Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rays Outfield

Over at Ask Rotoman, HGNYC kvetches:
Damn... some of the sites are saying 6-8 weeks. That's gonna hurt.

Who benefits on the RAYS from his absence?
And then the news got worse for the Rays, as Evan Longoria hit the DL with a fractured wrist.

Willie Aybar is the obvious beneficiary in the infield, unless the Rays decide to shift Eric Hinske and his so-so glove back over the third base. Aybar is a low average hitter, but has enough power in A.L.-only leagues to have some value.

In the outfield, the picture is definitely muddier. Rocco Baldelli would seem like the obvious candidate to play, but the question with him is definitely going to be health. If he could play every day, he'd be a $20-25 player, but the Rays are going to be more cautious with Baldelli than that.

Eric Hinske won't play more than he has. He can't hit lefties, and he's been slumping the last two weeks. The upside if you own Hinske is that he shouldn't disappear entirely, but if you're competing in average, he could hurt you a lot.

I'd guess that, of the players currently on the Rays roster, Justin Ruggiano might benefit the most. He and Baldelli are the only right handed hitting corner outfielders, so it's possible that Ruggiano will play almost exclusively against lefties while getting some AB against righties if he gets hot.

He also might be the only guy in this entire configuration of players who is unowned in deep leagues. Baldelli should be on reserve lists in leagues that allow you to buy DLed players at auction and then reserve them, and Cliff Floyd and Gabe Gross should both be owned as well. If you lose someone like Crawford at this time of year, you're not going to replace him. You're simply going to take the best possible option in the free agent pool and hope for the best.

UPDATE 11:36 P.M.: Ken Rosenthal at Fox News is reporting that Raul Ibanez has been claimed on waivers by an unspecified team. He speculates that Ibanez would be a good fit for the Rays. He certainly would, but I'd argue it's equally likely that the Red Sox claimed Ibanez for the same reason they may have claimed Brian Giles: to block the Rays from upgrading.

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