Joe Maddon will have a roster with a lot of flexibility this season. In other words, it is his dream come true. And how those pieces fit together on a daily basis is in part dependent on how Maddon chooses to use Ben Zobrist.

There has been a lot of speculation that Zobrist would start to see more time at first base as he got older. And with Dan Johnson and Casey Kotchman as Maddon’s two best first base options entering Spring Training, there has been speculation that Maddon would use Zobrist regularly at first base this season.

And now we have confirmation…

“He’s definitely going to be out there. … But I do want him to be comfortable there, more than he was last year.”

This tells us that Zobrist will play first base this season — likely against lefties — and he will see a lot of time there during Spring Training. In his career, Zorilla has started just 11 games at first base with 9 of those coming in 2010.

This also tells us that that Johnson and Kotchman are not only battling for playing time at first base, but they are also battling for a roster spot. With both Zobrist and Johnny Damon able to play first base, it is unlikely that Maddon would want two left-handed hitting first basemen on the roster.

 
 

12 Comments

  1. Call me old school, but I like the idea of Zobrist playing 1st every day and making an everyday infield of Zobrist/SRod/Brignac/Longo. I think as dependant as this team is on the starting pitching… they need to put the best defense out there they can everyday.

  2. Joe says:

    Does this give A) Give Jennings a chance B) Make Joyce an everyday player sooner or C) Not affect them.

    Please don’t say C

    • Cork Gaines says:

      A) I dont think it helps Jennings now, but it may open up opportunities for him in the second-half.

      B) Joyce may actually determine how often we see Zobrist at first base. If Zobrist is playing first base against lefties, it will most likely happen when Maddon is OK with Joyce facing a lefty. So not very often to start. But if Joyce takes to hitting lefties, AND Zobrist takes to playing first, we could see more of both as the season progresses.

  3. Joe says:

    I like Zobrist at 1st. This gives the Rays the ability to keep Rodriguez and Joyce on the field everyday.

  4. td says:

    Unless Johnson craps the bed, I doubt Zobrist sees a ton of action at 1b. Who plays RF againt most lefties? Joyce will play against some lefties, but probably not against most.

    Personally, I loathe the ideal of Zobrist playing 1b. It takes away from his defensive value.

    • I still don’t understand that train of thought. I’d rather be overstaffed at 1st than understaffed at 1st. Going into Spring Training, 1B is the biggest question mark, position-wise. I

      ‘m not sold on Dan Johnson and if he doesn’t hit.. he becomes an absolute liability at the position. That would leave Kotchman as a defensive-only 1st baseman (unless he found his stroke). If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better to have Zobrist take over 1st and suffer a bit of loss of defensive value.

    • Deadeye says:

      Exactly, why waste his defense at first. He is more valuable at other positions than first.

  5. Will says:

    I think he will see some time there. I don’t see where Maddon said that he will see alot of tim ethere though.

    I think and believe that the best lineup is one that has Zobrist and Johnson playing every day. Zobrist should get everyday ABs between RF and 2b while Johnson should play almost the whole time at 1b.

  6. Joe says:

    Nevermind all this, Jaso has a beard and it looks awesome. Oh and Jake McGee admitted to be in competition for closer and says he likes being a reliever much more. Please win the job.

  7. Jason W says:

    I’m still hoping Dan Johnson gets some at bats against righties, I like waht I’ve seen from him so far with the walks and the power. Maybe a platoon of Johnson vs righties, Zobrist vs lefties at 1st and rodriguez vs lefties, Zobrist vs righties at 2nd. Thats just my opinion though.

    • Joe says:

      I see it 1 way til say June, then changed

      vs LHP

      1B Johnson
      2B Rodriguez
      RF Zobrist

      By June, I don’t think Joe will like what Dan is doing against southpaws and the winner is Joyce.

      vs LHP
      1B Zobrist
      2B Rodriguez
      RF Joyce

      vs RHP
      1B Johnson
      2B Zobrist
      RF Joyce

      I would like to try, at least against lefties, having either Jennings in LF or Joyce play everyday, Damon at 1B, Zobrist running around 2B, RF, LF, SS, 1B…..

      The best lineup disregarding the pitcher IMO

      1. Ben Zobrist 2B
      2. Johnny Damon LF
      3. Evan Longoria 3B
      4. Manny Ramirez DH
      5. Matt Joyce RF
      6. Dan Johnson 1B
      7. B.J Upton CF ( I actually had him at 6 but I had to break up all these lefties)
      8. John Jaso C
      9. Reid Brignac SS

      Hopefully Sean Rodriguez gets every single chance he can get, that glove is welcome whether he’s hitting or not. If Shoppach doesn’t rebound, he can help us by getting hurt again and letting Chirinos take his spot. The other 2 are defense and pinch runners, Fuld and E.Johnson

      I think we will see a lot of S-Rod at SS, 2B and probably RF to start the season, Jennings gets called up if Manny, Damon, Upton, Joyce, Fuld or Zobrist get hurt. Chirinos, I predict a lot more playing time for him than people think.

      And for my final prediction, we will break camp with McGee, Farnsworth and Peralata all having chances to save games but McGee will win this spot by mid April.

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