Last night, the Rays optioned Brandon Gomes to Durham to make room for an extra position player in the dugout.
On his way out the door, Joe Maddon made it clear that Gomes was throwing the ball well (I can’t find the quote but, I remember reading that Maddon thought that Gomes looked the best he’s ever looked mechanically) but the Rays needed an extra bat for their 6-game NL swing through Washington and Philly.
This is a decidedly minor story. But it is also an interesting peak into what we can expect next year.
When the Astros move to the AL West next year, both leagues will have an odd-number of teams. That gives MLB the impetous to make inter-league play a permanent, and ongoing, part of the schedule. Every week will have an interleague series.
The new schedule should put all decent bullpen arms and extra infielders/outfielders in our system on notice that they will spend a significant portion of next summer flying to and from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Joe and Andrew have already shown that they look at the roster on a day-to-day basis. They are more than willing to optimize the roster game-by-game with an incredible series of roster moves.
Remember the West Coast trip in 2011 that saw the Rays call-up and demote a relief pitcher every day? The Rays bullpen was exhausted heading into the trip so, Joe started a carousel of minor league pitchers that had one-day stints in the bullpen.
Shouldn’t we expect the same thing next summer?
I don’t think MLB has released the 2013 schedule so, it isn’t clear whether games against the NL will be bunched together (like this trip to Philly and Washington) or spread out (for example, a trip to Washington and Baltimore). Either way, I think we’ll see Joe and Andrew working the roster heavily to make sure they have the exact 25 guys in the dugout that they want.