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: The only question here is still the biggest question for the opening day roster and all signs point to Evan Longoria in Durham.
  • Bench: This has become a jumbled mess because of injuries. Ben Zobrist is the key. If he is healthy, he is the main utility-guy. He is the backup shortstop and backup center fielder that Joe Maddon desires. If he is not ready that should open the door for Elliot Johnson or Jon Weber. Shawn Riggans and Eric Hinske both look like they are in, but a trade or free agent signing could shake that up a little. The final spot is a bigger question mark, but it is starting to look like Joel Guzman person that stands to gain the most by Longoria’s demotion. He has good position flexibility and is out of options.
  • Rotation: When the spring started, it was 5 pitchers for 2 spots. Now, after Scott Kazmir’s latest set-back, it looks more like 4 guys for 3 spots. Especially considering recent quotes by Maddon that suggest he prefers JP Howell in the ‘pen. Andy Sonnanstine and Edwin Jackson look like locks although who knows what Jackson will do in his next spring start. So the big question is whether Jeff Niemann’s strong spring gives him the nod over Jason Hammel.
  • Bullpen: Top 5 are locked in. We see three arms for the final two spots. JP Howell, Jason Hammel and Scott Dohmann. Interestingly, Howell may have the strongest grip on one of the spots.


  1. Anonymous says:

    i hope you are right about Niemann but i have feeling it is going to be hammel and that KILLS me. just the idea of seeing Hammel starting a game makes my stomach churn. the rays have almost zero chance to win those nights.

    HE HAS 23 CAREER STARTS and 3 WINS. Are you f'in kiddin' me? how is this guy even in the mix? and Jackson isnt much better. since coming to the D-Rays Jax has 5 wins in 32 starts.

    Howell? 2 wins in 18 starts for the Rays.

    Combined? those three bums have 10 WINS IN 73 CAREER STARTS WITH THE RAYS.

    what have any of them EVER done to prove they belong in a major league baseball team's rotation? NOTHING

  2. Anonymous says:

    just to finish up my point. they have 35 loses with the Rays. even if the Rays played .500 in the no decisions (which is being VERY generous) the Rays would have a record of 24-49 in games started by those three.

    Over the course of 162 games that would equal a record 53-109 and remember I was being generous with the no-decisions.

    How could Niemann be any worse than that?

  3. The Professor says:

    this is exactly why we have always tried to temper our excitement. In our eyes the Rays are going to be underdogs every time one of these guys takes the mound. That is 40% of the time (60% if Hammel is in)

  4. Sean G says:

    iasnt Aybar out of options. shouldnt his spot be secure?

  5. The Professor says:

    we have a sneaky suspicion that a several-player deal is ging to happen. if a trade does happen there is a good chance that Aybar or Guzman would be involved.

  6. Robert Rittner says:

    Professor, although my own skepticism about the Rays is exactly the same as yours, my lack of confidence in the last 2 (now 3 for a while) rotation spots, when did you begin accepting wins as the criteria for determining a pitcher's ability?

    Actually Howell has excellent high minor league stats and Hammel's are reasonably good as well. Both have had a problem translating that to the majors, and I am pessimistic that either can. But Howell is likely not in the running for a starting spot, and may serve well in the bullpen.

    As for Jackson, isn't it time we all stop overanalyzing his failures? We know why he keeps getting chances, what the arguments are against it and why it also makes sense to keep trying him out.

    The following is emphatically not intended as a comparison of pitchers. I mention it only to demonstrate that 32 starts may not accurately project what a pitcher will do.

    In his first 2 years, Greg Maddux had exactly 32 starts. His ERA in that period was near 5.6 which was between 76-77 ERA+. If you really care about the record, his was 8-18.

    Tom Glavine's first 2 years yielded 43 starts with an ERA somewhat better, near 5 though. His ERA+ was 79-80 and he was 9-21.

    By comparison, Jackson in his 2 years here is 5-15 and has an ERA near 5.6 & an ERA+ between 78-85. Doesn't seem like that big a difference to me.

    Actually, I really do not think the comparison has much use. Other factors in those early starts are probably more telling. But even there, Jackson's stats are not consistently worse. He has significantly better K rates, much worse BB rates (although, strangely, Maddux got worse his second year yielding over 4 BB/9) and comparable HR rates to Maddux. His ground ball % was better than Glavine's.

    All it demonstrates is that 32 starts can be misleading and we should avoid hasty judgments about who is a "bum". It is always safe to label someone a bum because so few actually succeed, so more times than not, the fan will appear prescient, but it's really just thoughtless blather.


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