The 2008 25-man roster prediction is based only on players currently within the organization and will be updated when trades are consummated and free agents are signed.

We are half-way through spring training, let’s update our 25-man roster projections with a couple of changes. We are now also going to include a most-days lineup projection.

Notes on the projection can be found after the roster…


  • Lineup: Spots 1-4 and 8-9 appear to be set. 5-7 are a bit up in the air. This is all dependent on who is named the third baseman. We should start getting a better idea in the next few days.
  • Bench: The Rays will need a 4th outfielder. Jon Weber and John Rodriguez are the only real candidates and whomever can handle center will get the edge. Ben Zobrist is a lock…if he is ready to go on opening day. If Evan Longoria is in the lineup, Willy Aybar is on the bench. If Aybar is in the lineup, Joel Guzman or Eric Hinske will be on the bench as a utility player. Elliot Johnson is playing lights out and can handle shotstop, so we see him on the bench of Zobrist is a no-go. The only backup catcher getting a serious look is Shawn Riggans, so we have to assume he is the guy.
  • Rotation: Edwin Jackson pooped on the mound last time out. Can he get back to throwing strikes? If yes, 4th spot is his. If not, look for a trade and either Jeff Niemann or JP Howell in the rotation. Andy Sonnanstine finally got a start and looked good in three innings. One more of those and he will be a lock.
  • Bullpen: Five spots spoken for. That leaves long reliever that will come from the rotation left-overs and one mop-up role. With no Juan Salas and the career-ending injury to Brian Anderson it now looks like the only challenge to Scott Dohmann is Grant Balfour. Dohmann can breathe easy.


  1. Robert Rittner says:

    More and more I think it is Howell who will be kept as a long reliever with Hammel departing. And although I cannot see exactly how, unless Longoria is sent down, I think the Rays would like to keep Hinske on the team. As you configure it, it doesn't seem that there is room given the need for someone who can fill-in in CF and someone to back up at SS, but I think they will look for some way to squeeze him in.

  2. Andrew says:

    I'd still like to see Talbot over Dohmann and Hammel. This has less to do with spring performance than it does the fact that Hammel has shown nothing in the majors indicitive of future success and Dohmann is the epitome of mediocre.

  3. The Professor says:

    I can absolutely see Howell as the long reliever. I've been leaning towards Hammel because he is out of options, but I really can't see the team making a decision based only on options if there is a clearly better candidate. I have actually been talking to a couple of people about the idea of DFAing Hammel and if we thought it was possible. It might just be.

    I agree with Hinske and considered exactly what you thought. my initial reaction is that he needs to be on the team, but where?

    I guess we probably wouldn't see Zobrist AND Weber. Weber has a better shot if Zobrist isn't ready. Maybe Hinske gets the edge as the 4th outfielder if Zobrist is available.

    and Talbot is not a terrible idea, but I get the impression that the team is still about half a season away from giving up on his status as a starting pitcher. and that last spot that we have Dohmann in (hopefully) isnt going to get regular pitching time. Talbot is a young pitcher that still needs regular PT

  4. Robert Rittner says:

    It occurs to me I may be over thinking this a bit. Why do the Rays have to carry a back up center fielder? Even assuming the worst, and Upton goes down during a game, they could fill in with whoever is on the roster that day (even if he is clearly not a center fielder) and then recall someone from the minors for the next game. So if Weber is considered adequate there, he is only a short flight away in Durham, as are Perez and Ruggiano.

    In other words, if they want to keep Hinske, they can do it, making him the 4th outfielder and reserve or platoon third baseman. Even with Longoria, take your regulars plus Riggans and add 3 players: a reserve infielder (Zobrist?), Aybar, Hinske. Hinske doubles as the 4th outfielder with Floyd available in an emergency and Zobrist a possibility as well.

    In a game that Upton must be relieved, Crawford or Zobrist goes to CF. As the season progresses, many changes always occur and we may see the Rays promote or acquire a true outfielder who can play CF.

    All this assumes no deals before the season starts, which I think will happen.

  5. The Professor says:

    that was my first reaction also. but Maddon said himself he is looking for somebody on the bench that can handle center. I would think that even if Zobrist is out the first 2 weeks, Maddon could make do with even Crawford as his backup center fielder. I am sure CC would hate it, but he could do it if necessary. Heck Gomes could do it for a couple of innings in case of emergency.

    and I am really getting the sense also that there is a deal coming. I just dont think the team is happy with the way the bench/rotation/bullpen is settling in. i have to think there is one deal out there that might help several pieces fall in place.


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