As I have mentioned in many posts this offseason, the Rays biggest need for 2012 is first base. The Rays have many options for what to do, whether pursuing a guy like Carlos Pena via free agency, guys like Joey Votto or Gaby Sanchez via trade, or look to within. If the Rays come up empty on the free agency or trade fronts they could be forced to find an internal option. They have a couple choices, but one stands out in my mind.
The best option could very well be Ben Zobrist. He is definitely a good enough hitter, and has proved to play good defense at first. This move could be made if Sean Rodriguez is turned into the every day second baseman with Brignac at short. Zobrist could be a great first baseman, but the question will be what that leaves for the middle infield. If Brignac and Rodriguez have good spring trainings this move could be made. If not they may have to look elsewhere.
Russ Canzler could also prove to be an option. He spent time at both corner infield positions last season at Durham, and was a good hitter for the Bulls, winning the International League MVP. What we do not know is whether he could produce at the Major League level. He struggled in limited at bats this September, but the sample size was too small to determine whether he could be an option.
Leslie Anderson is another option from the minor leagues. He, like Canzler, is a little unknown at the Major League level. Anderson has never spent time at the big league level, so we don’t know if he could hold his own. He had a decent season for the Bulls last year, batting .277 with 13 homers. You would like to see his power up a little, but that could be decent for the Rays.
They could always try to take a flyer on somebody like they did with Casey Kotchman. That has worked out for the Rays in the past. Their internal options are pretty much big question marks if they have to turn their attention to what they have. It could come down to spring training on deciding who will be the Rays starting first baseman in 2012.