Evan Longoria is out. Jeff Keppinger is out. And Sean Rodriguez would not be in the lineup otherwise. Thus far this season, Rodriguez has done nothing. He has posted just a .217/.268/.339 line with 8 doubles, 5 homers, 17 RBI, and 3 stolen bases. He has struck out 40 times compared to just 12 walks. His OPS+ is just 72, meaning that his on-base percentage plus slugging percentage is 28% below league average adjusted to ballpark. Defensively, he has made some incredible plays, but his body of work at shortstop, third base, and second base has not been up to par, especially when taking into account his offense. Elliot Johnson has clearly surpassed him as the Rays’ preference at shortstop, even though EJ has experienced his struggles on defense. As the injured players come back, has Sean Rodriguez run out of time as a starting player for the Rays?
Sean Rodriguez is just 27. But it’s not like he has a great body of work out there- in 380 career games and 1240 plate appearances, he has posted just a .227/.301/.368 line, a .663 OPS and an 84 OPS+. His defense has been notable for his versatility- he has played every position other than pitcher and catcher at least 8 times- but he has never been a consistent enough fielder anywhere to profile well given his bat. Rodriguez’s career is certainly not over- he’ll stick as a utility player- but the Rays simply have better options than him on the infield. Injuries happen. Maybe Johnson collapses offensively. But Rodriguez just isn’t good enough to be a starting infielder on this team anymore.