25-Man Roster Projection and Lineup (notes and explanations on the projection can be found following the roster)…

Notes on the 25-man roster projection…

  • Lineup: With BJ Upton likely starting the season on the DL, Ben Zobrist is now probably the opening day center fielder. The rest of the lineup is likely set as Gabe Gross probably doesn’t need to be labeled blue any longer. As for the batting order, 2-5 are set. The next three will be some combination of Gross, Zobrist and Dioner Navarro. That leaves the leadoff spot. Upton will be there once he returns. So the logical step is probably to keep Aki Iwamura there until that happens. But what if Maddon wants to go ahead and move Aki to his new spot in the lineup? Jason Bartlett has lead off in 5 of the last 8 spring games. We have a feeling Bartlett will be in the box when that first pitch of the 2009 season is thrown.
  • Bench: Gabe Kapler is probably a lock. And if Ben Zobrist is really in center to start the season, Joe Maddon will need a backup shortstop on the bench. That could be Adam Kennedy. The Rays can open up two spots on the 40-man roster by moving Chad Bradford and Fernando Perez to the 60-day DL. BUT…Marc Topkin made a good point this morning in a piece we linked in the webtopia. Do the Rays want to put Adam Kennedy on the 40-man roster even though they only need him for a week? That makes us think that Reid Brignac makes more sense for the first week. And yesterday that is exactly who started at shortstop.
  • Rotation: As recently as a week ago it looked like the fifth spot was Jason Hammel’s. After Hammel’s last two appearances the door may still be open for somebody else, but who? Jeff Niemann imploded in his last appearance and David Price has been deemed “not ready” by the team. Also telling are Joe Maddon’s quote that The Hammer’s struggles are linked to some minor issues that are easily solved. So for now it is still Hammel. But he remains blue.
  • Bullpen: With Derek Rodriguez being returned to the White Sox, it is really down to 4 for the final 2 spots, with one of those spots likely going to Jeff Niemann or Jason Hammel (unless one is traded). So the final spot is up for grabs. It seems to us that the spot belongs to Jason Isringhausen, BUT, he may need a little more time to get ready. So he may be headed to extended spring training for the first few weeks or so. That leaves Joe Nelson and Lance Cormier. Cormier has received a lot more work and much of it (6 innings) has come in the first half of games against the tougher competition. And he has the better spring numbers. Does he have the edge? We have no idea. You can pretty much flip a coin on those two.
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10 Comments

  1. Justin says:

    Prof, if you had to choose: Cormier or Nelson?

    Also, how likely is a trade, Hammel or otherwise?

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    • right now I am giving Nelson a slight edge bc the Rays have more invested in him and have treated him like he was a sure thing this spring (late start). But Cormier has been better and Maddon LOVES a guy that can go back out for another inning after retiring the side. Maddon says that was a big key to the bullpen last year. So my choice would be Cormier.

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  2. Joe D. says:

    I wondering with it seeming like we have depth in the 'pen (of course that can change quick with 6 of the RP candidates being over 30) does that make both Niemann, and Hammel expandable (with Price and Davis belived to be on the way)?

    Also, with neither Niemann or Hammel taking the 5th starter's spot, maybe Price really does have a real shot at making the club out of spring.

    As far as a 40-man roster spot for Kennedy, don't we have a spot now with Derek Rodriguez being sent back to the ChiSox? We don't lose one for Morlan, because he was left off to be eligable for the Rule 5, right?

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    • Good point on the 40-man. But the Rays may need two eventually for Kennedy and Izzy. And I don't think the Rays would have a problem trading Niemann or Hammel if given the right offer. As for Price, he is really competing against himself so I don't think the Rays would move him up just because the other guys aren't doing well. I still think it is Niemann or Hammel unless Price can prove he is ready now.

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  3. Dirtbag Fan says:

    How did you manage a Wilson brothers reference during a 25 man roster update.... your genius is astounding.

    Speaking of which, what happened to "I see comments, they look glorious"?

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    • Justin says:

      My two cents: I much prefer the articles and updates the Prof is providing instead of having the ISCTLG sections--a little too self-reflexive for a whole update. Just my opinion.

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      • And because of that...that particular feature is not high priority and gets bumped due to time constraints occasionally. But a lot of the comments are insightful and/or entertaining and not everybody reads the comments so it is a way to point out a few to the masses.

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      • Dirtbag Fan says:

        Justin-
        From a marketing standpoint, people are more likely to frequent a site on which they comment, and they are more likely to comment insightfully (or humorously) on a site that rewards good posts.

        This sort of segment draws hits to the site, and encourages discussion.

        If you're not a fan then skim over it...

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        • Justin says:

          Maybe it could be condensed and incorporated below the hangover posts?

          I clearly read and enjoy the comments here (not to mention contributing my own), but I would rather read the content that the Prof is currently producing--it's really enjoyable.

          I'm not being negative--I just think that the stuff he is doing now is superior, and really interesting.

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    • they are somethiing that are simple for the weekends but sometimes unfortunately I don't have time to run that post. But it will be back from time to time

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