As we've anticipated for quite a while, and the Tampa Tribune is now confirming, the Rays have asked third baseman Akinori Iwamura to work on playing second base this winter. The team had the move in mind from the time they acquired Iwamura who's familiarity with the Nippon Pro League third base translates better to an American second base based on less reactionary more range play.
Perhaps the bigger question to me is will Iwamura be the starting third baseman come next spring? I know he's going to make the switch to second base, but the Rays could keep Evan Longoria down for three to four weeks entering 2008 and push Longoria's free agency eligibility back a year, very similar to what the Milwaukee Brewers did with third baseman Ryan Braun this season. The team could justify the move by simply saying they felt Longoria needed some extra seasoning in the minors. As far as second base the Rays could still slide Aki over and allow Brendan Harris to man third. I'd consider that scenario unlikely, but certainly plausible.
I also wanted to pass along that Kevin Gengler, who replaced the legendary Sam Kilay on MVN's Rays blog, has a new blog. It's called Future Considerations and it focuses on the Rays' minor league system. We wish Kevin the best of luck and like the idea of a blog devoted to the top minor league system in baseball.
Lastly Tim Dierkes over at MLBTR notes that Buster Olney, much like myself, is intrigued by the idea of Barry Lamar Bonds on the Rays in 2008; perhaps if not Bonds what about Bobby Abreu who has a team option, that would be quite a homecoming, even though this was never actually home for him.