Giving Up the Godzilla | The Process Report

Giving Up the Godzilla

With Matt Joyce and Sam Fuld on the way back, the bottom of the roster is about to turn over. It appears the Rays will have to choose to keep one of Hideki Matsui, Brooks Conrad, and Will Rhymes, while discarding the others. Which of the three is the favorite?

Matsui seems like the least likely of the three to stick. He plays the same position as Joyce and Fuld—only worse—and his value stems entirely from his bat. Were the Rays to move Matsui off the active roster, they have two choices: release him or disable him. Matsui has enough service time to reject an optional assignment; besides, asking him to head to Durham would seemingly go against the Rays initial comments about treating him with respect.

If the Rays take advantage of Matsui’s lower body injury and place him on the disabled list, they could buy 35 days (from the start of the inactive period to the end of the rehab assignment). The upside being that Matsui might work out his kinks with consistent at-bats and, at worst, serving as another piece of depth in case of injury. But because of Matsui’s struggles and because Brandon Allen and Stephen Vogt are at Durham, the Rays may opt to release the veteran instead.

From there, the Rays would be choosing between Rhymes and Conrad. Both can be optioned to the minors, so there are no external factors to consider beyond best fit. Conrad seemingly has the leg up; for one, Fuld duplicates Rhymes’ offensive talents. For another, Conrad gives the Rays a pinch-hitting option with pop—something they otherwise lack. Add in that Conrad is a switch-hitter (albeit better right-handed) and it would be surprising if he’s not the last man standing.

There is a possibility that the Rays will acquire another bench player by then, of course, leaving Conrad on the outside looking as well.