It’s Tuesday so it is time to update the Tampa Bay Rays Power Rankings. These rankings are a combination of overall importance to the team and a general “who’s hot and who’s not”, mixed with how we currently feel about and perceive each member of the team. It is by far, the least scientific thing we do on this site…

 
 

16 Comments

  1. Blake says:

    I know very little about Aybar. Why would we want him instead of either Hinske or Gross?

  2. The Professor says:

    switch-hitter. above-average defense. decent OBP. but most importantly, supposedly he can play 3B, 2B, 1B, and both corner OF spots. Papa Joe loves guys like that.

    Hinske has some positional flexibility but he is below-average at all of them and there is very little to suggest that he will hit well all year long.

  3. Robert Rittner says:

    It is going to be very interesting to see what happens soon as Aybar is near ready to return I think. He played almost the entire game last night and had no problem running as far as I could tell.

    I can’t see the Rays merely releasing either Gross or Hinske to make room. With the stress on defense, Gross seems a perfect fit especially as the alternatives are poor fielders, plus he has great at bats and some pop.

    Hinske may have cooled off but still provides a solid lefty bat with power and some position flexibility while Gomes is the main source for right handed power on the bench or in a platoon.

    It is hard to believe the Rays would trust Aybar to back up at shortstop in place of Zobrist although I suppose that is possible.

    Doesn’t that make it seem that Friedman would be working on some sort of deal so as not to squander a talent getting nothing back?

  4. DirtbagFan says:

    I think moving Gross would be an egregious mistake… Hinske is obviously a solid player too, and I think that’s why he’s been getting more starts, so that they (The Rays) can generate interset in him… but my opinion is given humbly, as always.

  5. DirtbagFan says:

    oops, i mean interest, not interset

  6. The Professor says:

    i think a trade is really the only option. i cant see any of the three being DFA’d and no, I have not seen any indication that Aybar would be trusted to handle short.

    It could be as simple as Friedman trading whichever brings back the biggest bounty.

    outside of that, Hinske sems like the obvious candidate to go. Aybar can play third and second and suppoedly backup both corner OF spots. Gross is a better defensive OF option and he has shown signs of being a decent hitter.

    on the other hand, Hinske does have position flexibility, but is below-average at all of them. also there is little to suggest that he can maintain a decent bat all season long.

    I’d be willing to bet that Hinske is moved for a low-level prospect. much like the JOsh Butler that the Rays gave up for Gross.

  7. Blake says:

    Thanks Prof.

  8. John says:

    Do you realize that Aybar has minor league numbers of 265/342/403 for an 745 OPS. According to Pecota, in 2008 he’s projected to have a 253/324/378 this year and 268/344/419 next year. He’s not a good bat for a corner outfielder and doesn’t have a role on the infield besides as a backup. The best decision is to have Gomes/Hinske for a platoon RF and let Floyd start against lefties. I guess Aybar is a good back-up plan incase Iwamura is injured, but Zobrist could probably fill the role, he has a Pecota projection of 254\338\379 this year. I think Aybar gets DFA and his value way overblown based on a 7 games this year and his call-up during Sept in 2006 for the Dodgers. Hinske is just a placeholder of a right-field, but will better hitter than Aybar would this year. Also, I doubt Aybar has any trade-value, would you trade a real prospect for a another teams equivalent of Willy Aybar?

  9. The Professor says:

    everything you say is true, but also keep in mind that Hinske is on a 1-year deal. Aybar is still controllable and cheap for at least the next couple of years.

  10. The Professor says:

    as for trade value…i dont see any of the three commanding much on the open market. teams have been DFAing players like Hinske and Gross all season long (ie. Dan Johnson)

  11. John says:

    Who cares if Aybar is under control for a few more years. Like you said yourself, Hinske, Dan Johnson, etc can be had for free.

    Though, if Hinske is the everyday right-fielder against lefties with his .523 OPS, I wouldn’t mind Aybar starting in his place.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why not have Ruggiano up in a platoon with Gross in RF? Is his defense that poor? Surely no one wants to see Hinske starting in RF versus LHP.

    I don’t know about Floyd starting versus LHP. It looks like the last year he hit LHPs well while getting a significant # of PAs was 2003.

    It seems like between Gross, Floyd, Gomes, and Ruggiano, you’d have 2 good LH/RH platoons for RF and DH. Can you still construct a balanced bench with that setup in the days of the 12 pitcher roster?

  13. The Professor says:

    there in lies the problem. in the age of 12-man pitching staffs, that leaves 4 guys on the bench in the AL. Maddon loves flexibility and i can’t imagine he likes 2 of those guys basically restricted to RF and DH. and yes, Hinske can play other 3b and 1B, but i dont think that is really what Maddon has in mind.

    and the benefit to keeping Aybar under control for a few years is a couple of reasons: 1) he is relatively young. he *could* get better. with the other guys, what you see is what you get. 2)Hinske was a lucky find. you would rather not have to go out and try and catch lightning in a bottle for a third year in a row

  14. DirtbagFan says:

    Why is there no love for Gabe Gross??
    I’m not completely blind, I can see that his offense needs work, but productive at-bats and an above average throwing arm are more than enough to make him a main-stay in the roster… Hinske had a decent April, but his hitting has tailed off, and its becoming more and more obvious that his defense is nowhere near where it needs to be in order to get many starts… Gross seems like the easy choice to me.

    As far as Aybar is concerned… hmmmm… can’t we just DFA Maddon to open up a roster spot???

  15. Anonymous says:

    since all their IF play pretty much everyday and don’t get pulled in-game, why not just use zobrist as the sole backup IF? i’m sure iwamura could move to 3B in a pinch. then you could carry a bench with the 2 platoon guys, a backup C, and 1 IF.

    if maddon’s not willing to play hinske in the IF, then he can be DFA’d yesterday at no loss to the team.

  16. The Professor says:

    the problem with only one backup infielder is games like this past weekend in which Bartlett missed one game bc of his wife and another bc he was sick. If Zobrist starts both of those games. what happens if one of the infielders gets hurt in-game? you end up with Jonny Gomes of Shawn Riggans playing second base.

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