January 21, 2013
Thanks for the question, Jacob. Let's break this down into the pre-Myers era of 2013 and the post-Myers era and then decide if the Rays really need to acquire another bat ...
There is a very strong likelihood that power-hitting prospect Wil Myers will start the season in Triple-A. Without getting too much into specifics on service time and how it relates to arbitration and free agency, let's just say that the Rays will get an extra year of team control if Myers stays in the minors until around late April, and he'll only get three years of arbitration, starting in 2016, instead of four, starting in 2015, if he's in the minors until at least late May. Big savings for a small market team. The safe assumption would be that the 22 year-old Myers joins the Rays in June. This is my current projection for the April and May lineup ...
Not that impressive, right? They could also have Zobrist play right field, move Joyce to left field, and go with some combination of Ryan Roberts, Reid Brignac, and Sean Rodriguez at second base. Still not impressed? You shouldn't be. Roberts (.656 OPS), Brignac (2-for-21 in MLB), and Rodriguez (.607 OPS) didn't exactly set the world on fire last season. Any way you slice it, there are two spots in the lineup that could use an upgrade. Well, they could actually use an upgrade at first base and catcher, too, but expect James Loney and Jose Molina to be in the lineup on Opening Day.
So the easy answer to your question would be 'yes, they should sign a DH' and it wouldn't even necessarily be until Myers is ready. There appears to be an open spot for the entire season. If I had to guess, I'd say that they either re-sign Luke Scott, or possibly pursue other free agent options like Travis Hafner or Delmon Young while a combination of everyone else would serve as a stopgap for Myers. The versatility of Zobrist gives manager Joe Maddon the option to try and find the hot hand between several different players, including Roberts, Brignac, Rodriguez, Fuld, Guyer, or whoever else might be on the roster. Here's what that lineup could look like ..