Another Hellickson start, another game where the previously dependable righty couldn’t make it past the fifth inning. The short version of his outing: Hellickson had issues with his command and couldn’t hit his spots. He, by all accounts, was slated to be pulled from the game in favor of Cesar Ramos two outs in the fourth, yet came back out in the fifth only to give up a Chris Davis solo shot to right — the second homer relinquished. Just another day in the life of Jeremy Hellickson.
As much as I’d like to harp on Hellickson or the Rays inconsistent offense that couldn’t get much started Wednesday night, I’m going to focus on something else, Jason Bourgeois — more specifically, why he’s still on the 25-man roster. He, after all, misplayed another ball in the outfield for the second time in three games. Though tonight’s fielding geek wouldn’t prove costly, and though he was fairly productive at the plate, I’d argue that he’s here (instead of Brandon Gomes who was sent down on the 20th) for a few reasons — the biggest being that he’s out of options and the Rays don’t want to lose organizational depth by running Bourgeois through waivers. One should consider the depth in Triple-A Durham. With Brandon Guyer on the DL, the Rays are left with career minor leaguer Rich Thompson, and Gary Busey lookalike Shelley Duncan.
Things were complicated by the addition of Luke Scott to the DL with lower back spasms. Had the Rays DFA’d Bourgeois in lieu of Brandon Gomes, Tampa Bay would be sitting with a nine man bullpen, and only three bench players. The question then begs: Why Bourgeois instead of Ryan Roberts?
Robert’s was previously DFA’d, yet continues to find himself in the Rays organization because he cleared waivers — an ironic situation when you consider that Tampa Bay would have to DFA Bourgeois to make room on the 25-man roster, at least prior to the September roster expansion. Nevertheless, Ryan Roberts is limited to playing in the infield (2B/3B) — positions that could largely be covered by the other utility players on the roster if necessary. Too, Bourgeois has better splits in Triple-A (.291 BA/.336 OBP/.371 SLG/.707 OPS/.321 wOBA vs. Ryan Roberts’ .223 BA/.312 OBP/.298 SLG/.611 OPS/.288 wOBA) and he is faster on the base paths — Bourgeois is 21-for-26 in stolen base attempts in Durham this season. I’d still prefer to see Leslie Anderson get a shot. But when given the option of choosing from the pack of Roberts, Bourgeois, Duncan, and Thompson, I’d gladly choose Bourgeois.
When all is said and done, I’d expect to see both Gomes and Roberts reactivated when the rosters expand on September 1st.