Why Brignac and Vogt are most likely to be sent down
Some thoughts from Gate F61 at Toronto's airport:
With CF B.J. Upton coming off the DL and 1B/OF Brandon Allen claimed on waivers, the Rays have to clear two spots on the roster.
The most obvious moves are to send SS Reid Brignac and OF/C Stephen Vogt to the minors.
And here's why:
Brignac hasn't been playing much, with Sean Rodriguez the primary SS, and hasn't hit when given the chance (2-for-17), albeit sporadic. Brignac's primary role seems to be coming in late in games to play short with Rodriguez sliding over to second as a defensive replacement for Jeff Keppinger.
But the dynamic of the infield is going to change with the return of Upton, because Ben Zobrist will be back to playing second against righthanded starters, which are most of the games. And the Rays do have Elliot Johnson to take over at second when Keppinger does start against lefties, and to back up at shortstop when Rodriguez needs a day off.
And why keep Johnson over Brignac? Johnson is more valuable because he is more versatile - he is a switch-hitter, he can literally play anywhere on the field, and he is the better pinch-runner, which is important on this team. Also, Johnson is out of options, which means the Rays would have to risk losing him on waivers to send him down; Brignac has an option.
The Vogt decision is much simpler: He was a surprise late addition to the roster because the Rays wanted more offense, and he hasn't hit, again, albeit in difficult situations, with an 0-for-13 mark, and as a result hasn't played much lately. The Rays feel Allen has an impact bat.
Vogt was already prepared Thursday to be sent down and was confident he will better for it. Brignac may not take it as well, but most likely will be back later this season.