Joe Maddon had some strong words on Matt Joyce’s recent domination of triple-A…

“He’s pounding on the door pretty loudly right now,” Maddon said. “So we’re paying attention.”

So the Rays have taken notice of Joyce’s production (.343 in 18 games, 7-16 vs LHP), but is there room for Joyce at the big league level?

What is interesting is that the Rays had a plan before the season and all indications were that a spot on the 25-man roster was Joyce’s to lose. But then he got hurt. And then the Rays promoted Hank Blalock.

So the question is: Is Blalock any better than Joyce? Certainly Joyce can duplicate Blalock’s .250/.304/.346. And certainly Joyce has a better shot at being a part of the Rays future than Blalock.

So why keep Blalock?

The only reason would seem to be that if Joyce is promoted, Blalock would have to be let go. With Blalock, the Rays can hoard both players, and the Rays do like to horde players.

But if Joyce is a better option than Blalock, and the Rays are set on winning this year, then keeping Blalock just for the sake of keeping him, seems kinda silly.



  1. James says:

    Wouldn't it be better to bring Joyce up than to have 3 catchers on the roster? I mean lets stop holding back on this, Navi is a horrible batter...Id take a little loss on defense from our catcher position to have another outfielder and stop trying to play Blalock in the outfield.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      A problem with demoting Navarro is that it limits how much Maddon can use Jaso. In theory, he wouldn't even be available late in games when Shoppach starts. And I think Maddon is trying to maximize Jaso as much as possible.

      But yes, at some point, the Rays are probably going to have to go back to 2 catchers.

  2. Charles says:

    I'm a big Joyce fan, so I'm definitely not an objective opinion. I think you have to find out what you've got with Joyce, and the fact that he's hitting well (and walking - 15 walks in 18 games) and seems to have that really sweet doubles stroke back again makes it a chance worth taking. Blalock has been a nice fill-in, but he's definitely just that - a fill-in.

    More than likely he'd end up released, but one contending team with a need at third is the Twins. It's at least worth exploring to see if something can be gotten for him. The Rays are going to end up paying his entire salary minus the minimum prorated anyway, so why not see if the Twins have a minor leaguer they don't mind parting with?

  3. James says:

    Couldn't we get something for Navi?...I mean he has to have some Trade Value, he is still fairly young

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I think Navi has some trade value, but like Bartlett, i think they wait until after the season to do something. Having 3 experienced catchers is a good thing, especially with Shoppach playing on a surgically-repaired knee.

  4. Cork Gaines says:

    If Shoppach starts against a lefty and the other team brings in a tough righty late in a close game, I'd rather see Jaso pinch hit than Blalock or really anybody on the bench. And with Shoppach's knee not 100% there is no way Maddon can use Jaso unless there are 3 catchers. So I wouldn't say there is "no reason."

    That being said, I'm not a big fan of 3 catchers, but I like the alternative less.

  5. Don says:

    Maybe Maddons finally realizing he has some dead weight on his team...
    Kaplar (for sure), Navi (why?), Blalock (over the hill).....
    Why not try some of the young guys...Joyce, Jennings or Rigg...
    They COULD be surprise help.... the others can't surprise anybody!

  6. Joe D. says:

    I'm not ready to see the Rays give up on Blalock yet, I'd rather see Kapler retire and brought back a some sort of coach, I think he's a useful guy in that regard. I think we should quit looking at Jaso as much as a catcher as he is a DH, that can catch. If what's the case, who do you want Joyce an OF that might bre able to DH, Blalock, a DH that can play the IF corners and a little corner OF, or Jaso a DH, that can catch?

    I think Jaso (w/options) Is the guy to be sent down, he has a nice OBP, but really doesn't hit for much power (historically-minors), where as Blalock does (historically-majors), and Joyce has shown in the past the ability to hit like this, that this isn't a fluke, hot streak.

    • James says:

      Thats the problems with a lot of our fans...everyone wants everyone to hit homeruns...I would definitely rather have Jaso on the roster than Navi, and saying Blalock can play a little corner outfield is a overstatement. Blalock's defense isn't that great at corner infield let alone corner outfield.

      • Joe D. says:

        You're right saying Blalock can play corner OF its over stated, but when I'm talking power, I'm looking at ISOP (Isolated Power - SLG-AVG= ISOP), not just home runs, but all extra base hits.

  7. James says:

    Cork I have to totally disagree with your point of "Having 3 experienced catchers is a good thing" I think its a horrible thing. 3 Catchers that can only play catcher when were putting Blalock in the outfield is definitely a horrible thing....Blalock should be no where near the outfield. Our problems with the bats seem to come around the most when Navi is in the games and also that Pena is only swinging for the fence right now unless someone tells him other wise. I mean if it wasn't so obvious that the depth on our team is horrible at some positions right now. We only have 3 Outfielders on our team right now with Kapler hurt and since Sean is stuck at second, Please tell me what exactly is good about having 3 Catchers on the roster right now. I mean Zobrist, Upton, and CC are playing everyday.....

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I dont think 3 catchers is good by itself. Normally I dont like the idea. But i also dont like the idea of Jaso being unavailable once every three days. And your point about the outfield is a good one. I want Joyce up here now and if that means cutting Blalock, so be it. Replacing Blalock with Joyce solves most of the outfield issues.


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