By Jennifer Dixon


When the Rays traded Matt Garza to the Chicago Cubs three years ago in a multi-player deal, outfielder Sam Fuld and Chris Archer were first two players to make an impact for Tampa Bay. Thought to be a major piece of that trade, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, who missed most of 2013 after undergoing knee surgery, may be primed to prove he is the key player the Rays felt he was in January 2011. 

Tampa Bay Times beat writer Marc Topkin joined the Sports Page this morning and was asked if he felt Lee could possibly join the Rays at some point this season.

“At some point, sure," Topkin said, "Heading to the minors for now? Definitely. This guy got hurt the first or second week of the season at Durham last year, he needs to play about a full season at Durham, there are still some parts of his game that needs to get better. This is a guy - when the Rays made that trade - and it seems like a long time ago when they traded Matt Garza to the Cubs, and Hak-Ju Lee was the guy that was suppose to be the key to the deal.”

If Lee can stay healthy, the Rays may have their shortstop moving forward - if they choose not to exercise the team option on current SS Yunel Escobar in 2015.

“Hak-Ju Lee is the future shortstop of this team assuming he stays healthy and comes back from his knee injury. There is a lot about his game that they really like,” said Topkin.

Click below to listen to the interview in its entirety.