The news that Wil Myers has finally been brought up to the Rays is certainly exciting. Myers is the best offensive prospect the Rays have brought up since Evan Longoria, and will almost certainly make their lineup better. With the way he had been hitting over his last few weeks in Durham, this callup was an inevitability.
But what of Ryan Roberts, who was demoted for Myers? Not even a year ago, he was the Rays trade deadline acquisition, brought in to shore up the Rays infield and to provide security should Longoria suffer any setbacks from his injury. Now, he finds himself on the way to Durham, a testament to the Rays improved depth and stronger lineup.
Roberts is likely to be the first person called up in the event of an injury to any position player that doesn’t happen to be one of the Jose’s – Lobaton or Molina. But he is still costing the Rays $2.95Million to be playing in AAA, for a team that has very limited financial resources. With the depth that the Rays have in their infield, and with Tim Beckham having learned second base, it may not make much sense to be carrying Roberts salary at Durham.
Even though the Rays did not need to remove Roberts from the 40 man roster to bring up Myers, it may still make sense for the Rays to trade him. Last year, they gave up Tyler Bortnick, a player who may well be a younger version of what Roberts presently is – a utility infielder with less power, but more speed. Chances are, that would be the type of return that Roberts could get the Rays, where they replace Bortnick with another version thereof.
Ryan Roberts still has something to offer to a major league team, and may still be a valuable asset for the Rays in the future. However, it may not make sense to have someone making that much money sitting in Durham for the potential that someone gets hurt. Roberts likely still has a future in the majors, but it may not be as a member of the Rays any longer.