There are a bunch of small little news items from the last few days that are worth talking about first. Then I'll delve into some fun links:
- Elliot Johnson has been placed on the DL after his awkward slide the other day, meaning Felipe Lopez will be staying on the roster for a bit longer. Also, Reid Brignac is back on the team now after taking some time off due to the death of his grandfather. The word is that Brignac and Sean Rodriguez will be splitting time at shortstop for now, in what I'd imagine will be a lefty/righty platoon. To be honest, I wouldn't mind if the Rays kept this arrangement even after Elliot Johnson is back.
- The Jason Bartlett trade is apparently now completed, and the Rays are going to send some cash to the Padres instead of a players to be named later. I'm always in favor of keeping players in our minor league system even if they don't have the most upside, so I'm fine with this deal.
- As mentioned yesterday, the Rays claimed Jay Buente off waivers and have designated Rob Delaney for assignment. RJ Anderson has a bit of a scouting report on Buente up, so check that out if you want to know more about him. Basically, he looks like an intriguing bullpen arm: his strikeout and walk numbers have been excellent in Triple-A, and he uses a splitter so he keeps the ball on the ground. Good strikeouts and a high groundball rate? That sounds right up the Rays' alley. Maybe Buente won't work out at, but at the very least he's worth a shot.
- Yesterday Jonah Keri looked at all the top prospects still left in the minors, and surprise surprise, it's a very small list. Lots of teams are calling up their top prospects early this year, seemingly under the assumption that the Super Two rule is going to be scrapped during CBA negotiations this off season, but there are some teams still taking a cautious view. The Rays are one of them, much to my constant frustration. The Rays are normally the team looking for every loophole and possible chance to exploit the rules; why aren't they doing it here? With Sam Fuld's batting average down to .224, Desmond Jennings is looking more attractive every day.
Maybe we'll see a change after Super Sam Fuld cape day this weekend? I can't imagine the Rays would base roster moves on a marketing promotion, but it at least provides me with some hope. I think the far more likely scenario is that Jennings stays down until his Super Two date passes, sometime in late June, early July.
- Kelly Shoppach has been a big disappointment so far this season, and RJ takes a look at where his power has gone. Personally, I'm getting antsy for Robinson Chirinos to get the call. I still think it's a bit too early to cut and run - Shoppach can only improve going forward, right? - but I also feel like Chirinos should be up on the Rays sometime toward the middle of this year.
- BurGi at Rays Prospects continues to churn out great draft coverage. He's got an updated draft board, showing where all the different mock draft have players falling, and he recently talked a bit about how the draft order might work against the Rays. Eleven more days until the draft....