Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hurtin' Howell, Hatin' Pat, and no Pinstripes for CC

Here are some thoughts as we get closer to Opening Day:

The JP Howell injury is looming large for the Rays. Joe Maddon had big plans for Howell this year. He was supposed to be the big-out gettin' set-up man for Rafael Soriano. He's also the main guy in the bullpen that can get A-rod out. Unfortunately, overuse or bad conditioning has caused the "dude" to get sidelined for the start of the season.  Now, the Rays have to hope Soriano lives up to billing and maybe Joaquin Benoit has a few innings left in him.  It's a big hole with no real way to fill it.

Just give me a chance, okay?
Why's everybody hatin' on Pat Burrell and the season hasn't even started, yet? The chorus to cut ties with the Rays Designated Hitter seems to be growing louder as we get closer to the season.  Like it or not, the guy's probably going to be on the roster to start the season. Furthermore, the Rays line-up could use a good start from PtB for that quick April. I think PtB is going to open a lot of eyes. I also think it's really not going to matter for a lot of Rays fans. Pat Burrell will always be the "year after" guy or the "free agent bust of 2009." Too bad, we spent a lot of time in 2008 imagining a right-handed power hitter to complement the line-up.

Last I checked, CC is NOT in pinstripes yet.  To hear some put it, the CC in pinstripes is so much a done deal that Crawford might as well mail it in this year. SI's Jon Heyman is the latest to speculate about the Yankees' hunger for the Rays starting left-fielder.  If I have one wish this season, it's that the front office figures out a way to screw the Yankees out of CC.

The Curious Case of Hank Blalock. As Spring Training progresses, Blalock looks more and more likely to make the roster. As early as last week, Maddon seemed dismissive of the idea of Blalock on the 25-man roster. But, a couple of injuries and a couple of nice days from Blalock has him closer to making the roster. I'd like to see him make the roster. I think, if he can stay healthy, he'd make a good replacement for Carlos Pena if the Rays have to move him.

Reid or Rodriguez. These two have both demonstrated what a true spring training roster battle is all about.  Now, both have the chance to make the team and make a big impact.  The question: Which one will make the bigger impact in 2010.

And if you'd like to do some more brain work on the Rays' roster, check out RaysIndex. The Professor breaks it down for you.

Doesn't spring training seem much longer when you're actually excited about the Rays chances? 

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