We are officially just one month away from the start of spring training games, with the Tampa Bay Rays playing their first game on February 22nd.
With that in mind, the Rays roster seems pretty set, but they could always make another move if it’s in the best interest of the team.
Mike Zunino and Michael Perez
Behind the plate, the Rays are likely to roll with Zunino and Perez as their backstops, with Nick Ciuffo stashed in Durham as depth. There have been ongoing rumors all offseason about the Rays pursuit of JT Realmuto, but thus far, nothing has come to fruition.
Yandy Diaz, Joey Wendle, Willy Adames, Matt Duffy, and Daniel Robertson
The Rays infield is in flux.
These five should all make the roster on Opening Day, pending any trades. It’s anyone’s guess as to who will actually be starting. As of now, it appears that Diaz will be the first baseman, with Wendle and Adames starting up the middle. Duffy should be penciled in the as the third baseman. Daniel Robertson can play anywhere on the left side and some second base.
Tommy Pham, Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows, Avisail Garcia, and Guillermo Heredia
The Rays outfield is set. There is no guesswork involved.
Tommy Pham gets left field, Kiermaier goes to center, and Austin Meadows will receive a long look in right field. Avisail Garcia will be the fourth outfielder, but will see plenty of time as the team’s designated hitter as well and battle for playing time. Guillermo Heredia will be the backup where ever he is needed in the outfield.
Choi may have found a home with Tampa Bay.
After joining the team in June last year, Choi excelled and endeared himself to the team and its fans with his fun style and terrific production. He doesn’t offer much defensively, but if he is able to put up the same offensive numbers that he did down the stretch in 2018, he’ll have no problem as the Rays primary DH.
Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton
The big three for the Rays could be the best in the American League as you have the reigning Cy Young winner in Blake Snell. Tyler Glasnow, although he had some rocky outings, appears like he could be on the cusp of breaking out and becoming one of the game’s elite pitchers. Then, you have Charlie Morton, who has been the model of consistency over the past few year, anchoring a very strong Astros rotation.
Chaz Roe, Jose Alvarado, Diego Castillo, Ryne Stanek, Ryan Yarbrough, Adam Kolarek, Emilio Pagan, Wilmer Font, and Jake Faria
Uh...so this could look a whole lot different on Opening Day just depending on how spring training goes, as Roe, Alvarado, Castillo, Stanek, and Yarbrough may be the only locks for the bullpen.
Font’s health is question mark after he missed the majority of the season last year, but he could surprise as a functional starter again. Kolarek was solid and can get lefties out, providing the Rays enough comfort to trade LHP Kyle Bird. Pagan was acquired by the Rays in the three team deal involving the Rangers and is excellent against righties. Faria suffered through injury, but may get the opportunity alongside Font for a standard fifth man in the rotation role.
Current projected salary
Possible Opening Day lineup
- Kiermaier, CF (L)
- Pham, LF (R)
- Choi, DH (L)
- Diaz, 1B (R)
- Wendle, 2B (L)
- Zunino, C (R)
- Adames, SS (R)
- Meadows, RF (L)
- Duffy, 3B (R)