The Rays still need a right-handed hitter that can serve as the designated hitter for about 60 games against left-handed starters and there is still the cloud of David Price. But with the recent signing of James Loney, the opening day roster is nearly set and amazingly, it looks an awful lot like the roster at the end of the 2013 season.

Here is the projected opening day roster based on players currently in the organization. Some notes on the projection can be found below…

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LINEUP

At this point, the lineup is pretty much set. There will be a platoon at catcher and there will be a 4-man rotation in the outfield and designated hitter. The rest of the lineup will be filled with most-days players (nobody is an everyday player in Maddon’s system).

The Rays still need a right-handed hitting designated hitter.

If Sean Rodriguez is traded, the Rays will need a back-up infielder to fill one of the bench spots, preferably a utility player. Tim Beckham would have been perfect, but he will now miss most of the season with a torn ACL. The Rays also need to figure out what they are going to do with Jose Lobaton as it seems unlikely that Joe Maddon would want to have one of his bench spots tied up with a third catcher.

Brandon Guyer, has the inside track on the final bench spot and could potentially do some DH work. But with four regular outfielders and Rodriguez available, Guyer seems like overkill. He is out of minor league options so he must be on the opening day roster or exposed to waivers.

FREE AGENTS LOST: Kelly Johnson, Luke Scott, Delmon Young

OTHER PLAYERS ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER TO CONSIDER: Jose Lobaton, Chris Giminez, Kevin Kiermaier, Hak-Ju Lee, Vince Belnome

ROTATION

The biggest remaining question mark is of course David Price. We have talked about how the Rays can keep Price if they don’t get a good enough offer and after the Winter Meetings I would put the chances of him being traded at 50/50.

Another question is Chris Archer. If Price is traded, Archer is a no-brainer. But if Price stays, there is a small chance Archer starts the season in the minors to limit the number of high-level innings on his arm this year.

BULLPEN

The bullpen is nearly set. Look for the Rays to add one more big league reliever with Jamey Wright being a strong possibility. After that, they will likely add 2-3 relievers on minor league deals and see if they hit the jackpot with one.

Juan Carlos Oviedo is in if he is healthy and is even a candidate for ninth inning work, although that seems like a longshot.

FREE AGENTS LOST: Jesse Crain, Roberto Hernandez, Fernando Rodney, Jamey Wright

OTHER PLAYERS ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER TO CONSIDER: Felipe Rivero, Jake Odorizzi, Enny Romero, Alex Colome, Josh Lueke, Jeff Beliveau, Mike Montgomery, Jesse Hahn, Kirby Yates, CJ Riefenhauser

 
 

18 Comments

  1. angrybuddha says:

    Does anyone have word on Hak-Ju’s rehab status? And if he’s good to go, how much time does he spend in the minors now that Beckham is gone for a year? I figure that we’ll see a lot of him with the big team this year, if healthy.

    Also, who’s the 5th starter if we trade Price? Is it Odo? Or is it the guy we get in that same trade?

  2. Dave L says:

    One interesting evolution over the past few years of our lineup is the quality of players we have slowly put together. Remember only 2 years ago we were in danger of a no-hitter facing a power lefty. No more.

    With the minimal financial outlays the Rays now have a better than league average hitter at 6 of the 7 position players besides the catcher based on 2013 perfornances of either WRC+ or oWAR.

    The Rays by design (or necessity) have deemed the catcher to be primarily a defensive position, and defensively one could argue we have a better than league average defender at every position when Dejesus and Hanigan are in the lineup. Thats debatable of course.Most here seem to think Molina is the worst defensive catcher in the league but he’s not. I think Myers isnt as shaky going forward and there are alot of peg-legged MLB players manning RF for other clubs.

    And they did it on a shoestring budget to boot. Friedman is a wizard at roster construction, probably his greatest strength.

  3. Nathan says:

    Cork,
    Can you let us know what the payroll is for the above group?
    Maybe Price stays…

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I should have that up tomorrow. But yes, they can absolutely keep Price if they want. But while I am certain the Rays wouldnt mind saving some money, I think trading Price right now is more about trying to maximize his value in a trade. The prospects package would be a lot bigger now than a year from now when Price would be viewed more as a rental.

      • Gus says:

        At this point, Price is a rental for anybody who he won’t sign with long-term. By rejecting Seattle, I think we now know that Price has 10-12 teams he’d sign with for 2016 and beyond. Those become the only trade partners. So you can probably cross off Toronto, Baltimore, KC, Cincy, Seattle, Colorado, San Diego, Miami and a few others. But if he agrees to extend, then there is still a market to trade this season on next off season. They are getting his peak years at managable prices. For now, he stays.

