Line Drives: David Price, Scott Kazmir, Desmond Jennings and More

By David Egbert

Here are the things that come to my mind–”line drives” if you will–about the Tampa Bay Rays right now

Is David Price a Bargain? The Oakland A’s signed Scott Kazmir for $22 million over 2 years. That’s $11 million a year and Kazmir is at best a 4 or 5 pitcher in the rotation. Meanwhile, the Rays have David Price, a Cy Young winner, at $14 million a year for 2014. Good for the Rays and what was Billy Beene thinking?

Strikeouts at DH: It looks like the Rays are going to go with A DH platoon of Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez–their choice but not mine. One of the reason’s I don’t like it is the propensity of both to strike out. Last year in 608 at bats, the two of them struck out 146 times, not a good statistic. If either if them had shown any other batting skills this mix might be acceptable but unfortunately, they are average or worse in every other category. Any chance the Rays make another move?

Where to bat Jennings? Desmond Jennings is a superb athlete. Unfortunately, that has only translated into an average major league baseball player. One of the problems is that the Rays can’t to decide where Jennings should bat in the lineup. Jennings has some really tools, showing power and speed. But is he a leadoff-type hitter who gets on base or a 3 through 6 hitter whose game is built around power? The Rays can’t seem to find the answer and that is costing the team and the player a chance at stardom.

Josh Sale returns: The gathering of top minor league player at Tropicana field featured the return of Josh Sale. The former first round draft choice, who received a bonus of $1.6 million, returned after a years suspension for drug abuse and stupid action at a strip club. Sale is, of course, contrite and vowing to make it all right. The truth is that he has tossed away a good part of 3 years of minor league development and is behind anyone who stepped on the field at the same time. He now has 3 years of minor league ball to show the Rays that he belongs on the 40 man roster. Otherwise, he will be Rule 5 eligible and some other team can take a chance on him for $50,000. Not much of a return on investment.

What is the story with Jayson Nix? The way the Rays roster is setting up a few days ago, they needed a 25th guy who can play a lot of positions. They seemed to think Jayson Nix is that guy. Last year, Nix played for was the New York Yankees. He had a .236/.308/.311 line. This year they don’t have a second baseman. or a third baseman and their shortstop is 40 years old and played 17 games last year. The Yankees didn’t invite Nix back, not exactly a ringing endorsement. Now the Rays have acquired Logan Forsythe. Did the Rays view Nix as strictly depth all along?

As you can see, there are still lots of questions to be resolved over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.