Inbox: Has Hech replaced Duffy as future SS?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain fields Rays fans' questions

Inbox: Has Hech replaced Duffy as future SS?

With Matt Duffy being out for the whole year and Adeiny Hechavarria playing well in the field and at the plate, would it be safe to say that Duffy is a man without a position? It seems that if he is ever healthy, he's going to be a utility player at best.
-- Terence L.

I would agree with that assessment on the surface. Hechavarria has performed well on offense and at shortstop. Having said that, he is arbitration-eligible and stands to make more than his 2017 salary of $4.35 million. Given that fact, the Rays will be faced with the decision of whether to bring Hechavarria back at the increased salary. They might opt to take their chances with Duffy being healthy and No. 2 prospect Willy Adames jumping to The Show. It should be interesting to see which way they go.

Submit a question to the Rays Inbox

I had a lot expectations this year, but I am now convinced that Kevin Cash is not the manager that will take us to the postseason. I see a lot of crazy stuff happening, from the trades that I suppose he approved, like the departures of Logan Forsythe and Tim Beckham, to the way he manages games and the decisions he makes that end in losses. When is Cash going to be replaced? We fans are really disappointed with the team's results after the departure of Joe Maddon.
-- Guillermo M., Panama City, Panama

To my knowledge, Cash doesn't appear to be on the hot seat. The front office has expressed the sentiment that the team has been prepared to play every day, so they don't seem to be upset with the job he has done. As for the roster moves, I'm sure Cash has some input, but I think that falls on the front office. In regard to his decisions, nothing really jumps out at me as far as bad moves. But his grade as a manager is subjective. I'm sure there have been things he's done that have prompted you to feel the way you do. I'll be surprised if Cash gets dismissed.

I've seemed to notice that the Rays choke when they have playoff chances. The 2015 season was a prime example. Do you think they will eventually pull it together and make the playoffs anytime soon?
-- Jack

The Rays looked like they were primed to make a run this year. Unfortunately, they ran out of gas. I like a lot of the young players who are about to join the team -- Adames, No. 1 prospect Brent Honeywell and Jake Bauers -- but Tampa Bay does play in the same division as teams that have the ability to support a larger payroll. I can't say whether next year's team will be a playoff contender, because I don't know what it's going to look like just yet. I think there could be a lot of turnover this offseason.

Miller's solo home run

Why has no one mentioned that trading Beckham cost the Rays the playoffs? In August, while Beckham got 50 hits, Brad Miller had 14. 
-- Harry H., Bradenton, Fla.

Beckham sure has put it together with the Orioles, hasn't he, Harry? Sometimes we aren't privy to all the reasons why a player is traded. However, based on the relatively low return for Beckham (Tobias Myers, a low-level right-handed pitcher), I would guess that it was about something other than Beckham's playing ability. Having said that, several players were upset about the trade. Now, would having kept Beckham been worth another 10 games in the standings? I don't think so. But that's just my opinion.

Jaime Schultz set an International League benchmark last year for strikeouts and was named to the 40-man roster. I've seen numerous pitchers yo-yo up and down between Triple-A Durham and the Rays. Why not Schultz?
-- Bill P.

Schultz fought injuries all season, but he is now healthy. He blew people away in Spring Training, and he seems to know what he's doing. I'm fairly confident that had Schultz not been injured, he would have been with the team and played a significant role. I really like what I've seen from him.

What do you think about working out Duffy at second base during Spring Training? Trading Beckham was a horrible move in my opinion.
-- Mike H., Lakeland, Fla.

Giving Duffy some time at second in the spring could definitely be a possibility. Like I said in one of my previous answers, a lot will depend on what they decide to do with Hechavarria. As far as Beckham goes, a lot of fans share your opinion. Then again, I've fielded hundreds of emails over the years expressing the opinion that Beckham needed to go.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.