Friday, December 28, 2007

2008 Tampa Bay Rays?

Now that the hot stove has cooled down for the moment, I want to take a look at how the current Rays roster projects when it comes down to opening day. I'm sure the Rays aren't done making deals and I expect a veteran lefty reliever to be signed or traded for. I also expect a veteran catcher and infielder to be brought in to compete with current backups Shawn Riggans, Ben Zobrist & Joel Guzman. There has also been some talk that a Morgan Ensberg type player will come in to play 3rd base while Longoria gets some more ABs in AAA, but I'm going to assume thats all talk at the moment and Longoria will be here on opening day. Barring major injuries or deals, here is our best guess at the Rays 2008 Opening day roster


2B Akinori Iwamura
LF Carl Crawford
1B Carlos Pena
CF BJ Upton
DH Rocco Baldelli
3B Evan Longoria
RF Jonny Gomes(The Rays open up against the O's and assuming Bedard is still there Gomes will get the bulk of the starts against Lefties)
C Dioner Navarro
SS Jason Bartlett

SP Scott Kazmir


C Shawn Riggans
1B/3B/OF Joel Guzman
2B/SS/3B Ben Zobrist
OF Cliff Floyd

SP James Shields
SP Matt Garza
SP Andy Sonnanstine
SP Edwin Jackson*

CP Troy Percival
SU Al Reyes
SU Dan Wheeler
MR Juan Salas
MR Scott Dohmann
MR Gary Glover
LR Jason Hammel*

*Out of Options and can't be sent to minors without passing waivers

Big improvement over last year, especially in the rotation where Jae Seo and Casey Fossum roamed the Trop last year looking for a strike. Defensively, you have to like the improvment especially up the middle. Bartlett and Aki will man the DP positions over Ty Wigginton and Ben Zobrist. While the slick fielding BJ Upton takes over CF for Elijah Dukes who was better suited for a corner OF spot.


Robert Rittner said...

I think it is a very reasonable projection. I would prefer Balfour to Glover in the bullpen, but given Glover's decent work last year, he may have the inside track. In reality Glover was not particularly good, but stood out some by comparison to the disasters around him.

If Niemann has a great spring it may mean he makes the rotation which would open up various trade possibilities.

Tommy Vercetti said...

I struggled with the last bullpen spot coming down to Glover & Balfour. Neither is a lock to make the team, but when I broke it down Glover was our 2nd most consistent reliever over the course of the whole season. In 77.3 innings he has a 4.89 which isn't great but like you said considering the pen last year that's not too bad. I like Balfour's arm, but for me he gave up to many runs & walks. In his 22 innings he gave up 15 ER and 16 BB's. I think it will come down to who looks better in spring, but for now Glover has the inside track based on last year.

As for Niemann if he has a strong spring I definitely expect there to be some noise about him breaking camp with the team. There are a few clubs (Mets, Mariners) interested in Edwin Jackson & maybe J.P. Howell so be on the lookout for that as well.