The Major League Baseball Draft is right around the corner on June 12, and I believe the Rays have their highest pick at No. 4 since they had the first pick of the 2008 Draft. Anyway, I'm wondering if you can give us some names who might be in consideration
The Major League Baseball Draft is right around the corner on June 12, and I believe the Rays have their highest pick at No. 4 since they had the first pick of the 2008 Draft. Anyway, I'm wondering if you can give us some names who might be in consideration by the Rays as their top pick.
-- Gene F., Tampa, Fla.
According to MLB.com's latest mock draft, the Rays will be taking Louisville first baseman/left-handed pitcher Brendan McKay. The Twins, Reds and Padres draft ahead of the Rays. Names that I'm hearing will go before McKay include Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright; Hunter Greene, a high school shortstop/right-handed pitcher from Sherman Oaks, Calif.; and MacKenzie Gore, a left-handed high school pitcher from North Carolina.
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I've changed my opinion about infielder Timothy Beckham. He's finally playing like a Major Leaguer. Beckham is still not Buster Posey, but I'm starting to like the way he plays. So my question to you is: When Matt Duffy returns from the disabled list, what will they do with Beckham, Michael Martinez and Daniel Robertson? Also, what happens at catcher when Wilson Ramos returns from the DL?
-- Bob D., St. Petersburg
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Good question, and it's a pleasant problem for the Rays to have. Beckham has done well thus far, but from everything I've gathered, Tampa Bay is committed to Duffy at shortstop. So once he returns, I would expect him to be the Rays' shortstop. Having said that, Duffy hasn't returned yet, and his stint on the DL has lasted longer than expected. If he returns any time soon, I would expect for Martinez or Rickie Weeks Jr., to be the odd man out, unless they decide they'd like Robertson to play every day. If that's the case, he'd be optioned to Triple-A Durham. On the other hand, the Rays really like what Robertson brings to the team, particularly in the field. As for Ramos' return. I would expect Jesus Sucre to be the roster casualty to make room for Ramos. I think it bodes well for the team that Tampa Bay will have tough decisions to make in both cases.
Since the Rays appear within striking distance of staying relevant, do you think they will be buyers or sellers at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline? If they are buyers, what do you think they'd try and get? If they're sellers, who do you think will go?
-- Tom M., Tampa, Fla.
If they are buyers, the Rays would likely be shopping for a piece or two for their bullpen. Of course that might become unnecessary if Blake Snell makes his return to the rotation, which would allow Tampa Bay to move Erasmo Ramirez back to the bullpen. If the Rays somehow get into a tailspin between now and the Trade Deadline -- that doesn't look like that's going to happen, despite their weekend in Seattle -- they'd probably become sellers. In that case, I could see Tampa Bay trading Colby Rasmus and Logan Morrison, and perhaps Alex Cobb. All are eligible to be free agents after the season.
I don't understand the Rays' fixation with Weeks. He's struck out in over half of his at-bats, and he hasn't fielded well at first. He sounds like a great guy in the clubhouse, but is that enough of a positive to trump the negatives? I'm not seeing it.
-- Ted W., St. Petersburg
First, Weeks appears to be a solid clubhouse guy, the likes of an Eric Hinske or Cliff Floyd back in the day, so I don't discount his value there. However, based on some of the tough roster decisions that the Rays will have to make in the near future, they will likely have to do some soul-searching as to whether keeping Weeks is the prudent move. In fairness to the veteran, first base is a new position for him.
I see that the Rays have a doubleheader scheduled for June 10. Why in the world would they schedule a doubleheader? I get when doubleheaders are scheduled to make up games, those are necessary, but why deliberately do this to the team? As it is, chances are they'll have to play a doubleheader or two later in the summer due to bad weather. Can't say I agree with the Rays on this one.
-- John B., Valrico, Fla.
Giving the fans something fun was the driving force behind this one. It's BOGO -- buy one, get one free, for Rays fans. Spend the day at the ballpark beginning at 2:10 p.m. ET for the first game, and the second one begins shortly after the first one ends. It should be a fun day for Tampa Bay fans. As for the players -- particularly the position players -- a day like this can be tough on their bodies. I'm sure manager Kevin Cash will try and keep that in mind when he makes out the lineup. No doubt, every player on the roster will see action during the doubleheader.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.