Jan 18, 2013, 7:53 PM EDT
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.
May 6, 2015, 6:18 PM EDT
Jeff Samardzija officially dropped the appeal of his five-game suspension on Wednesday, temporarily opening a spot in the White Sox starting rotation.
May 6, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT
Acquired from the Braves as part of the Jason Heyward trade this offseason, Walden posted a 0.87 ERA and 12/4 K/BB ratio in 10 innings for the Cardinals.
May 6, 2015, 4:03 PM EDT
Tough news for “Kitten Face.”
May 6, 2015, 3:43 PM EDT
Diamondbacks, Royals, Indians and Mariners.
May 6, 2015, 2:47 PM EDT
May 6, 2015, 2:33 PM EDT
May 6, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
Bonds is a sponsor of a women’s cycling team. And, in cycling, is finding more acceptance and peace than he’s found in baseball in a long, long time.
May 6, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT
Michael Taylor fills in.
May 6, 2015, 12:03 PM EDT
And he’s still only 26 years old.
May 6, 2015, 11:32 AM EDT
There’s a chance for some history on the Say-Hey Kid’s 84th birthday.
May 6, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT
And he is fully justified in being fed up.
Stephen Strasburg left Tuesday’s start after three innings with “discomfort under his shoulder blade”
May 6, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT
“The irritation kind of rattles the cage a little bit.”
May 6, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT
Two years ago Hochevar a 1.92 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 70 innings.
May 6, 2015, 9:36 AM EDT
In my day we called it a benching.
May 6, 2015, 9:01 AM EDT
A new report on the incident suggests that the umpire was just as much an aggressor as Jacoby was.
May 6, 2015, 8:39 AM EDT
We should hear about Verlander’s status sometime today.
May 6, 2015, 7:04 AM EDT
This is easily the most photo and video-heavy ATH of all time. Mostly because pitchers did things with bats and teams wore throwbacks last night.
May 5, 2015, 11:46 PM EDT
The 32-year-old righty is expected to be out 6-8 weeks.
May 5, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT
George Springer has been robbing opponents all season, and he did it again Tuesday night …
May 5, 2015, 10:22 PM EDT
Some very good news here for the Marlins …
- Carlos Rodon to make first MLB start Saturday 0
- Bryce Harper’s underrated day: Three at-bats, three homers 39
- Tigers, doctors clear Justin Verlander to resume throwing 8
- Brook Jacoby and umpire Doug Eddings were in a “loud, obscenity-laced, nose-to-nose exchange” 55
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights 143
- Devin Mesoraco could need hip surgery 11
- Alex Cobb confirmed to have elbow ligament tear 14
- Royals expected to get closer Greg Holland back tomorrow 3
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights (143)
- Torii Hunter doesn’t care what Floyd Mayweather has done outside of the boxing ring (140)
- Buck Showalter had some wise words about what’s happening in Baltimore (123)
- Some anti-DH counterpoints (102)
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights (98)