Inbox: Chirinos or Yarbrough for swing role?

Rays beat reporter Bill Chastain answers fans questions

March 14th, 2018

I have been a Rays fan since Day 1. Do you think any of the prospects make Opening Day? If so, then whom? Also how long do you think it'll be until we see a competitive team again?
-- Brandon Y., Duncannon, Pa.

I think or have a legitimate chance to be that guy. With the announcement that the Rays will be going to a bullpen day as a fifth starter, they are looking at guys who can pitch multiple innings, and can re-boot a day or two later to pitch again. Chirinos and Yarbrough both fit that mold.
With the Rays trimming payroll, I completely understand the moves of , Corey Dickerson and Jake Odorizzi. I'm confused as to why they haven't flipped for a couple of prospects and to reduce salary. I'm also confused as to why they haven't traded Ramos away for a couple of prospects, or a veteran bullpen guy. The Rays could go for J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins, make the above salary reduction moves, and be ready to contend in a year or two. Any explanation of any of the above would be appreciated.
-- Michael B., Odessa, Fla.

Video: [email protected]: Span hits a two-run blast in the 3rd inning
Yes, I thought they were going to flip Span as well, but right now it appears he'll start in left field. But that doesn't mean they won't trade him if they have the opportunity. His $11 million salary stands out on the Rays' ledger. I don't think anything has happened due to the stagnant market. As for Ramos, I think they're happy to have him behind the plate. Right now, the Rays are a better team with both players on their 25-man roster. All I can say is, wait and see.
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With it being Tampa Bay's 20th year anniversary, is there anything special in the works? Potentially like numbers being retired for some of the Rays' all-time greats, namely Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Aubrey Huff, etc?
-- Anthony H., Tampa

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
The Rays have plenty planned for their 20th anniversary celebration. The team has a 20th anniversary logo that will appear as a patch on the left sleeve of all Rays 2018 regular-season jerseys and caps. The home plate-shaped patch features the number 20, a sunburst, and a variation of the original Devil Rays logo -- all in the Rays' modern colors.
On four select home games, the Rays will wear a white alternate throwback Devil Rays jersey using the original Devil Rays design, worn from 1998 through 2000. For those four games, along with select home and road games, the Rays will wear a newly designed navy blue retro cap that blends the original and current designs.
Other parts of the season-long celebration will include tributes to the 1998 and 2008 teams, assorted bobbleheads, ticket specials, and other giveaways. Also, fans can expect players from the past and present to be on hand at different times this season.
Any non-roster invitees that we should be watching this Spring Training?
-- Jack M., Sarasota

, , and are all in contention for a bench spot. Of note, Snyder and Coats both hit right-handed (Johnson hits left-handed). Snyder can serve as a catcher, and Johnson can play second and third as well as the outfield, while Coats has been a corner outfielder up until this point.
Of all the doubts about the Rays' roster this upcoming season, I feel like the bullpen is the most questionable, especially if Alex Colome is traded. If this was the case, who would step up and make a key difference?
-- Samir F., Tampa

First, if Colome is traded, I believe they would go with a bullpen by committee approach in which a lot of different guys would be used depending on the best matchups. Likely, that mix would include Dan Jennings, , and .
Who is your favorite upcoming player that you think will make the most difference for the Rays in 2018 and/or 2019?
-- Zach M., Virginia Beach, Va.

I've really enjoyed watching play the past two springs. I think his power and plate discipline will show well at the Major League level. He will start the season at Triple-A Durham, but I think we'll see him early in the season. has also been a pleasure to watch. He, too, will begin the season at Durham, but I think he'll be up with the club in the early months of the season.