Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Myers looks ready but has nowhere to play on Rays

Baseball runs on its own clock, and according to its "Super 2" calendar, this is the week top prospects seemingly can be safely called up without the risk of them qualifying for a fourth year of arbitration eligibility.

But that doesn't mean Wil Myers will be showing up at the Trop soon.

Yes, Myers has been doing better at Triple-A Durham, hitting .380 with eight homers and 27 RBIs in his past 16 games after an unimpressive start, .244/5/25 in his first 41.

Yes, manager Joe Maddon has noticed, saying, "When he shows to be ready, then you have to pay attention. And it looks like he's shown that he might be ready."

And, yes, by waiting this long, the Rays have limited any financial ramifications of a promotion. The first 12 days Myers spent in the minors pushed back his eligibility for free agency an extra season, until after his seventh. And they've potentially saved $10 million or so in salary by waiting through the Super 2 arbitration-eligibility window, though it is an industry estimate based on what the class of players will look like at the end of the 2015 season.

But there is this slight issue for the "Free Wil Myers" brigade:

There's no place for him to play.

When Myers, the 22-year-old multitalented outfielder acquired from the Royals in the offseason, comes up, the Rays want him in the lineup every day. As of now, there is no room for him.

The corner outfield spots have been well covered by the combination of Kelly Johnson, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist, and you can't really see any of them going to the bench, with either Sam Fuld, Sean Rodriguez or Ryan Roberts then shipped out. Unless the Rays are ready to give up on struggling Luke Scott and create playing time for Myers by rotating several players through the DH spot, there doesn't seem to be a spot for him.

Though Maddon also said, "When a guy like that is ready, you bring the auger out" to make room, it doesn't appear imminent. Further proof: Maddon said he hasn't talked recently with executive vice president Andrew Friedman about Myers at all.

And here is what Friedman said when asked Saturday about the situation:

"We have a number of players in Triple A who are knocking on the door. We don't look at a calendar to determine when to make a move. We have seen some already this year, and there are others whose time hasn't come yet. Oftentimes it simply comes down to opportunity, like when an injury creates an opening. Until that opportunity arises, our players get to work on their game so they're better prepared when the call comes."

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