Bon voyage Manuel Aristides Ramírez Onelcida. Manny Ramirez has retired after 17 At Bats with the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. He leaves the game with a career line of .312-1544-555-1831-38. His season highs included 45 Home Runs (twice), 165 RBI and a .333 Batting Average (min. 500 AB). It's no wonder why Manny thought he was entitled to mid-game bathroom breaks, abusing the rules against performance enhancing drugs and owning a Spring Training party house. It was a fun ride while it lasted, farewell Manny. Use the comments to shed a tear of sadness over Manny while the rest of us shed a tear of joy. We're one step closer to the arrival of Desmond Jennings! More on the Rays OF/DH situation after the jump.
For the record, the Rays promoted Casey Kotchman, not Desmond Jennings. It probably wasn't going to be much longer before the team tried out someone at First Base anyway, Dan Johnson was hitting .093 (1 for 23) with five strikeouts and no counting stats coming into Friday's game.
Matt Joyce will see more playing time, especially with Longoria out for two more weeks. Joyce doesn't possess the tools to hit for a good AVG (25% K%, poor LD% and BABIP) and he cannot hit Left Handed Pitching (career .505 OPS), but he does hit a lot of Fly Balls and has pop in his bat. If Joyce logged 400 AB (in a platoon situation), he'd hit close to .250 with 20 HR.
Sam Fuld got the start tonight and hit leadoff (0-4, BB, Run). Fuld is a scrappy, 29-year old backup Outfielder. He does a good job of making contact, but the ball doesn't jump off his bat. The power is minimal and the track record for Line Drives is poor. The Batting Average will not please the eye, but the On Base Percentage will be useful. I guess he could be a poor homeless man's Denard Span. Think .255-4-20 over 500 At Bats, anything else would be a bonus.
Desmond Jennings is the popular add. He's lost some buzz since being ranked the third best prospect, behind Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg, for fantasy baseball in 2010. The potential, however, is still there. We're talking .285-6-30 potential in as few as 400 At Bats. Jennings is a disciplined hitter with developing power and blazing speed. He's the type of hitter the Rays could use atop the batting order. Joe Maddon will love him as his leadoff hitter. When that will be is anyone's guess. We waited all of last year and didn't get anything except a case of the stink eye. Some of us even came away with the dreaded perma-stink eye. The heir apparent to the Rays Outfield throne is owned in only 12% of Y! leagues. Go, grab, stash, repeat.