With Jamey Wright taking the last spot in the bullpen and Roberto Hernandez assumed to be the fifth starter, here is the Rays’ opening day roster and what the lineups could look like against righties and lefties…


A few notes on the roster…

  • The biggest question marks in the lineup to start the season will be LF and DH. Sam Fuld seems like a no-brainer against righties in LF with Luke Scott at DH (when healthy). But what about lefties? Sean Rodriguez, Kelly Johnson, and Ryan Roberts will likely share 2B, LF, and DH against lefties. Johnson will probably be at 2B most often due to his familiarity with Yunel Escobar. That would leave LF for Rodriguez and DH for Roberts.
  • Things will get interesting when Wil Myers is promoted since he will likely be headed to RF. That would push Ben Zobrist back to 2B full-time and Matt Joyce will go to left field. At that point, either Sean Rodriguez or Ryan Roberts will likely be out of a job.  And by “out of a job” we really mean, “on the DL with a sprained left roster spot.”
  • As we have pointed out before, Roberto Hernandez is the “fifth starter” but will not start the fifth game of the season. There has been some speculation that he would start third to break up Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore, both of whom struggle to get deep into games. But as of now, Hernandez is on pace to start the fourth game.


  1. Mike says:

    They haven’t announced a decision on the rotation yet, correct? If Nieman goes today, won’t he be on schedule to pitch game 5?

    Unless they have made an announcement, I don’t think it is fair to count out the possibility that Nieman will be the #5 starter and start the 5th game of the season. Your assumption may be correct, but you are staking out a corner on something that is far from certain at this point.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Then who is pitching game 4? They are not going to start Cobb on short rest (or really long rest) in his first start of the year. In fact, this is why Cobb is pitching in a minor league game today, so that he will remain on normal rest for game 5.

      And sure, they can change their minds. That is why the Rays never make anything official until they absolutely have to. But the Rays always have a plan. And right now, the plan is for Hernandez to be the 5th starter.

  2. LeRoy Coffie says:

    Niemann is pitching really well so far today, I would love him to get the 5th spot in the rotation. I am not too positive about Hernandez as a starter for the Rays

  3. Mr.Smith 1980 says:

    Any reason why the stance has softened on Loney not playing (most days) against lefties? Has the spring shown enough to prove that he can hit lefties well enough to warrant his playing first even in those games v. lefties? I remember a lot of speculation that he would be part of a 1st base platoon (ugh.).
    Honest question.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I just dont think they have any other options. I think they were hoping Duncan would be that guy, but he just wasn’t good enough. We’ll still see other guys there, such as Johnson and Rodriguez, but I think it ultimately came down to Loney’s glove. They probably feel he will save enough runs defensively to make up for the drop-off in offense.

  4. wes says:

    Cork i agree with you. Fausto is a workhorse. The Rays don’t pay 3 million dollars for a “potential” 5th starter. He was penciled in all along to eat up a lot of Shields’ innings. I think the velocity drop Niemann has shown has dropped his value and made them reconsider trading him. I think Niemann may be headed to the DL for a couple of weeks till we see how Cobb and Fausto start the year. Fausto is the kind of guy the Rays target. Good pitchers who may be great with better defense behind them and a more competitive team around him. He was the Indians’ ace after they traded Sabathia and Lee and a cy young contender. I see him ending up as our #3 or 4 starter which really speaks to the quality of our staff.

  5. Don says:

    “assumed” is a dangerous word, Nieman has PROVED he is the best option to take back HIS Job as a starter for the Rays…any other decision would be based on Friedman paying too much for a pitcher they didn’t need, now will He (Friedman) try to prove other wise with His Decision?………………….. Maddon has little to do with IT

  6. Ken says:

    Topkin reports Hernandez in, Niemann out.

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