  4. richard b says:

    …..i think both guyer and rodriguez make the team, and one of them will man leftfield and the other DH vs lefties….sending dejesus to the bench….i would prefer to keep lobaton (he’s still fairly young) and hannigan and cut molina loose…(what’s he, about 56 yrs old?)

  5. Greg says:

    I think Molina and Hanigan are sort of backwards. If Molina is going mainly against righties, then he’s the “most days” catcher. I don’t think that will be the case. But, as you said, Maddon doesn’t do strict platoons and only a couple guys play every day.

    Having Archer in the minors doesn’t save innings so I would think he’d be going every 5th day with Maddon working in an occasional spot start to keep his innings limited to about 160.

    We need another infielder besides Sean Rod on the bench. Scratch Lobaton and leave that spot for either another reserve infielder or a bullpen spot.

  6. Sarah says:

    I’m puzzled by the “Archer to Durham” line. Price-Hellickson-Moore-Cobb…..so who would be # 5 if not Archer?

    Apart from the needs of their rotation, I would think that demoting Archer after he’d finished third in ROY voting would be a huge blow to him and make little sense unless he were rehabbing from an injury. If you want to spare him innings, spell him mid season and give Odorizzi or Colome a few starts.

    • Gus says:

      This is a Cork Special. It seems so illogical, it must be true. Often times April schedule has so many off days and weather that you can go with 4 starters. But I’d much rather have him throwing in the bigs than in the International League, so I never understood that whole theory anyway. Innings are innings.

    • Dave L says:

      I can see where Cork is coming from. No one expects Archer to make 30 starts, and Durham Starts arent nearly as taxing mentally and emotionally as MLB starts. Archer was clearly spent in late Sept.

      If Price goes I see a pitcher making 10 to 20 starts for us next year who isnt on the roster. Archer/Odorizzi/Colome will probably only cover 30 to 35 starts. Regardless of the Rays pronouncements to date we will have to bring in another SP if Price goes. The guys we get in return will be too young to cover the deficit in innings. Remember we need to cover Fausto’s 150 also.

      • Drew says:

        Chris Archer’s IP
        2011: 147
        2012: 157
        2013: 178

        Each of the last 3 seasons he has stayed within the “20% increase in workload” that the Rays like to follow. Using their own model he could be stretched to above 200 IP this season. I’m sure there are still parts of his repertoire that the Rays want him to work on, but at this point they should realize that he is too valuable to their season to be doing that in Durham.

  7. Dave L says:

    As far as RH DH goes I’m much more less inclined to go with a Delmon Young than when the season ended. It would be better to find a decent fielding outfielder who has good productivity against lefties rather than a guy with no glove like a Delmon. We have had horrible luck with DH’s who become dead roster weight their bat goes silent for stretches.

    As noted we are only needing a DH for 1/3 of the games to begin with

    We had pretty good luck with position players staying healthy last year but we can’t count on that every year. I want every batter on the team to have a good glove. We just need to find 1 more.

    • Ken says:

      Michael Young would be a great fit as our rhdh. He could also play 1st B and 3rd B giving James an occasional day off against tough lhsp. He could allow Evan to occasionally dh

  8. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    This may sound crazy, but what about Leslie Anderson deep on the bench? I know he only hit .173 v. lefties, but he did hit .330 v. righties, and he can play a decent defense as well. He also hit 14 HR’s in AAA last season. He’s got to get a legitimate chance eventually, doesn’t he?

  9. J 2.0 says:

    The Rays have been silent the past few days with no rumors coming in about them. A.K.A. watch out something is about to happen.

  10. csy1911 says:

    I’ll place Josh Lueke above Brandon Gomes.

    • Mark says:

      Agreed, purely because Gomes has an option left (I believe) and Lueke doesn’t. The Rays prefer Gomes, but they won’t expose Lueke to waivers unnecessarily.

      I expect a RH power bat for the DH role to be signed, therefore leaving Lobaton to be dealt towards the end of Spring Training providing neither Molina or Hanigan get injured.

  11. OriginalTom says:

    I would like to see them do a Lobaton for Keppinger deal with the Chisox eating some of Keppinger’s salary. It makes some sense as the Chisox just picked up Davidson from the D-Backs and they need a catcher.

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