Absent from the Tampa Bay Rays’ to-do list this winter is finding a designated hitter, which might be a sign the team has come to grips with the reality that it usually whiffs in that search. Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said at last week’s general managers meetings that his team could employ a four-man rotation through the DH spot in 2014 with Matt Joyce and David DeJesus as the left-handed half of that quartet and Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings swinging from the right side. A move such as this will save the club some money, help maximize the versatility of the roster and give manager Joe Maddon a chance to get Jennings and Myers off Tropicana Field’s unforgiving AstroTurf during long homestands while still keeping their bats in the lineup. Keeping Myers’ legs fresh was one reason Maddon began using the 22-year-old rookie at DH for stretches beginning in mid-August. While the position is generally used to get another slugger in the lineup, Maddon often uses his DH to create better matchups against the opposing pitchers. The Rays used 15 players at DH last season, and they hit in all nine spots in the order. Those 15 combined to hit 20 home runs, though the power came from only seven players — Luke Scott (8), Delmon Young (3), Myers (3), Joyce (2), Shelley Duncan (2), Evan Longoria (1) and Kelly Johnson (1). Now, 20 home runs doesn’t sound like much, yet the Rays were tied for fifth with the Orioles for the most home runs out of the DH spot. The Red Sox, with 35, were the only team with more than 25 home runs. Scott’s eight homers aside, Myers was the most productive DH on the team, batting .277 with three home runs, 13 RBIs, a .358 on-base percentage and a. 511 slugging percentage in 53 plate appearances.
DH rotation likely part of '14 plan in Tampa
Tampa Tribune | Nov 17