If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and try to project what they will do based on what we have learned. Think of RI as “Tampa Bay Rays 101.” However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans.
Without further ado…
On the fourth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, FOUR GOLD GLOVE INFIELDERS…
It feels like forever since we have seen the gold glove caliber play that we have come to expect from the Rays. Part of that was due to injuries (e.g. Evan Longoria). But mostly it was due to both inconsistencies defensively and craptastic offensive production that led to benchings (e.g. Reid Brignac, Carlos Pena).
But in 2013, barring injuries, the Rays have a chance to be as good as ever with the leather. If Longoria is healthy, he is a gold glove third baseman. And both Yunel Escobar and James Loney (if he plays everyday) have gold glove potential.
The Wild Card is second base. Ben Zobrist is a solid, if unspectacular, shortstop. However, that is the sort of player that can win the gold glove at second base. But if he wants to spark consideration, he needs to be playing the position everyday.
When the season starts, Zobrist is likely going to be playing both right field (vs lefties) and second base (vs righties). That could change once Wil Myers is promoted. And it could also change based on what kind of bats the Rays add in the next month or two (do the DHs also play OF?).
So in a way, this is also a call for Myers sooner, rather than later. Because not only will he improve the Rays offensively. But he will also indirectly make the Rays a better defensive team.