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The Wil Myers Decision

What do we want? Wil Myers! When do we want him? At least soon, right?


The Wil Myers Decision is twofold: when do the Rays promote the slugger, and who will they lose to get him here?

Without a significant injury to a field position player on the 25-man roster, Tampa Bay will be forced to demote, trade, or release a player on the offense.

Assuming the Rays would not part with what I would dub a "significant" piece of the offense, these are their options:

1. Option Sean Rodriguez

The Rays utility infielder/outfielder has the ability to play every position but pitcher or catcher, should the need arise, but he has yet to find a place in the starting line up. Rodriguez's versatility is an incredible asset. This season alone, "S-Rod" has played eight games at first base (seven started), three at short stop (two started), thirteen in left field (nine started), and four in right (two started).

Granted, Wil Myers is an outfield, and the Rays have plenty of position players that could temporarily fill the void in late game situations, but Sean is more than defense.

Rodriguez excels against left handed pitching, with a career .361 OBP against southpaws, with an 11% walk rate and 116 wRC+. All around, he is an ideal platoon player, and fits well into the mold of Maddon's line up.

2. Option Ryan Roberts

Roberts was acquired by the Rays last season for minor league second baseman Tyler Bortnick, bought in a moment of desperation as a litany of infielders found their way to the disabled list in 2012. He's a sure defender at second and third base, but limited beyond that.

Joe Maddon has found a way to use Roberts in 45 games this season, or about 75% of the time, occasionally using Roberts at third base to rest Evan Longoria's legs at DH, but primarily at second (38 games). The Tatman has a flair for the dramatic and hot streaks, but is otherwise limited in effectiveness at the plate to southpaws.

The presence of Sean Rodriguez and Ryan Roberts on the same roster is somewhat redundant. Both players are the primary depth at third base, with similar offenses, and both players will be free agents in 2016. Roberts owns a career .342 OBP against lefties, with a 10.5% walk rate and 110 wRC+.

3. Place Sam Fuld on Waivers

Despite being under team control until 2017, Sam Fuld is out of options. If he can't stick on a major league roster, he'll have to be placed on waivers before he can find his way to Triple-A, and the Rays would surely lose him. Make no mistake, Sam Fuld is an asset.

His offense is nothing to write home about, but his defense and speed are everything. Ideal as a late game replacement, Fuld has the ability to track down fly balls and sacrifice his body to make stellar catches at every outfield position.

Somewhat the foil of Rodriguez, the 5'10" outfielder lacks infield flexibility and has a relatively neutral career split against pitching, although he is left handed -- likely the result of small sample sizes. He walks at a rate of 10%, strikes out at less than 15%, and makes contact like it's his job (normally from bunting). On the bases, he is your quintessential pinch runner: speed with agility.

If the Rays try to option Fuld, they will lose him to another team.

4. Plead with Luke Scott

The Wolverine and resident DH is in his second year with the Rays, and generally unreliable for defense. He has outfield experience and owns a first baseman's mitt, for what it's worth.

Scott was retained by the Rays after testing the market in free agency, returning for a one year deal at $2.75M with the promise of an improved offense since fully recovering from shoulder surgery. Luke Scott's offense for the Rays?

2012 344 0.229 0.285 0.439 14 23.3% 6.1% 0.210 0.259 97
2013 128 0.215 0.320 0.336 3 21.9% 12.5% 0.121 0.253 88

That's not exactly an improvement. At all.

In spite of a healed shoulder, Scott's overall contact rate has yet to change, and his contact percentage outside the zone has actually been trending worse. This could be a result of his process -- Scott is swinging 8% less often this season, and 10% less outside the zone -- but the results have not manifested, and that's kinda what matters.

Why I say plead with Luke Scott, and not "cut" or "trade," is based on service time. Luke Scott is an optionable player, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement dictates that he must consent to be optioned after five years in the majors; Scott has nine.

If Scott were released, I'd imagine he would find a home elsewhere, but losing a slugger the Rays have been developing and rehabbing for two seasons would be a loss on an investment (even if it has been a sunk cost). Maddon is also notoriously patient with struggling players.

Scott is not a lost cause, but that doesn't remove the disappointment and doubt. If Scott's offense cannot improve, he's dead weight on this roster. Time in Triple-A Durham would suit him and the organization best, even if it's the unlikely scenario.

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