With 6 days to go before opening day, the roster is starting to take shape, but there are still some questions to be answered. Let’s update the projected roster…

A few notes on the 25-man roster projection

  • LINEUP: It looks like Ben Zobrist will now get the bulk of the starts in RF against right-handed pitchers until Matt Joyce is healthy and ready for the big leagues. He will platoon with Gabe Kapler, who the Rays are obsesses with against lefties. Zobrist will play 2B when Kapler is in the lineup. The other half of the 2B platoon is likely to go to Sean Rodriguez even though Reid Brignac is better defensively. At catcher it sounds like each pitcher will be assigned one of the catchers to work with on a regular basis. That could change if either Dioner Navarro or Kelly Shoppach gets hot.
  • BENCH: Dioner Navarro, who appears healthy enough for opening day, and Gabe Kapler will be part-time starters. One bench spot will go to Willy Aybar if he is healthy enough to play everyday. That leaves one spot for Reid Brignac or Hank Blalock. This decision could depend on whether the Rays are confident enough in Sean Rodriguez’ glove to play 2B on a regular basis.
  • ROTATION: Wade Davis was given the 5th spot after it was determined that JP Howell would miss the first month or two. Andy Sonnanstine was deemed the better bullpen replacement.
  • BULLPEN: With Andy Sonnanstine now in the bullpen, there is one spot still up for grabs and 2 guys on the roster with a shot. Joaquin Benoit is still the favorite, but he is yet to show that he can work back-to-back days. Mike Ekstrom appears to be plan B, unless the Rays can use somebody like Elliot Johnson (out of options) to pry a cheap reliever off a another team’s hands.


  1. Deadeye says:

    Kapler is redundant. There are better options than him and he stinks out loud in CF. PtB is a waste. He will be below league average at best.

    • I like Kapler if he is just facing LHPs (.931OPS in '09). But last year, 27% of his plate appearances came versus RHPs. And against righties he sucks (.357 OPS). Do u know how hard it is to OBP .190? So if JoeMa wants him, fine. But DO NOT let him face righties.

      • td says:

        I completely agree, he should only face lefties. I would be curious to see hiow many high leverage situations he actually face righties in. Strictly off memory, I would guess a majority of those at bats came in blowouts or low leverage situations.

        • John says:

          I remember several starts he had against pitchers with the dreaded "reverse splits." Unfortunately, I don't think Gabe read those scouting reports.

  2. leningan says:

    Should we feel more confident about diddyrod's (that's the name I'm going with) defense at 2nd in right field? I'm thinking he's far less of a liability in right. That leaves our middle infield in tact most days which seems important. Willy should go to the dl so we can keep hank. doesn't look like kapler's going anywhere (unfortunately), and brignac can make the bench for middle infield backup (arbitration be damned!) Then the tough decisions come when we have to bring joyce and willy back. Can you say revolving dl?

  3. GatorNathan says:

    Why oh why must we be subjected to Gabe Kapler? He certainly is not one of the 25 best Rays and gives Maddon zero flexibility. Keep Blalock or Brignac on till Joyce is better.

  4. Dirtbag Fan says:

    Headline that would make my month: "Rays deal Kapler for solid bullpen arm".

  5. Don says:

    Maddon/Mgt. did the Kaplar thing to themselves...how could they sign him right after the 2009 season with the young players they have?
    Pay him his $1mil tell him to hit the road...Got to give Burrell a little chance for the $9mil. then sit him...eat the big ($) hit!
    No room on this team for old foggies over the hill.....thats you Blalock, also..with Willie sitting...another joke!
    Think (won't happen) if they got rid of these three what a team (top25) they would have!!!

  6. Jerry says:

    Rodzilla should be in the lineup at ALL TIMES! 2B, RF, or DH! Sit Burrell, Sit Blalock, Sit Kaplar, Sit Joyce....do whatever it takes to keep Sean in the lineup. This guy is a stud and has had the best spring training out of anyone on the team.


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