Earlier today we projected the 40-man roster and payroll. Now let’s take a look at the 25-man roster and lineup.
25-Man Roster Projection and Lineup (notes and explanations on the projection can be found following the roster)…
- Projection is based only on players currently in the organization. The projection will be updated when players are acquired via free agency or trades.
- Lineup: The only spots up for grabs are right field and DH. There are at least concerns about whether Matt Joyce is an everyday player. We would rather see Joyce in AAA for 3 months playing everyday over platooning at the major league level. It is hard to improve against lefties if he is not facing them. If he is in the minors, Gabe Gross will be in right field as a platoon with Willy Aybar, Ben Zobrist or Fernando Perez. DH seems destined to go to a free agent.
- Bench: Three spots seem secure with the last spot dependent on what happens in RF/DH. Sean Riggans seems safe, as he looked solid with the bat. But he needs to show marked improvement behind the plate. Base stealers were 24-25 against Diesel, and the one caught stealing was on a pitch out. Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist figure to see plenty of playing time at various positions and both could be part of the RF/DH rotation. The final spot is likely to belong to Gabe Gross once a DH is signed.
- Rotation: We finally have some clarity here with the trade of Edwin Jackson. Andy Sonnanstine is a lock. The only question now is whether David Price is deemed ready in spring training. If not, the last spot will go to Jason Hammel, Mitch Talbot or Jeff Niemann.
- Bullpen: Four of the spots are locks. A fifth, Troy Percival, is a lock if he isn’t on the DL. That leaves two openings. One will go to a long reliever. Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel are out of minor league options, and one figures to be the long reliever, although the other (or Mitch Talbot) could be in the rotation in April. If nobody else is added to the roster, the final spot might be Derek Rodriguez, a side-arming righty picked up in the Rule 5 Draft. Of course, that would leave the Rays without an official lefty specialist.