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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rays aren’t heartbroken about losing Wieters to Nationals | Tampa Bay Times

Dollarwise, the Rays were willing to guarantee Wieters around $6 million with a chance, if all incentives were met, to squeak past $10 million. Obviously, with an opening day payroll projected in the low $60 million range, they could have gone further, though they tend to stick to their evaluations — and rarely ever win an auction.

But the Rays had good reason to offer no more than one year — as well as a team policy against player options/opt-outs (or no-trade clauses) — which is why they could only shrug, mildly disappointed at most, that Wieters went to Washington.

And that’s because they have the All-Star catcher who Wieters, ironically, will be trying to replace in Washington, Wilson Ramos.

It was during the early December winter meetings that the Rays made the bold, and potentially brilliant, move of striking a two-year deal with Ramos.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 22, 2017 at 09:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: matt wieters, rays

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Alternate history: What wouldn’t have happened if Rays had taken Weeks over Young | Tampa Bay Times

Yes, Delmon Young and Richie Weeks were once drafted first and second overall.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2017 at 06:45 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Optimizing the Lineup | The Process Report

An interesting look at the Rays lineup. I caution against putting too much credence in simple lineup simulators. In my experience, the best lineups take into account speed and sequencing of lefty-righty batters.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 16, 2017 at 06:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Monday, February 13, 2017

Rays say good communication helps three-headed baseball operations department function | Tampa Bay Times

Why not also add in a “college of coaches”?

The setup is somewhat different. In November both were named senior vice presidents, with Neander also the general manager, and both are working under baseball operations president Matt Silverman, giving the Rays, in essence, a three-headed department.

“It is a unique structure,” Silverman said. “But it works because of the uniqueness of their paths and the relationship they’ve been able to form over a decade.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 13, 2017 at 06:53 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: front office, general managers, rays

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg optimistic about stadium search, team

The plan now is to whittle a list of a half-dozen potential stadium sites down to a top “pin-perfect” choice, not looking to identify Pinellas and Hillsborough options then negotiate for a better deal.

“To say this place, this place or the other place means we don’t have any place,” he said. “We need to know which is No. 1, and that’s what we need to shoot for. The idea is to get that place and make it work good.”...

• Though there have been “some” years when they have made money, and they get in excess of $50 million annually from MLB while operating with payrolls in the $60 million to $70 million range, the net since taking over in October 2005 is in the red. “We have lost money from every point in time you can pick,” he said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 07, 2017 at 04:58 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: finances, rays, stadium

The Rays still could be a surprise contender, if everything goes right

Robothal’s latest.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2017 at 06:47 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: notes, rays

Saturday, February 04, 2017

“Hope” the operative term as Rays prepare to report to camp | Tampa Bay Times

Wieters and Gutierrez are big bats?

One of the remaining big bats on the market — headlined by Matt Wieters, Chris Carter, Mike Napoli and, less so, Franklin Gutierrez — is willing to sign on, putting opportunity ahead of potentially more dollars elsewhere; or they make a trade, to add some needed offense after the trade of Logan Forsythe.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 04, 2017 at 09:53 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, rays

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Dodgers’ Decision To Be Intentionally Inefficient | FanGraphs Baseball

One of the best things about baseball is we’ll eventually find out the answer.

De Leon could make this deal a disaster from LA’s perspective, but if Forsythe provides enough short-term value that they can get past the Cubs in either of the next two years, they’ll comfort themselves with the warmth of a World Series appearance, and maybe a big shiny trophy. Deals that require postseason success to work out are the worst kinds of trades to make, but the best kind of trades to have to make. The Dodgers have already built a winner; with this kind of trade, they’re trying to build a champion.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 06:39 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, rays

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Monday, December 19, 2016

Is there any hope for baseball’s basement dwellers?

We know there’s hope for the teams that just finished in first place. But is there hope for the teams that just finished in last place?

We’ve spent the past week asking that question to people all over baseball, especially in the wake of this sport’s new labor deal. We exempted the Atlanta Braves, a team moving into a new ballpark. We also exempted the Minnesota Twins, a franchise that just installed what is essentially a whole new group at the top of its baseball operations department.

But that still left four fascinating last-place teams with lots of questions about where they’re going, how they’ll get there and how the new labor agreement could affect them (or not). Those teams would be the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and Cincinnati Reds. You’ve heard of them, right?

So let’s buckle them all into our hot seat and hook them up to our cool new gizmo—the Hope Meter. Do they have hope on the field? Do they have hope off the field? It’s time to answer those questions, in order of impact on the franchise, for all four teams.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2016 at 09:36 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, padres, rays, reds, tanking

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rays open to rebuild but stay focused on improving current squad | Tampa Bay Times

Enough with the rebuilds already. Of course, the Rays do seem to lack the ability to put together a viable offense.

