Here is the latest opening day roster projections as Spring Training gets underway (notes and thoughts on the projection can be found below).

01

LINEUP

We know Jose Molina and Ryan Hanigan will split the catching duties.

We know Evan Longoria, Yunel Escobar, Ben Zobrist, and James Loney will be the infield on most days.

We also know that Desmond Jennings, David DeJesus, Wil Myers, and Matt Joyce will share the outfield with the odd-man out often filling in at DH. Also, don’t be surprised if DeJesus eventually becomes the most-days center fielder with Jennings moving back to left field.

The one question mark is the DH against lefties. In reality, that will likely be a game-by-game decision. But at this point, let’s give the nod to Sean Rodriguez. Of course, I am not convinced that Hot Rod’s spot on the roster is secure. Both Jayson Nix and Jerry Sands have to be considered for the roster and if they make it, they will see plenty of time at DH.

BENCH

Brandon Guyer is a big question mark. He could also see time as a right-handed hitting DH and he is out of options so he must be on the opening day roster or be placed on waivers.

Jayson Nix, Jerry Sands, and Wilson Betemit all have good shots to make the opening day roster. If one or more of those players make it, Guyer and Sean Rodriguez are the first players out.

ROTATION

Some think there is still a chance that David Price is traded. I would put that possibility at about 10%. In other words, it’s not likely but not impossible to imagine either.

With Jeremy Hellickson on the disabled list to start the season, the final spot in the rotation looks like a three-way race between Jake Odorizzi, Nate Karns, and Erik Bedard.

The more I learn about Karns, the more it seems he needs more seasoning. If Bedard has anything left in the tank, I will give him a slight edge over Odorizzi, but we need to see something first. Remember, the Rays chose Roberto Hernandez over Chris Archer in the spring last year. Did they learn their lesson or do they know prefer a cheap veteran in the fifth spot?

BULLPEN

As fans, we will miss Fernando Rodney, but it appears the bullpen will not. If Juan Carlos Oviedo is healthy, the Rays have four legit closer-level relievers in the bullpen, along with Grant Balfour, Jake McGee, and Heath Bell.

Add in Joel Peralta as a classic seventh/eighth inning arm and the Rays top five relievers are likely as good as team’s top five.

Cesar Ramos is a lock for the sixth spot.

By my count, that leaves four relievers battling for the final roster spot in the bullpen, including Brandon Gomes, Josh Lueke (who is out of options), Mark Lowe, and possible Erik Bedard as a long reliever. I can see any of those four making it, but I will put them in this order (from more likely to less likely): Gomes, Bedard, Lowe, Lueke.

 
 

13 Comments

  1. Greg says:

    There should be no innings restrictions on the starting 5 you have listed this year, right? Even Odorizzi should be able to get near 200 innings, so we don’t need to use Bedard even for spot starts if Odorizzi does well. He’s probably just insurance. I think you’ve got the bench correct as well. Nix and Sands are insurance for a slumping SRod and Guyer. Forsythe and SRod should play all over the place as they employ their rotating DH. Strong team…should be a fun season.

  2. Drew says:

    Going by the 20% increase rule from last season…
    Last Season 2014
    Price: 194.0 Max: 233
    Cobb: 151.1 Max: 181
    Moore: 154.1 Max: 185
    Archer: 178.2 Max: 214
    Odorizzi: 154.0 Max: 185

  3. Ken says:

    The biggest concern I have is the RH DH slot. Hopefully Forsythe or Guyer claim it in Spring Training. Offensively SRod has yet to prove he’s more than an AAAA player.

    • Rob says:

      I share your concern, but hopefully Maddon is able to shuffle the lineup to put his rotating DH in a position to succeed. Nelson Cruz just signed with the O’s, but Morales is still available. Would the Rays give up a draft pick for Morales? To answer my own question, probably not, plus they likely don’t have any money left to pay him anyway.

      • Ken says:

        Doubtful from both a $$ and draft pick prospective. I’m rooting for Guyer and Forsythe to show up big this spring. SRod still has an option I believe, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him at Durham as an insurance policy. Betemit and Nix are long shots with no more real value than SRod. Guyer could spell DeJesus and Forsythe can spell Longo. Who gives Yunel a break is another interesting question. Can’t wait for the spring games to begin. Should be a most intriguing spring.

  4. Geoff Peterson says:

    I’m wondering if the Rays have considered resigning Niemann to a minor league deal with an invite to camp. He would make a nice long reliever once he’s fully healthy and is still only about 30. I’ve heard no news that indicates he’s signed with or even been shopped by another team.

    • Dave L says:

      I agree but he’s not fully healthy until July last I heard

      • Geoff Peterson says:

        So sign him to a deal anyway so no one else gets him. Pay him to rehab and then in send him on a rehab stint at AA or AAA until August or even September and bring him up for an extra arm at that time. A fresh arm in September will be sorely needed if the starters continue to go deep in games.

  5. casey says:

    What about Boxberger? He’s got a good arm out of the bullpen, don’t count him out in winning a roster spot.

  6. Dave L says:

    I wouldn’t expect Guyer or Rodriguez to be gone regardless.

    One thing to keep in mind is even if Forsythe, Nix and Sands play lights out, making a roster move assumes everyone stays healthy.

    The Rays always start the season with guys on the DL with injuries real or imagined. They can juggle 3 roster spots with 5 guys even ones with no options.

    Same with the SP. if Bedard plays almost as well as Odorizzi, expect him to get the 5 slot. Then if he pulls a Fausto and fails he can go to the DL and stay there in case all hell breaks loose. Or move to the pen.

    The Rays always seem to be able to keep the roster balls juggling long enough that when it comes time to let a guy walk or trade him it becomes painfully obvious who the odd man out is. Like an Eliot J or Briggy.

  7. TOM says:

    If the Rays use the lineup you propose they are in deep shi*. Fat ass Molina would be doing the bulk of the catching(loser). SRod as DH(loser)

Leave a Comment