Rays Showing Lofton Interest

Per an ESPN Insider report from Jayson Stark the Rays are apparently very much interested in 40 year old outfielder Kenny Lofton. With Ben Zobrist going down the team doesn't have a player who can play center field, at least not in the regard that you would want them playing there.  

As I documented in LaMar-itis the Rays had interest in him prior the 2003 season. He would sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates instead  who would deal him along with Aramis Ramirez to the playoff charging Chicago Cubs for Jose Hernandez and Bobby Hill. If nothing else Lofton would be a cheap option capable of being spun at the deadline for potentially a lower level prospect. Heck the Rangers got Max Ramirez last year for him, and he's electric.

As for the roster spot he would take, assuming that Eric Hinske sends Joel Guzman back to Durham, I would Rocco Baldelli and Ben Zobrist could land on the disabled list (60-day for Rocco, 15-day for Zobrist) upon Zobrist's return the team could be ready to ship Willy Aybar off if Evan Longoria is deemed "ready", or if Cliff Floyd hasn't broken down by then.

Lofton's career is an odyssey of sorts, usual when a player switches teams a lot it means one of three things:
A) He's a clubhouse cancer.
B) He sucks
C) His personal life is the inspiration for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre
D) All of the above

However there's never been a noted instance that I'm aware of were people have been negative about Lofton's presence, and he's been an above average player throughout his career.

Personally I'd play Lofton in right with Gomes and Floyd rotating as planned at designated hitter, I know his arm isn't the best - or good - but do we really want to see Gomes out there everyday? Plus imagine our lineup (2007 OBP):

2B Iwamura (.359)
LF Crawford (.355)
1B Pena (.411)
CF Upton (.386)
DH Floyd (.373) / Gomes (.322)
3B Aybar / Hinske (.317)
RF Lofton (.367)
SS Bartlett (.339)
C Navarro (.286)

Certainly we could do a lot worse, and have, plus with the possibility of Lofton possessing trade value to a contender he has the ability to make up for half a year's worth of salary with reasonable production at a reasonable cost.

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