Some how this is Gabe Kapler's fault.
After years of top 10 prospect status in the Rays system, Reid Brignac has finally cracked the Rays opening day roster. Brignac was chosen over Hank Blalock, who will explore other major league options. Good luck to him with that.
All along I thought Blalock would win the spot, but that it was not necessarily the right move. Brignac gives the Rays much more defensive flexibility, more speed, a left-handed bat, and is just a better player overall than Blalock is in my opinion.
As a Brignac fan, my wish would be to see him as an everyday player, but for now I'd take him as a platoon player facing right-handed pitching. Most projection systems have him with a less than stellar wOBA around .310 thanks to his relatively average offensive performances of the past few seasons. However, his defensive reputation is now noted.
The Rays opening day roster is set as far as position players:
Catchers: Dioner Navarro, Kelly Shoppach
Infielders: Carlos Pena, Willy Aybar, Sean Rodriguez, Jason Bartlett, Evan Longoria
Outfielders: Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Gabe Kapler, Ben Zobrist (at least opening day)
DH: Pat Burrell
The final spot on the 25-man roster comes down to the bullpen where: Joaquin Benoit, Mike Ekstrom, the new acquired Virgil Vasquez, or someone outside of the organization will take the final seat.
Congrats to the Cajun God of Baseball.