Robinson Chirinos was cut today by the Tampa Bay Rays and sent to AAA Durham. Yes, I realize that more hyped prospects like Desmond Jennings and Chris Archer were also sent down, but Chirinos is the player I’ll continue to watch closely. Not that I would wish anything on Kelly Shoppach, but I really like what I’ve seen the past few weeks from Chirinos, and teams are always looking for depth at catcher. Could the Rays be letting Shoppach get some time in as preparation for a trade before the All-Star break? Or are they just keeping Chirinos handy in Durham in case something happens to either Shoppach or John Jaso.
We’ll be watching this one closely.
Meanwhile, other cuts included Alex Cobb, who might have been a candidate for the bullpen but projects more as a starter and therefore needs to get some consistent time in; Dane de la Rosa, Brandon Gomes, author and blogger (oh yeah, and baseball player) Dirk Hayhurst, Leslie Anderson, Russ Canzler, J.J. Furmaniak, Daniel Mayora and Steven Vogt were also cut. No real surprises there, although Gomes is another who could get a tap on the shoulder at some point this season. There is no reason to think that whatever the bullpen looks like in April, that it will have the same constitution by mid-season.
I know a lot of people, including our own Kris Dunn who asked whether Jennings would make the team out of camp, are wondering why Jennings didn’t make it. Obviously there are several reasons.
First, as I mentioned yesterday, he needs some time out of the glare of the camera. Even if he made the club he’d be a reserve, and that isn’t where you want Carl Crawfords eventual replacement. You want him getting at bats and game time every day to prepare him for the call. You want to see him improve on his batting average and show he belongs. And there is no sense keeping him around as a reserve when you’ll simply lose service time by doing so. The Rays know it and so do the fans. Let Silverman and crew do the thing they do and make the decisions that are best for this team long term.