Sometimes I get pegged to be a “homer” Rays fan, basically get thrown into the “The Front Office can do no wrong” category of fandom. While I trust them with trades and the occasional “under the radar” signing, I always have a hard time fully agreeing with their roster management(or mismanagement, in my eyes) out of Spring Training. I have a hard time agreeing that a player that has “no options” is worth keeping on the team than a player that can be sent down who is out-performing them. It’s nonsense that “the bottom line” is more important to the team than putting the best players on the roster. The Lobaton Vs. Giminez and Wright Vs. Gomes decisions were 2 of the biggest “boneheaded” moves that the Rays made.
Did Jose Lobaton really deserve the back-up catching job over the hotter-hitting & more versatile Chris Giminez? While Lobaton is a switch-hitter & slightly better defender, his bat from either side isn’t very platoon-worthy and Giminez’s ability to play other positions in pinch even out really any advantage Lobaton has. Why did Lobaton win the job? He couldn’t be sent down without being DFA’d and Giminez could be easily optioned & kept without the catcher-thin organization losing it’s most precious commodities. What makes this move interesting is the fact that, slightly after Giminez’s acceptance of assignment, the Rays acquired another catcher in Curt Casali. Is this the organization’s notice to Lobaton that “Yeah, you won the backup role…but don’t think we won’t let you go if you slip up.” Another interesting twist to this story is the Colorado Rockies’ decision to DFA catcher Ramon Hernandez, whom the Rays have allegedly shown interest in. If, somehow, the Rays decide to acquire Hernandez via trade or waiver-claim…. this likely means that Lobaton will be odd-man-out and placed on waivers. Within the next 240 hours, the Rays will make it clear on how strong their affection towards Jose Lobaton really is.
The 2nd glaring “option-minded” move that the Rays made was adding perennial non-roster invitee Jamey Wright to the Opening Day roster over Brandon Gomes. Brandon Gomes, a personal favorite of mine, was dubbed “the best pitcher in camp” this spring by Maddon….however, he wasn’t good enough to win a job?? That’s quite interesting. Oh, that’s right, Gomes was able to be sent down and Wright was either going to be added or he’d be given $100,000 & an opt-out date by being sent to Durham. The Rays decided that they’d ride out the sinkerballer’s bouts with “gopheritis” and pay him generously(1 MIL base salary) doing so. With the team’s new infield being considered to be one of the MLB’s best defensively and sinkerballers known to induce grounders, they figured it’d be a worthwhile gamble to bet that they’ll find success with Wright as they hope to do with teammate & fellow sinkerballer Roberto “Fausto” Hernandez. Do they know if it was the right gamble for sure? No, but instead of possibly losing Wright to an opt-out date…they were able to keep both pitchers for use during the season.
While I personally believe that they made the wrong decision on both moves, I can’t do anything about it but what I’m doing now(writing about it) and hope that I’m wrong. Now, the impending Fausto Vs. Niemann decision…let’s not get me started on this one.