Rays 2012 Projected Depth Chart

Inside is a look at how the Rays look on paper after the announced signing of free agent first baseman and former Ray Carlos Pena.

Now that Carlos Pena has rejoined his former team with a one-year $7.25 million contract (official next week after physical), it appears Andrew Friedman is done wheeling and dealing. As Rays Digest previously reported last week, Friedman had expressed his desire to add an offensive player at first base and Pena fits the bill. Everyone in the Tampa Bay area knows what Pena brings to the table – both good (home runs, run- producer, charisma) and bad (strikeouts, low batting average) – so I thought I'd put a projected 2012 Opening Day lineup and depth chart out there for fans to ponder.



2012 Rays Projected Depth Chart and Opening Day Lineup (Starters in Bold)

C

Jose Molina
Jose Lobaton
Robinson Chirinos

1B

Carlos Pena
Luke Scott (shoulder – probable for Spring Training)
Sean Rodriguez
Russ Canzler
Ben Zobrist

2B

Ben Zobrist
Sean Rodriguez
Elliott Johnson
Will Rhymes

3B

Evan Longoria
Sean Rodriguez

SS

Sean Rodriguez
Reid Brignac
Elliott Johnson
Tim Beckham

LF

Desmond Jennings
Luke Scott (shoulder – possible for Opening Day)
Sam Fuld
Brandon Guyer
Justin Ruggiano

CF

B.J. Upton
Brandon Guyer
Sam Fuld

RF

Matt Joyce
Luke Scott (shoulder – possible for Opening Day)
Ben Zobrist
Brandon Guyer
Sam Fuld
Justin Ruggiano

DH

Luke Scott (probable for Opening Day)
Carlos Pena
Matt Joyce
Ben Zobrist

Notes of emphasis: Once healthy, Scott should compete for the starting spot in right field. Brignac will be given another chance to compete for the starting position at shortstop. Rhymes will compete for a spot at second base, probably off the bench. Beckham needs to impress in camp to make the team. Guyer's flexibility keeps him on the team as he can play all three spots in the outfield.



PITCHING ROTATION & BULLPEN

STARTERS

James Shields
David Price
Jeremy Hellickson
Matt Moore
Wade Davis
Jeff Niemann
Alex Cobb (ribs – probably for Spring Training)
Alex Torres

Notes of emphasis: Niemann declined the arbitration offer and it is still be determined his status. From discussions with Friedman, I believe the Rays will attempt to trade either Davis or Niemann. If Friedman can not execute a trade, it is highly likely either Davis or Niemann moves into a reliever's role, possibly as a setup man. Moore and Cobb proved their worth last season and will be used as starters this season.



CLOSER

Kyle Farnsworth
Fernando Rodney

RELIEVERS

Fernando Rodney
Joel Peralta
Jake McGee
J.P. Howell
Josh Lueke
Brandon Gomes
Burke Badenhop
Alex Cobb
(Niemann or Davis)
Alex Torres


Based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Chris Girandola has been a sports journalist for over eight years and is currently the Rays Senior Writer for RaysDigest.com. His other writing credits include the Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times, Naples News, Florida Football Magazine, KentuckyBasketball Magazine, and Tampa Bay Business Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at @cgrand

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