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: The questions here are catcher, second base and right field. The catcher position only got more complicated by the addition of Kelly Shoppach. It seems unlikely that the Rays would enter the 2010 season with both Shoppach and Dioner Navarro. Look for Shoppach to start versus lefties and possibly part-time versus righties. With Gabe Kapler being re-signed, he will start versus lefties in right field, which likely pushes Ben Zobrist to to the infield to be the most-days second baseman. That opens the door for Matt Joyce to be the right fielder versus righties.
- BENCH: Willy Aybar and Gabe Kapler are locks. Sean Rodriguez will likely see time at both middle infield spots and the corner outfield positions. The big question is the second catcher. If Dioner Navarro is not brought back, the Rays could bring back Gregg Zaun or somebody similar to be part of a platoon. Or the Rays could go with either John Jaso or Jose Lobaton. Both represent cheaper options and have shown they can hit righties in the minors. But are either ready to start 40-50 games in the big leagues?
- ROTATION: The first four are set with James Shields, Matt Garza, David Price and Jeff Niemann. The final spot will almost certainly go to Wade Davis, unless the Rays pursue a veteran starting pitcher and want Big Dub to get a little more seasoning in triple-A.
- BULLPEN: JP Howell, Grant Balfour and Dan Wheeler are locks. We think Andy Sonnanstine is in. Lance Cormier may be also, but do the Rays need him and Sonny? Randy Choate will be the lefty-specialist. Jesse Chavez is just a guess right now as the Rays will likely add one or two relievers through free agency or trades.
- WHO’S OUT: In addition to Dioner Navarro, we don’t see a spot for Gabe Gross who is arbitration eligible.