While this is certain to barely register as more than a blip on Tony LaRussa’s radar, who previously said he had “the primary input on this situation. I’m not putting it on anybody else.”, Rays brass thinks it could be a key move.
“We talk a lot about depth, and I think this move fits perfectly in line with that,” said Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman. “He’s a tremendous defender, he does a lot of things well, and we’re anxious to watch him play on a daily basis.”
Indeed, this is a “low-risk, potentially high impact acquisition” as Lancaster notes, but in the midst of all the fawning, Friedman admits:
“Right now, he’s on the outside looking in,” Friedman said of Kennedy. “I think it would take an injury [for him to make the Opening Day roster] at this point, but you never know.”
That’s because the Rays have incumbent second sacker Akinori Iwamura returning (after a spring stint playing in the World Baseball Classic), with switch-hitters Ben Zobrist and Willy Aybar behind him. Zobrist and Aybar will make roughly the same amount that Kennedy would in 2009, were Kennedy to find himself on the big-league roster.
It stands to reason that this is a *no risk* proposition for the Rays, other than potentially having to deal with some whining if/when Kennedy doesn’t make the roster. Certainly AK is not going to head off to triple-A to play, after throwing his fit about wanting to start in St Louis? Or is demanding a trade, then having to be released because no one wanted to trade for him enough to put his tail between his legs?
What do you think? Does he stick with the Rays? Is this the last stop for Kennedy if he doesn’t make the ML roster?