Opening Day is less than two weeks away and the Tampa Bay Rays still have several major decisions to make regarding their roster on March 28th, when they’ll take on Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros.
The infield is still in a state of flux, as Matt Duffy has battled a hamstring issue all spring, potentially opening the door for Daniel Robertson, Yandy Diaz, or Joey Wendle to be the team’s starting third baseman.
Ji-Man Choi has impressed both offensively and defensively, as he hones his skills at first base and seems to have secured that position. Yandy Diaz hasn’t overly impressed offensively or defensively just yet, but it’s only spring training. Meanwhile, Brandon Lowe has continuously mashed, but seems to be without a position with most of the Rays starting jobs all but set. Marc Topkin reports that Kevin Cash may even move Joey Wendle to the hot corner against right-handed pitchers, in order to open up a spot for Brandon Lowe.
In the outfield, Tommy Pham has been plagued by a sore shoulder, but should be ready for Opening Day. Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows, and Avisail Garcia have all been solid as well. Then you have Guillermo Heredia, who has earned rave reviews defensively and has shown some pop this spring, on the outside looking in.
The front three of the starting rotation have been decided, with Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, and Tyler Glasnow all being locked in.
After that, it’s messy.
Jose Alvarado, Chaz Roe, Diego Castillo, and Ryne Stanek are the only certainties in the bullpen, while everyone else still has a slight chance of making it in.
There are several players who have stood out this spring, including Jalen Beeks, who has earned fantastic reviews. Beeks, along with Ryan Yarbrough and Yonny Chirinos are the main pitchers competing for the ‘bulk’ roles. Hunter Wood is also a possibility to be either an ‘opener’ or ‘bulk’ guy.
According to Neil Solondz, following the Rays reassignments this past week, they have 49 players remaining on their spring roster.
Pitchers (27): Jose Alvarado, Anthony Banda**, Jalen Beeks, Diego Castillo, Yonny Chirinos, Jose De Leon**, Oliver Drake*, Wilmer Font, Mike Franco*, Tyler Glasnow, Andrew Kittredge*, Adam Kolarek, Ryan Merritt*, Hoby Milner*, Charlie Morton, Emilio Pagan, Ricardo Pinto*, Colin Poche*, Austin Pruitt, Chaz Roe, Casey Sadler*, Luis Santos*, Blake Snell, Ryne Stanek, Cole Sulser*, Hunter Wood, Ryan Yarbrough.
Catchers (4): Anthony Bemboom*, Mac James*, Michael Perez, Mike Zunino.
Infielders (11): Willy Adames, Emilio Bonifacio*, Mike Brosseau*, Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz, Matt Duffy, Brandon Lowe, Nathaniel Lowe*, Daniel Robertson, Joey Wendle, Kean Wong*.
Outfielders (7): Jason Coats*, Avisail Garcia, Guillermo Heredia, Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows, Tommy Pham, Jake Smolinski*
* Non-roster invitee
** Heading to the 60-day DL