We need to take our mind off the clusterf*** that is the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays*. It has been a while since we updated our 2009 roster projections so let’s take a look. Next up is the 25-man roster projection, we posted the 40-man roster projection earlier today.
25-Man Roster Projection (notes and explanations on the projection can be found following the roster)…
- Lineup: The only position that is up for grabs is right field. We feel Eric Hinske (free agent) will not be resigned and Gabe Gross and Jonny Gomes will not be offered arbitration. That leaves Justin Ruggiano and he doesn’t excite us. So our feeling is that this position will be filled through free agency. Bring back Hinske? Does Brad Wilkerson excite you? Corey Patterson? Maybe Ruggiano is the best option…The only wild card is Cliff Floyd, who has hinted that he may retire.
- Bench: We feel none of these spots are secured but we also feel that all four of these players have a big lead over anybody else unless somebody is brought in from outside the organization. We are projecting that Rocco Baldelli will be resigned to an incentive-filled contract and will start against lefties. Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist offer the team solid bats off the bench and a lot of positional flexibility.
- Rotation: Here is where it starts to get messy. The top 3 are locks. The 4th spot belongs to David Price but it might not happen right out of the gate. We give Edwin Jackson the nod over Andy Sonnanstine for the 5th spot, but we would not be surprised if it goes the other way. It could also be Sonny and Jackson with Price in the minors for a couple of weeks.
- Bullpen: The top 6 seem like locks to us. Can anybody make an argument for something different? That leaves one spot in the ‘pen, a long reliever. Possibilities are Andy Sonnanstine, Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel. Hammel and Niemann will be out of options, while Sonny does have a minor league option remaining. At least one trade has to be made this off-season. There are just not enough chairs for when the music stops. Can you argue for Sonny and/or Hammel on the roster? Can you argue for Sonny in the minors over being traded at a time when his value is high? Should the Rays keep Sonny and trade Jackson and Niemann and keep Hammel in the ‘pen? There are several possibilities here.
*Written prior to winning the final 2 games in Red Sox series.