The Devil Rays just earned a split with the Detroit Tigers.
Gone is Julio Lugo, former shortstop and leadoff hitter, to the LA Dodgers. Gone is Ty Wigginton, nursing a broken hand courtesy of a New York Yankee beanball.
The Rays are wearing the face of tomorow's team, having replaced Lugo at short with a prospect obtained in the Huff trade, Ben Zobrist. Touted prospect B. J. Upton, formerly a shortstop at AAA Durham, takes over at third base.
That's quite a makeover for the infield.
Upton has a major-league bat, though the power Wigginton had displayed may be missed. So far, Upton has fielded third base capably. His high error rate while playing shortstop in the minors prompted the move to third when Zobrist was acquired from the Houston Astros.
Zobrist is alleged to have above-average range at shortstop, and he hit about .300 at Durham which is roughly in line with his career average in the minors.
The Rays will be younger in the field, but not necessarily worse. Both young players compare favorable to the men they replace, though it remains to be seen how they will respond to the higher level of play at the major-league level.
One additional note, Seth McClung, who compiled an abyssmal record as a starting pitcher with the big-league club earlier this year, has been recalled after honing his skills in role of reliever. McClung pitched very effectively against the Tigers in helping the Rays split the four-game series with a 2-1 win in the finale.
McClung had tended to pitch very well the first time through the order when he was a starter, but then ran into trouble routinely the second time through.
The switch to the bullpen seems natural in light of his performance earlier in the year.