Tampa Bay Rays Top Position Needs For 2023

Austin Hart
Wild Card Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Catcher

The catcher's position is another area I believe the Rays need improvement in. Tampa Bay was rumored to be in play for both Sean Murphy and Willson Contreras at the trade deadline last year, but instead acquired Christian Bethancourt to pair alongside the young Francisco Mejia. Both players have shown flashes at times, but nothing quite consistent enough to be top producers for the team.

Mejia hit.242 with 31 RBI this season, while Bethancourt hit.252 with 34 RBI between Tampa Bay and Oakland. Both have been average at the plate and nothing to complain about defensively, but I think what gives Meja a slight edge here is his overall potential and knack for clutch hitting. He doesn't quite have the power stroke that the Rays would love to have at the position, but he's been able to come up big in situations by having good at-bats and finding holes in the defense. It also helps his cause that he is a switch hitter. It's likely the Rays will give Meja the chance, though, to prove he can keep a starting role if he's able to become a key contributor.

I see Christian Bethancourt as being a very serviceable second option to have for off days and against certain pitching matchups. He had the best year of his career offensively last season, but I don't quite think his offensive potential matches up with what Mejía may provide if his consistency picks up. A whole offseason and Spring Training with Rays pitchers should help Bethancourt feel even more comfortable defensively however in his second year with the squad.

Another position to keep an eye on as the season progresses, especially with Mike Zunino's departure. This would be an area the Rays would love to have as an offensive X-factor for the 2023 season, whether Mejia is able to break out or Bethancourt is able to make significant strides at the plate.

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