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The Tampa Bay Rays New-Found First Base Depth

I wanted to quickly touch on this too, as a follow-up of sorts to Tommy's post. Ryan Shealy and Dan Johnson aren't the sexiest of names. They do provide some depth though that we've experienced before. Remember Ty Wigginton and Eric Hinske? Neither Johnson or Shealy possess the flexibility of the former or the experience of either, but in the playing time they have received, both have hit just about as well:

Player PA wOBA BB% SO% ISO
Shealy 591 0.334 7.9 27.5 0.158
Johnson 1289 0.333 13 16.4 0.172
Wigginton 3431 0.336 7.2 18.9 0.181
Hinske 3521 0.337 10.8 24.1 0.184


Nobody wants to see Johnson starting at first base during meaningful games. That would mean Pena is hurt or traded or whatever. Keep this in mind: the Seattle Mariners just traded Bill Hall, some minor league catcher, and Bill Hall's salary for Casey Kotchman. Kotchman's career wOBA is .324 in 1,871 plate appearances and they'll be paying him something like $3M this season.  Kotchman is probably the better player and safer bet, but the Rays added a player of similar production at half-a-million to start on their Triple-A team.

Signings like these that showcase the front office's best attribute: depth-building.  If one of the big issues from this off-seasons is whether we overpaid Dan Johnson by $100K then I think we're in a pretty damn good position. Most teams don't have the luxury of worrying about the marginal players to such degrees.