Luke Scott signed as a free agent this off season to be the primary designated hitter of the Tampa Bay Rays. Shelley Duncan signed a minor league deal to be primarily an insurance policy for Scott at the position in the event Scott went down again. Low and behold, Luke Scott started the year on the disabled list and Duncan was called upon to take his place. Overall Duncan’s numbers are not eye popping, .214/.327/.381 707 OPS. What is interesting and significant to me is how the splits look. Duncan has always been perceived as a RH’d bat who can mash LHP yet this year it isn’t happening. Of his 49 plate appearances thus far, thirty one have come against same side throwers and he’s done very well .286/.355/.536 for an 891 OPS. Now I know these are small sample sizes but with the season just eighteen games old aren’t they all?
So what do we do if you think I’ve made a case for why Duncan should stay? The other vulnerable parts are Sean Rodriguez (option), Ryan Roberts (trade), or Sam Fuld. My hunch is they’d love to trade Roberts because of the duplication factor what with Sean Rod, Ben Zobrist and Kelly Johnson all capable of playing middle infield. So we will see. Also if Duncan is the one out, the Rays would probably lose him since he doesn’t have an option.
I just think Joe Maddon likes the idea of someone on the bench who can impact the game in the late innings with one swing of the bat.
As always. Go Rays