Per Marc Topkin
Someone has to go to the disabled list for me to understand this move (likely Dan Johnson or Sean Rodriguez). Please do not take that as a criticism of Brandon Gomes, I like him fine enough (as does Tommy), but more so an analysis on the roster construction.
With Brandon Gomes in tow, the Rays now have a 12-pitcher. One of those pitchers is Andy Sonnanstine, who at one point went more than two weeks without an appearance. Sonnanstine’s workload does not expect to pick up, as the rotation is unlikely to fold into pieces anytime soon. Moving Sonnanstine down for Gomes makes more sense unless the goal is to keep 12 pitchers, and to keep 12 pitchers is a strategy I don’t really agree with given the roster at hand, as it necessities shedding someone. Like Felipe Lopez—although, I think Lopez is a better player than Casey Kotchman, but I fear Lopez’s hustle issues showed up just a bit too early.
The Rays know more about three aspects that could drive them to this move:
1) Lopez’s likelihood of clearing waivers.
2) Lopez’s trade value.
3) Johnson and Rodriguez’s health.
The last item there is vital and obvious—designating Lopez for assignment with their health unclear is a really silly idea—but the first two are big too. Simply put, I don’t believe Lopez is undesirable to a number of teams in the league. With Donnie Murphy on the DL, the Marlins are using a Greg Dobbs-Wes Helms platoon. I have to think they would give Lopez a look. The Nationals have used Jerry Hairston Jr., Brian Bixler, and Alex Cora at the hot corner this week alone, again, they may have interest (I doubt Lopez’s backstory there comes into play, as it was under a different management group, but who knows).
Even a team like the Jays (Mike McCoy is on the bench) could use Lopez in some variety. And maybe that’s the key. Maybe they can flip Lopez into an asset. Probably not a great one, but maybe something usable—and I don’t mean Travis Ishikawa, which is San Francisco slang for Kotchman. That could be the deciding factor for the Rays, and if it comes to pass and good value is acquired, then yeah, it makes more sense.
But for now, based on the information I have, I’m not really a fan of sacrificing Lopez (or any of the position players—even Kotchman) to spare the 12-pitcher roster.