The Rays announced today that they will start the season with a four man rotation, confirming much speculation among the fanbase. Erasmo Ramirez moving to the bullpen allows the team to carry 11 pitchers and 14 position players, which alleviates at least one position battle concern this spring. The Rays will be able to carry one extra position player than usual for at least the first month of the regular season.
Here is a possible (probable) opening day roster by Adam Sanford:
This shows the extra bench position created by only needing 4 starting pitchers for the first month+ of the season. Here we see that extra spot solves the 1B position battle between Loney and Morrison by carrying them both.
The position battle this does not solve is the one between Rene Rivera, Hank Conger and Curt Casali at catcher. I think it's safe to assume there is no need to a carry a third catcher through a month with so many off days, so one will either be optioned to Durham or DFA'd. Other than that, it looks like the roster is set.
The extra player on the bench also allows the Rays to be more strategic with their bench players. For example, if Logan Morrison gets the start against a righty, then later in the game, the opposing team goes to a southpaw to get Morrison out. Kevin Cash could then in turn bring in Steve Pearce, Brandon Guyer, or Tim Beckham. Then, if the opposing manager were to quickly change his pitcher against to face the righty, Cash could bring in Loney and still have all of his bases covered.
One thing is certain, Kevin Cash will certainly have plenty of lineups to choose from and will definitely be able to pick and choose the most favorable match-ups for his players over the course of a game.
What's still to be decided is, who will be the starting catcher, first baseman, and left fielder?
We shall find out, later this week.