The Rays will be without their outfielder Desmond Jennings for a little while longer. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on his left knee, the team announced. Jennings had been dealing with the knee injury since late April, the last time he was able to play in a major league game.
A best case scenario for Jennings would have been three to four weeks, but the team is now expecting him to miss around eight weeks. That would mean Jennings would return around early or mid-August.
Without Jennings, the Rays have been able to hold their own. Kevin Kiermaier has been the regular in center field, the powerful Steven Souza Jr. is has been in right. The Rays have then used David DeJesus, Brandon Guyer and Joey Butler in left field. Those three left fielders have put together a combined .305/368/.452 line.
Does this affect Rays plans?
It doesn't seem like the Rays feel compelled to make a trade, as they have been playing with this lineup for some time now and it has worked. What this injury does affect is their ability to trade a guy like David DeJesus, who some thought could have been moved during the offsesason.
DeJesus is being paid $5 million this year and in 147 plate appearances, is hitting .313 with a .367 on-base percentage, meaning the Rays have no reason to move him now.
Jennings missing more than half of this season is going to affect his earnings in arbitration this winter. This year he is owed $3.1 million and by not playing he will be missing out on a huge raise. Instead, if he can get on the field and show he is healthy and can hit, Jennings could see a small raise. He only has two more arbitration eligible seasons before becoming a free agent at the end of 2017.
The Rays have put together a plan for being without Jennings, and that plan will be put through a major test over the next eight weeks. While a trade isn't on the horizon, if the Rays stay in contention in the AL East and the outfield isn't where they want it to be, a trade could become a very legit possibility.