Andrew Friedman shed a little light on one of the Rays’ biggest question marks this off-season when he explained at the general managers meetings that the Rays may use four current players as regular designated hitters next season (via TBO.com)…
“Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said at last week’s general managers meetings that his team could employ a four-man rotation through the DH spot in 2014 with Matt Joyce and David DeJesus as the left-handed half of that quartet and Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings swinging from the right side.”
However, that is not quite the entire picture and based on those names, the Rays will actually need a fifth DH.
What Friedman is saying here is that the Rays have four outfielders that can play most-days and the DH spot will, in essence, become a fourth “outfield” position. With four outfielders, on most days, three will be in the outfield and the fourth will play DH.
However, things get more complicated with Matt Joyce in the mix since he doesn’t match up as well with left-handed pitchers. Ultimately, the Rays are going to need a fifth DH, as crazy as that sounds.
But who would be the fifth DH?
The simple answer is, everybody else, especially the other right-handed hitters.
Depending on the match-ups and how players are feeling, it could be Evan Longoria on some days. He did DH 14 times in 2013. Or maybe it will be Sean Rodriguez.
But the important point is that if the Rays don’t find a big bat to DH (and that is very unlikely), the DH in 2014 will essentially be the backup outfielder, unless there is a lefty on the mound. In that case, all bets are off.
Maybe they can just play Rock-Paper-Scissors before the game.