Given the Rays go into opening day April 2nd versus the Orioles with a standard 12 pitchers and 13 position players, first question: What would the roster be at this point, for position players?
My 13 starting with 5 in the outfield:
Jennings, Joyce, Fuld, Zobrist and Guyer. Brandon Guyer came from the Cubs in the Garza trade two years ago and has put up solid numbers at Durham. A real good all-around athlete who can hit, run, field and throw. Brandon can play any of the three outfield positions. The seeds of the Garza trade so far have reaped Sam Fuld and now Chris Archer beginning to pay dividends, with Hak-Ju Lee perhaps a year away. Looking like a nice trade for Andrew but this could make the trade look like grand larceny if Brandon Guyer makes the roster. Which means Brandon gets his chance, and Andrew ends up looking like a genius.
Only negative for Brandon was when he lent his Dodge Durango to Matt Bush. I'm sure he's had many "What was I thinking?" moments.
The infield: James Loney, Ryan Roberts, Yunel Escobar, Evan Longoria, and Elliot Johnson. SeanRod heads back to Durham to work on his hitting and his left hook. Ben Zobrist also an infielder but I already counted him in the outfield.
That leaves Molina, Lobaton and Gimenez on the catching staff. Perhaps one too many catchers but I have Gimenez penciled in as a right-handed DH along with Brandon Guyer. And the extra catcher means the ability to make more late innings moves.
DH by committee would be Joyce, Elliot Johnson, Guyer, Gimenez, and Longoria.
When Wil Myers comes along in May then we send down either Gimenez or Brandon Guyer depending on performance.
Most of what you put down might be on the money, but it is only mid December and there are moves, deals, trades yet to be made.....Fuld was not part of the Garza trade....That was a separate trade for Fernando Perez......Guyer is still a question mark after the shoulder surgery and is still not swinging the bat full speed or throwing full speed, so we have no idea if he'll be here or Durham.....I still feel that Scott will return, he is 100% now and has been hitting balls all over the trop and looks to be what we had hoped he would be.....I do not expect EJ to be on the roster at the end of ST, he will either be dealt or DFA'd.....Three catchers might be possible as Giminez gives Joe versatility because he can play C, 3B, 1B and OF and be a DH.......Also don't forget Fontenot they signed, he could be the UT in the IF, and Cole Figueroa from Durham along with Beckham could fight for an IF spot as well.......Where does Sean fit in? I think ST will tell the tale as far as Sean goes.....
But as I said, it's only mid December and there will be more things happening before ST begins!
The Rays sent Garza, Fernando Perez, and pitcher Zachary Rosscup for Chris Archer, Fuld, Chirinos, Guyer, and Hak-Ju Lee. That was the trade. You can look it up.
Perez was released by the Cubs. Rosscup is still in the minors. So as far as major leaguers the Rays could end up with 5 players in the majors for Garza. Rosscup for the Cubs we'll see.
Brandon Guyer might not be ready coming off injury, quite true. Guyer has been up for coffee twice and should get an opportunity based on the fact he's a good all around ball player and that GMs like to see their deals come to fruition. I have heard that Guyer will be in spring training. The torn labrum was his non-throwing shoulder. Still he has to swing the bat. We'll see.
I agree Scott could be back but I'm just looking at the current roster. If Scott comes back I doubt we'd carry three catchers. But the Rays aren't going to offer Scott a whole lot, maybe 2M or less possibly with incentives. The yearly rent-a-bat DH program has not worked for the Rays.
Beckham I expect to see later in 2013.
Some moves between now and spring although I am not expecting anything major.
Casey old man ... You have to have 8 GOOD position players to play them.
We have 3 and one half GOOD position players: Longoria, Zobrist and Loney. Escobar or Joyce could be considered a half depending on which one you pick.
Good means you can hit .280 plus, get on base at a .350 or better clip, not strike out more than once every 2 games, make the routine plays, run andthrow at least at an average skill level. And that they are proficient at ALL the phases of hitting the baseball and that means they can bunt and hit the ball where it is pitched.
We need either a MAJOR LEAGUE center fielder or second base guy dependingon which position Zobrist plays full time ... I would rather have him play CF, where he would be light years better than the dummy we had playing out there.
If Zobrist plays 2nd base ... get Peter Bourjos to play RF and Jacoby Ellsbury toplay CF ... Bourjos is expendable from the Angels point. Ellsbury ( from Boston)probably could be had for pitching and some low level prospects. It frees up money from the Sox point of view, he costs less than Upton and is a light yearsbetter player.
Joyce can play LF and DH ...
Finally, we need a MAJOR LEAGUE grade catcher ... Get this kid from Toronto: Travis D'Arnaud ... Put him behind the plate and after the ALL Star game whenhe will have gotten 80 plus MLB games experience, we will have the best catcherin the AL have the best catcher in baseball after Joe Mauer.
I like it! I like it! (EXCEPT ... Roberts instead of Rodriguez at second. Rodriguez is a better all-around second baseman ... and Roberts is not any better as a hitter than Rodriguez.)
And ... I'm totally behind going with Gimenez, Guyer and Johnson ... and DH by committee. (Plus ... I believe Gimenez, Guyer and Johnson will be VERY effective at DH!)
C'mon! You said the exact same things about Scott LAST winter after he was first signed. And ... on this kind of team ... it's ridiculous to expend a roster spot on a guy who CANNOT PLAY ANY POSITION effectively ... and who also holds the team record for consecutive number of at bats without a hit!
It's bad enough they already wasted one roster spot on Molina ... now we're going to go for 2 wasted out of the 12 or 13 available offensive spots? PLUS, maybe even also including your other madhatter favorite, Roberts ... thereby making it 3 out of 12 or 13 offensive roster spots wasted?
