Previously I inquired about Josh Lowe’s demotion, which occurred in the middle of his hot streak at the plate. He seemed to be coming into his own, but I don’t watch the games, and some commenters correctly pointed out that he’s still learning the outfield and is not yet ready defensively.
This current post concerns next year, even though I haven’t yet given up on this year. I think we’ll make the playoffs this year and potentially win a series or a few, but part of the fun of rooting for the Rays is that their front office is always looking ahead to the future and simultaneously competing seriously in the present.
Anyway, I just want to remark on Lowe before getting into the other roster details that I—for whatever reason—have faith in him! I’m slotting him in here as the everyday right fielder beginning next year. Alternatively, I could see a Lowe/Margot platoon in RF, with Siri becoming the everyday CF. These are clearly the two main options. I’m unaware if Siri perhaps has significant splits at the plate? I see that he bats right-handed, just like Margot, and if defense is the priority it really might make sense to slide Margot over to RF vs LHP. Depending largely on Siri’s performance, this could be in effect a Siri/Lowe platoon, with Margot playing every day, sliding back and forth between center and right.
In any case, Arozarena will be the everyday LF.
What about the IF? Franco and B Lowe up the middle, of course. I don’t envision Lowe being traded, even despite the glut of viable MLB-ready second basemen. He’s this team’s second best player. We need him for this window of contention (Franco’s tenure).
So then the corners: I’m envisioning a rotation of Diaz, Aranda, and Paredes, with the latter two seeing some time also at 2B and everyone seeing time at DH.
Choi is traded. Ramirez is the regular DH and fifth OF. Walls is the utility IF of course, but he’s needed mostly for his SS capability in the event of a Franco injury or day off.
I’m unsure about the market for Choi. Perhaps the Rays would prefer to sell high on Diaz instead, and give Paredes and Arando more playing time. This would mean Choi and Ramirez platoon at DH, which I think is unlikely partly because Ramirez seems fine vs RHP as well as LHP.
But really I think if we’re going to improve by next year it must be at catcher. Mejia hopefully is the backup, albeit a very good one. I was hoping for a Sean Murphy trade at the deadline. Maybe that’s still possible this offseason?
Then there’s the question of what to do with Brujan. He can’t remain in AAA forever , so maybe a trade. There’s also Xavier Edwards and Curtis Mead, whose defensive homes are uncertain and who will likely begin the year as excellent AAA depth.
The pitching I’ll leave aside for now. I’ll just suggest McLannahan, Rasmussen, Baz, Glasnow, and Springs as potentially an outstanding starting rotation.