Frank De Los Santos. Still, one imagines they have their eyes on a couple of cheap veterans who might be candidates for turnarounds. No teams are beating down the doors of Francisco Rodriguez,  Matt Capps and Ramon Ramirez at the moment. And then there’s Hideki Okajima, who wants to return to the U.S. after a terrific season in Japan. The Rays could also consider trading Jeff Niemann for bullpen help.

Latest Posts
  1. There was a Tim Lincecum sighting last night! But then he went away again.

    Oct 23, 2014, 8:59 AM EDT

    Tim Lincecum AP

    The Freak was back last night. And he did OK, though he left with a stiff back.

  2. At least Hunter Strickland entertained us last night

    Oct 23, 2014, 7:44 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 7.42.57 AM AP

    The rookie didn’t have control. With his pitches or with his emotions.

  3. Giants should give Yusmeiro Petit the Game 4 start

    Oct 23, 2014, 2:25 AM EDT

    Yusmeiro Petit Yusmeiro Petit

    Petit deserves the nod over probable starter Ryan Vogelsong.

  4. Royals even up World Series with 7-2 Game 2 victory

    Oct 22, 2014, 11:34 PM EDT

    kelvin herrera getty Getty Images

    Yordano Ventura held the Giants to two runs over five-plus innings and the Kansas City offense awoke for seven runs on 10 hits as the Royals evened up the 2014 World Series at a win apiece with a 7-2 Game 2 victory on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

  5. Royals grab commanding lead and benches clear in sixth inning of World Series Game 2

    Oct 22, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT

    billy butler getty Getty Images

    The host Royals have the visiting Giants right where they want them in Game 2 of the World Series.

  6. World Series Game 2 tied 2-2 through five innings

    Oct 22, 2014, 9:48 PM EDT

    yordano ventura getty Getty Images

    Game 2 of the World Series has been a back-and-forth affair thus far, with the visiting Giants scoring single runs in the first and fourth innings and the Royals scoring in the first and second. It’s all square at 2-2 as the action shifts to the top of the sixth.

  7. Craig Kimbrel wins Trevor Hoffman Award; Greg Holland gets Mariano Rivera Award

    Oct 22, 2014, 9:03 PM EDT

    kimbrel holland mlb

    Major League Baseball announced in April that two new regular-season awards would be handed out every year, going to the top reliever in each league. The NL’s award was named after Trevor Hoffman and the AL’s was named after Mariano Rivera. Here, via MLB’s Twitter account, are the first recipients …

  8. Giants again strike first, but Royals answer back

    Oct 22, 2014, 8:39 PM EDT

    gregor blanco getty Getty Images

    The Giants jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning Tuesday before eventually winning Game 1 of the World Series in a 7-1 rout. And they got off to another fast start in Game 2 on Wednesday night, but the Royals were able to answer right back.

  9. Statcast: Brandon Crawford’s over-the-shoulder catch from Game 1 of the World Series

    Oct 22, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

    brandon crawford getty Getty Images

    Statcast, the new 3D tracking technology from MLB Advanced Media, gives us this unique look at Brandon Crawford’s rangy catch to rob Omar Infante of a hit Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series …

  10. Twins sell Kris Johnson to Japanese team

    Oct 22, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Kris Johnson Twins Getty Images

    Johnson was acquired from the Pirates last year.

  11. Phillies sign catcher John Hester to minor league deal

    Oct 22, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT

    john hester getty Getty Images

    Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Phillies have signed catcher John Hester to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

  12. Dan Haren undergoes shoulder surgery

    Oct 22, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    dan haren getty Getty Images

    Dan Haren underwent arthroscopic surgery Wednesday on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. He’s expected to be ready for spring training.

  13. Twins decline $3.6 million option on Jared Burton

    Oct 22, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Jared Burton Getty Getty Images

    Not so long ago that option looked like it might be a bargain, as Burton went from scrap-heap pickup to one of the league’s best setup men, but he showed major signs of decline this season while throwing 64 innings with a 4.36 ERA.

  14. PANTY RAID! Homeland Security agents confiscate unlicensed Kansas City Royals underwear

    Oct 22, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 4.03.14 PM

    In other news: Homeland Security agents now conduct raids over things like minor copyright violations.

  15. World Series, Game 2: Giants vs. Royals lineups

    Oct 22, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT

    Yordano Ventura AP

    Jake Peavy vs. Yordano Ventura.

  16. CC Sabathia hasn’t thrown off a mound yet, but says he’s “pretty much back to 100 percent”

    Oct 22, 2014, 2:48 PM EDT

    CC Sabathia AP

    He’s owed $23 million in 2015, $25 million in 2016, and $25 million or a $5 million buyout for 2017.

  17. Frank White joins the “back in my day …” chorus

    Oct 22, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    frank white royals

    “No one ever complained” is not a particularly compelling argument against change, in baseball or in life.

Featured video

Ace-killer Giants do it again
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. M. Bumgarner (3025)
  2. J. Shields (2834)
  3. T. Lincecum (2441)
  4. T. Ishikawa (2357)
  5. M. Morse (2270)
  1. Y. Cespedes (1978)
  2. B. Roberts (1612)
  3. L. Cain (1601)
  4. B. Posey (1462)
  5. U. Jimenez (1436)