We are a few weeks, two intra-squad games and fourteen official games (only one win) into Spring Training. Let’s take another look at our 2007 25-man roster projections. Over the course of the next month we will update these projections once or twice a week.
- After a little mini-scare to Jorge Cantu’s job security, we realize that seeing Ty Wigginton starting at second base twice in three days was much ado about nuthin’. We now have Cantu firmly back in the “job is secure” category.
- The only positions now up for grabs are first base and DH and both of those look to be all but locked up for Wiggy and Jonny Gomes respectively. In both cases others will get plenty of time at those positions during the season, so the title of “starter” is honorary at best.
- It is starting to sound more and more like Papa Joe Maddon is going to keep B. J. Upton on the roster as the “super-utility” player. Maddon insists publicly that Brendan Harris still has a shot at the roster, but we feel that could only happen if the team decides to forgo a 12-man pitching staff in favor of a less-flexible 11-man staff.
- Elijah Dukes is still the leading candidate for the fourth outfielder spot, which is more of an indictment against the rest of the Spring roster than it is a vote for the mischievous badger.
- In the carousel that is the fifth spot in the rotation, we now give Edwin Jackson a strong lead on J. P. Howell. Both have been impressive this spring with identical 1.29 ERAs in 7 innings, but Jackson is out of options and has allowed fewer hits (3 versus 6) and fewer walks (1 versus 4). The walks have been the most impressive stat for Jackson. We tempered our enthusiasm for Jackson’s winterball stats, because he still struggled with his control. So far this Spring, he has not had that problem and if he keeps it up, he will be in the Rays rotation on opening day. Now Howell’s best chance of making the team is to have Casey Fossum start the season on the DL.
- The bullpen is a jumbled mess. What we know: Al Reyes, Ruddy Lugo, Dan Miceli, and Shawn Camp will fill four of the seven spots. What we don’t know: A lot. It is now looking more and more likely that Seth McClung will not be the closer and if he is not the closer, we don’t see him on the roster. Reyes is now the front-runner for the closer position, but Maddon will be careful with his surgically repaired arm, so look for saves to be dolled out to other members of the ‘pen on some nights. The final three spots are up for grabs. Brian Stokes is now in the bullpen and Maddon says he is a candidate for the closer position. We’ll believe it when we see it. Chad Orvella has been outstanding this Spring with no runs allowed in five innings and no walks. With Jackson in the rotation, the role of long-reliever, spot starter will now go back to Tim Corcoran. He has been inconsistent this Spring but showed some success last season in the role and Maddon will lean on those numbers when making a decision.