As the Tampa Bay Rays look over their minor leagues and their roster to decide what to do with free agency, why not have a wish list as a fan? OK, it would be great to pick up Jacoby Ellsbury. Even though he seems to be injured every year, he’s a fire-starter when he’s on the field. As for a closer, what about Joe Nathan or Grant Balfour? It would be great to see Brian McCann behind the dish calling pitches, as well as swatting home runs. But none of that is going to happen. Money, if nothing else, stands in the way.
So, in place of day-dream choices, how about this? Re-sign James Loney. He’s a great fit in Tampa Bay, and that goes for on- as well as off-field as well. As for a closer, maybe Jake McGee if they can’t re-sign Fernando Rodney, and there’s a good chance they won’t be able to. McGee surely has the arm, and last year, he seemed to find himself. Catching is a concern, with Jose Molina being a free agent, as well. While they haven’t gotten much offense out of the position traditionally, they will need to find someone to go along with Jose Lobaton. They might attempt to re-sign Molina, as well.
As a result of money issues, the Rays might not look so different next season. They have signed outfielder/DH David DeJesus to a two-year deal. And while they might not be able to re-sign Loney or Rodney, they surely won’t be able to afford anyone of a much higher stature. Of course, there’s always the chance that David Price will be traded, and that could bring players in return, along with saving money as well. But that’s a discussion for another day. Or is it?
- Some good news for rookie outfielder Wil Myers.
- As expected – at least by me – Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar will be back in Tampa Bay next season.