2013 Tampa Bay Rays need to define some position roles

Al Messerschmidt - Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays enter the baseball offseason wondering how bring their defense back to an elite level. What could the Rays do with pitcher Wade Davis and infielder Ben Zobrist?

The Tampa Bay Rays enter the 2013 offseason wondering what they are going to do at shortstop and in the bullpen. One option could be to move Ben Zobrist to shortstop rather than signing someone else. Zobrist hit .270 with 20 home runs, 74 RBIs, 14 steals and a .848 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Zobrist played 43 games at shortstop this season. The biggest concern with moving Zobrist there full time would be durability as well as range through a full 162-game season. The risk could be worth the reward though, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

(For what it's worth, Zobrist, per baseball-reference.com, over 2009-12 has the highest wins above replacement, or WAR,, 26.6, of any player, ahead of Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, etc.)

Next to figure out is what to do with pitcher Wade Davis. Last season, Davis spent the season as a reliever, pitching 70 and one-third innings, striking out 87 batters and earning a 3-0 record with a 2.43 ERA. Topkin says that the three options would be to trade a current starter to make room for him back in the rotation, leave him in the bullpen with the possibility that he could become the team's closer or trade him.

Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman does not know yet what he will do with Davis:

"Wade Davis could absolutely start on most any team," executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "How it unfolds for us right now, I don't know. But a guy who handles it as well as he did, it's a hard thing to go back and ask him to do it again being that his heart is in the rotation.

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