Rays News

Five Non-Roster Contenders for Tampa Bay Rays’ Roster

By David Egbert
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Aug 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Juan Francisco follows through on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Francisco

Once a top prospect for the Cincinnati Reds, Francisco has evolved into a part-time left-handed slugger. Francisco’s power has never been in question, but the issues with the rest of his game have caused him to bounce around baseball. The Rays represent the sixth big league team with whom Francisco has spent time the last four years.

The good news about Francisco is that he has an excellent .476 career slugging percentage against right-handed pitching and can play both corner infield spots. The things working against him, though, are manifold. His defense at third base is terrible, he doesn’t hit lefties at all, he has not hit even .235 since 2011, and he has not managed even a .300 OBP since 2010.

With John Jaso already penciled in as a left-handed DH, Juan Francisco’s best chance to make the Rays is if the team trades David DeJesus and wants a power bat off the bench. However, Francisco’s chances of making the team may not be as high as we would think. With Evan Longoria and James Loney entrenched at the infield corners, the Rays would rather have an outfield backup like DeJesus, and they would also rather have a righty hitter as their 25th man.