We have heard a lot about other teams scouting BJ Upton as a possible trade target. Now it turns out the Rays are doing a little scouting of their own

Scouts covering the International League report that the Rays have their own people bearing down on their most advanced outfield prospects, Desmond Jennings and Brandon Guyer, both of whom have played all three outfield positions for Triple-A Durham — “just to get a better read on who would be the replacement if they do trade B.J.,” said one of those scouts.

All along, most have assumed that Desmond Jennings was Upton’s heir-apparent in center field. But this suggests that Jennings is no lock to get the call should the Rays move Bossman.

Remember, when the Rays needed an outfielder for a couple of days earlier this season, they went with Brandon Guyer, and not Jennings.

Here is a head-to-head comparison of how each has performed in triple-A this season…

It is hard to argue, but Guyer has been the better hitter this season. And he even has just one fewer stolen bases, despite 50 fewer plate appearances.

Of course, where Jennings has the advantage is defensively. Guyer has played center field for the Bulls this season. But if Guyer gets the call, it would seem more likely that Justin Ruggiano or Sam Fuld would become the most-days center fielder.

And what happens to Jennings if Guyer does become Upton’s replacement? It might be time to start wondering if Jennings has a future with this franchise at all. And that is quite a long ways to fall in a very short period of time.

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16 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    I've wondered whether or not Jennings fits into the Rays for quite awhile. Most teams will say that this guy is our new "whatever" to replace a certain player. The Rays haven't done that at all. I understand the Rays wanting him to get consistent playing time instead of sitting on the bench, but Jennings could have easily been promoted over Ruggiano. It does raise a good question.

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  2. Chris D says:

    Jennings didn't play last night for Bulls. Also wasn't on the bench. Papers say he has a sore wrist. The prospect sites show that calling him up today puts him past the Super 2 deadline.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Well, the Super-2 date is tricky. I've seen several different dates. The problem is everybody is guessing because the date changes each year and depends a lot on other players. My own calcs say the safest bet is to wait until next week or even after the all-star break.

      Further complicating things is that we don't know what the Super-2 rules will look like in a couple of years. There is speculation MLB and the players will overhaul that part of the system.

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  3. RaysFan says:

    I don't think there is any question that Desmond Jennings will be called up soon. They haven't called him up thus far because of Super-2 reasons. Had they not thought he was fitting in their longterm plans then he would be up already (if that makes sense). They called up Ruggiano because they knew he would be sitting most of the time, whereas they want DJ to come up and play every day.

    They are probably taking a long look at Guyer to determine how soon they can trade BJ. If they feel that Guyer/DJ/Joyce is not a downgrade from Fuld(Rug)/BJ/Joyce then they can deal BJ right now if they can get a good haul.

    I hadn't read that Jennings had a sore wrist last night. If so, that wouldn't preclude him from sitting on the bench so that report seems like a cover up.

    My guess is that something is brewing. Most likely it is a DJ call up, but it could be something more like a BJ trade with Guyer AND DJ getting the call.

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    • KillaTapes says:

      I'm excited about the possibility of a Guyer/Jennings/Joyce OF. Fuld as the 4th OF and pinch runner. Has a lot of potential in my eyes!

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  4. Chris says:

    Guyer has been getting some time in center field recently (but only 14 starts on the year). I'd been thinking that it was as much a matter of Charlie Montoyo wanting to rotate guys around than anything else. Guyer is good, but I've never seen anyone here in Durham in recent years who can cover center field quite the way Jennings does. He's really, really good. His history does include a lot of injuries. Awfully fragile young man.

    When he didn't show up on the field last night, after a day off Wednesday, I was sure he was on his way to St. Petersburg. Still suspicious of the newspaper report.

    A more interesting speculation (for Bulls fans) is when Jennings does get called up, who gets thrown off the bus? Fuld?

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  5. Mark says:

    Does it make sense to trade Upton this season? They're still in the heat of an AL East race and have a very good chance to compete for a playoff run. Wouldn't it make more sense to keep Upton for now and trade him in the offseason? I mean, this was my thinking last season as well, but I still think Upton is better than Guyer and Jennings.

    A future Guyer-Jennings-Joyce outfield seems quite enticing though. As for Ruggiano, do you think his future is on the bench or will the Rays try get him playing time and then move him as well?

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    • John S. says:

      Well if we are going to with that argument... What numbers that BJ Upton has put up averaging the last 3 years.. do you not believe Guyer or Jennings could put up?
      Guyer I believe would post more damage number and higher BA than .220 or whatever it is that Upton has done...
      Jennings might as well be Upton right now... Similar defensive grades and similar numbers...
      As a matter of fact, I do not see any numbers that either one of them could not obtain easily... And they are not headaches

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  6. I wouldn't be holding my breath for a Bossman trade right now. There's no way they send him packing just save some $$$ next year while trying to compete this year. You can't convince me that it would be better going into a playoff run with either Guyer or DJ over Bossman if you serious about winning.

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  7. TBRaysFan says:

    I'm skeptical about the wrist injury talk too. Can anyone supply a link to the newspaper reference to the injury?

    When I inquiried on Twitter to the official Durham Bulls twitter feed about Jennings, here was the response I got (no mention of a wrist injury):

    DurhamBulls Is fine ... should be back in lineup tomorrow
    12 hours ago Delete

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  8. Des from Durham says:

    Cork and the blogosphere are overthinking this like Joe Maddon overthinks a double switch.

    I've been in the system longer, have produced at the AAA level for 2 years now. I am a prototype lead off man for a franchise craving one. I deserve the first chance.

    The short answer is to never play Zobrist in RF again and increase his value at 2B (S-Rod platoons at SS), this allows you to dump that AAAA guy Elliot Johnson and Ruggiano and call us BOTH up, and see who produces. Not that hard, really.

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    • Matt says:

      It seems easy Des, but you know Joe. Nothing is easy with him because he is too loyal. Just look at Sonny. Loyalty is the only reason why is up in the bigs.

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  9. Steve says:

    I love the guy but DJ should be replacing Fuld. He would definitely be an upgrade offensively and might be better in the field. But this is
    only if the Rays motivation is competing THIS year.

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  10. Derek says:

    I'm of the belief that Jennings is just messing around down there now. He is taking it easy, and they are taking easier with him. He has shown that his power is back, and there werent really any questions about the rest of his game.

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  11. Daredevil says:

    As the numbers show, Guyer has been the better hitter this year. While Jennings has better range in CF, Guyer has good speed, as his steals show. Just as important, Guyer has 12 assists in 70 games!! So he has a great arm too. I say he is more than ready to replace Upton in CF if BJ is traded. This would also free up some payroll money to be spent on someone like Reyes to help us this season. If Shoppach could be included in the BJ trade, even more money would be freed up, as Lobaton is ready.

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