Start all three in a game at once ... and you're almost automatically giving up 9 outs ... a third or more of the total outs available ... before the game even begins!
For each good deal Friedman seems to generate ... it seems he also generates a stinker ... and Molina, Roberts and Scott will continue to be stinkers ... as was abundantly evident regarding all three last season.
Maddon is not going to change anything he's been doing. He's had four 90+ win seasons over the last five ... plus a World Series appearance and two additional playoff appearances ... plus two ALMOTY awards over a three-year period ... and he's NOT going to mess with his managerial philosophy and formula ... because it's worked ... and I'm sure no one in the organization can even contemplate him making any change in the way he does things!
Like you, I'm a traditionalist, too ... but most of the tradition I grew up with ... and I'm certain it applies to you, too ... is long-gone and is definitely not going to make a return. While Maddon's age might make it seem likely that he would be a traditionalist in all things, too, and while he probably is in many things NOT connected to his professional baseball career ... his success in MLB is definitely connected to his ability to "change with the times" and engage a managerial style that is clearly more "New Age" than "Traditionalist". And ... if you look at all the small market teams ... most of them are proceeding down the same road as Maddon ... while some of "the traditional ways" appear, for the most part, only in the fatcat, big market, "traditional" teams.
I'm chuckling at some of your specific comments ... but I definitely tend to agree with most of them!
BUT ... just as there are at least two or three commenters here who would oppose ANY former Yankee playing for the Rays because they hate the Yankees so ... well ... I'm just as opposed to ANY former Red Soxer playing for the Rays for the same reason ... so fuggeddaboud Ellsbury!
And, I don't know about Joyce in LF. But, I'd be willing to try ANY catcher besides Molina!
Your on the money nrg! Joe's provin that it is "his way or the highway'. Problem is he'll never see a WS win with his way of thinkin....he don't understand small ball (buntin and stealin) as we got clobbered in Philly one year resortin to the tactics of the 'Small Ball'!
Joe can win all the 90 game seasons he wants but still not end up in the playoffs
Well ... since 2008 ... my opinion has been that the Rays simply have not had enough offensive horses to effectively compete in an extended playoff series ... ESPECIALLY a world series. (In 2008, there's no doubt in my mind that the incredibly lousy early winter weather in Philadelphia played a B-I-G role in the Rays' loss.)
The elite offensive players, e.g., Pujols, Hamilton, etc., end-up with the fatcat big-market teams ... and the Rays are NEVER going to have guys like that UNLESS they come up through the Rays system as homegrown newbies ... like Longora ... or as young prospects coming in a trade ... like Myers.
Thus far, the Rays way is to win on the basis of run differential ... based on pitching and defense ... and ... that's not going to change unless some of their own draftees turn out to be serious offensive threats like Posey and Trout. Really ... it's the ONLY way for the small-market, lower-revenue teams to do it ... and just getting into the playoffs is probably a low-budget team's most realistic meaure of success.
To win playoff series ... no matter how good the team's pitching and defense ... that team also has to have a top-of-the-heap offense ... and a team with a .240 batting average and also among the bottom few teams in the league in runs scored ... is just not likely to win many playoff series against teams with considerably more offense.
I do not see any World Championship banners hanging from the Trop.
If Maddon could really manage, we'd have at least one. So I would notsay Clueless Joe is anything much more than average manager.
Heck, even Ozzie has won a WS Ring.
You are going to let a bit of Red Sox prejudice keep you from winning the WS?
Say it ain't so. LOL. I would bet that with this lineup and the Rays pitching, wecould make it to the World Series.
Ellsbury CFIchiro RFZobrist 2BLongoria 3BJoyce DHLoney 1BEscobar SSD'Arnaud CBourjos LF
Yoda, I say we oughta be able to do the job with those guys AND our pitchin. lol
Generally-speaking, the Rays aren't going to readily win any WS banners without having an offense consistent with those of the fatcat, monied teams who can routinely BUY their offenses from among the big gun free agents, e.g., the Angels buying Pujols and Hamilton.
And ... since the Rays are NEVER going to be able to have two or three $20+ million per year offensive mercenaries on their roster ... their success, as with most small market teams, will be measured primarily by regular season wins ... some divisional titles ... and, maybe, an occasional pennant. It's simply the reality of the small market, lower-budget teams.
If winning a WS is the only raison d'etre to a certain group of fans ... then those fans who believe that should only watch those four-to-seven games at the end of each season! To them ... the preceding season is, apparently, immaterial.
Unrelenting ... UNRELENTING ... anti-Red Sox prejudice! (And I've L-O-V-E-D every minute of it! Stinking beaners!)
The Rays aren't going to spend the money for Ellsbury and Ichiro ... and Bourjos doesn't really bring anything significant to the plate.
I don't know about D'Arnaud.
Offensively, Longoria-Escobar-Zobrist-Loney-Joyce ... with an assist from a hopefullly improved Jennings ... maybe a Gimenez ... and the June addition of Myers ... might be a L-O-T more offensive than many people might expect at this time. In fact ... I'll go with those eight ... and DH by committee.
The the RAYS are never going to be the Kansas City Royals or Seattle Mariners with better pitchingunless the have two big gun mercenaries on their team - provided those guys are not over the hill and already in the land of toast.
Bourjos would save more runs than and more extra bases with his arm and defense than the difference between him and a bit better hitter.
Ellsbury is $7 million ... Ichiro is $10 million for 2 years ... Even if he his hitting goes down 25%from here, he is a better hitter than anyone in the whole Rays organization ... Plus he wouldmake Zobrist and Longoria much more productive and better hitters. Not to mention his reallyknowing how to play the game the right way rubbing off on the younger guys.