One of the funnest battles to watch this Spring Training is the for the Rays' Utility Hitter. Going into Spring Training, it was originally supposed to be a 3-man battle....but an unfortunate injury has narrowed it to a 1-on-1 war.
In a steel cage match(??) this spring, Nick "Lil' Nicky" Green faces Ty "Gettin' Wiggy with it" Wiggington.
Nick Green ended up last season basically being our "jack-of-all-trades", who didn't really show much offensively...but really didn't do anything too badly either. He wasn't like Tubby, where you could almost count on him for a GIDP. He started the offseason as our Utility hitter by default, but after a couple of signings...it began to look like the spot wasn't going to be handed to him. Green's plus is that he's pretty much able to play any infield position(except for catcher or pitcher) and he's not that bad at it.
One of those signings was Ty Wiggington, whose claim to fame was that he was once thought of as "The Pirates' Third baseman of the Future". Like many prospects in the majors, slumps and horrible managers/GMs/ownership basically never gave him a chance to prove himself. He got a bit of a shot with the Mets, but when you're playing with the reincarnation of Mike Schmidt/Brooks Robinson...you've got no chance of getting many ABs. Wiggy's strength and achilles' heel are one of the same, he's very versatile(he's got 1B/2B/3B/OF/C.However, he lacks great defensive prowess in any of them. So, he's going to attempt to play some defense....but if you're going to watch him field, watch it with one eye open because it sure won't be pretty.
Before going down with a knuckle injury, Luis Rivas was originally slated for this competition. However, like his batting average in Minnesota, the baseball gods don't seem to be in Luis' favor. Maddon seen a glimmer of Chone Figgins in Rivas, however if Luis does have Figgins potential....we're going to have to wait for him to play in Durham to get to see that.
If I had to choose right now who our Utility Hitter was going to be, I'd put my money on Nick Green and that's just because he's able to play SS. However, if Upton shows that he's shaken those defensive cobwebs and we're able to trade Lugo for a suitable price.....it's Wiggy's job, no doubt.