Rays News

Looking at Rays’ Roster Picture Following the Ben Zobrist Trade

By Robbie Knopf
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Sep 21, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstop

Nick Franklin

(2) runs home to score a run during the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field. Chicago White Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-5. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Second Base/Shortstop

I would try to discuss second base and shortstop separately, but there is literally no point. Now that the Ben Zobrist trade has happened, Nick Franklin and Asdrubal Cabrera are set to play the middle infield positions for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015, but is far from obvious who will man which spot.

Given that Cabrera’s defense at shortstop has dropped up significantly the last two years, Franklin seems likely to be the Rays’ shortstop. However, are the Rays committing to playing Franklin against pitchers of both sides? Franklin has struggled mightily against left-handed pitching, and if and when the Rays sit him against such pitchers, Cabrera could slide over to shortstop to replace him.

The Rays’ candidates to be the backups at short and second are Forsythe, Beckham, and any other players they bring in on cheap contracts. The trade appears to do wonders for Beckham’s case to make the team as the Rays may now have playing time available for a third middle infielder and especially a shortstop.