If lured by massive return, they remain open, as they feel they have to be, to make a big deal — or a couple — that could greatly impact how they look and what chances they have to win in 2017.

“I think we’re at a position where we feel like we need to at least play it forward and take a crack at it,” GM Erik Neander said Friday. “If the interest and market dictates that we go a different direction, we have to consider it and trust our evaluations. But we believe in a lot of the players we have.”

So while there could be some merit to a rebuild, especially given potential sell-high markets for some key players such as 3B Evan Longoria, they will continue their search for a couple of bullpen arms and what looks to be two position players — a big bat from the glut of DH/1B-type free agents, and a strong defensive outfielder — and their talks to trade Drew Smyly or, less likely, Alex Cobb.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 18, 2016 at 09:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rays’ dissenter: MLB did nothing to fix us getting shafted in draft | New York Post

And that new approach would be???

The one nay vote came from Tampa Bay owner Stuart Sternberg, who texted me: “Basically nothing was done to close the huge gap in access to talent. A new approach in the Rule 4 (June) draft would have proved helpful.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 14, 2016 at 03:24 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, rays

Monday, December 12, 2016

What to expect next as Rays still look to deal | Tampa Bay Times

Still trading starter, not Archer

Though they talked plenty about Archer, the Rays put sooooo much value in the combination of his skills, upside and contract (five years of control for $38.5 million) that there doesn’t seem to be any way they could feel they were getting enough for him. While teams are starting to recognize the high value the Rays see in Jake Odorizzi, that price isn’t likely to be met, either. That leaves the Rays pretty much where they were going into the meetings, most likely to trade LHP Drew Smyly or RHP Alex Cobb, albeit for a lesser return, with RHP Erasmo Ramirez next.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2016 at 07:05 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Rays agree to deal with All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos, pending physical | Tampa Bay Times

The Rays made a surprising strike to land a potential major impact player, agreeing late Tuesday on a two-year deal with All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos, who will be sidelined until midseason while recovering from major right knee surgery.

The deal, for a guaranteed $12.5 million with another $5.75 million in incentives, is pending a physical and won’t be finalized for a few days.

Ramos, 29, is not expected to play in the majors until June or July as the former National had surgery Oct. 14 to repair his anterior cruciate ligament plus medial and lateral meniscus. It was the second ACL surgery on his right knee, the first being in 2012.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 06, 2016 at 11:27 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, rays, wilson ramos

Friday, December 02, 2016

Rays pretty much strike out in MLB’s new labor deal

“Disappointed in what we’ve seen so far,” Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman said. “I’m not optimistic about the CBA in terms of helping us as a lower-revenue club.”

The Rays had hopes, as they did in the last CBA negotiations and the one before that, for some assistance.

Specifically, they have been seeking draft reform, a change in the system that would give them more picks, or higher picks, or, even better, more higher picks based on their market size and revenue totals, rather than just on win-loss record. Simpler: They don’t feel the Cubs or Red Sox or Yankees should get their pick of better talent just because one had a bad year on the field.

“Lower revenue clubs face a lot of obstacles, especially when it comes to talent acquisition,” Silverman said. “We can’t go out and spend like other clubs, so we need to find other avenues to be able to acquire that talent. We’ve looked for additional access on the amateur side, on the international side, and there haven’t been any major changes in the last 10 years. And, in fact, the revenue disparity between clubs has grown by an immense amount.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 02, 2016 at 01:50 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, collective bargaining agreement, labor, rays, revenue sharing

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Notes: The Nationals are in the mix for Chris Sale | FOX Sports

Imagine a rotation that included Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg ... and Chris Sale.

The Nationals can.

Add the Nats to the list of teams pursuing Sale, a list that likely includes the majority of teams in baseball.

Major-league sources confirmed the Nationals’ interest in Sale on Tuesday. The likelihood of a deal with the White Sox, however, is unknown.

The Nats’ edge is that they have A) a farm system that can satisfy the White Sox and B) a general manager, Mike Rizzo, who relishes making bold moves.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rays Chris Archer: “We’ve got to spend more money” to win | Tampa Bay Times

“I think in order for us to be successful, we’ve got to spend more money,’’ Archer said. “You look at the teams that were in contention this year and they were all around the $100-million payroll mark or more. And we’re in the $70 million payroll (range).

“So I think a couple added pieces, yeah, we’re going to have to spend a little bit of money. But a couple added pieces with the starting pitching that we have can change everything. We can get back to the winning franchise that we were.’‘

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2016 at 10:41 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Rays ‘open to everything’ to improve in offseason | Tampa Bay Times

“The trade market is our primary avenue to address those needs,” Silverman said. “It’s market-driven based on the teams’ interest in our players, what (teams) provide to us that meets those needs, both short term and long term.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2016 at 12:30 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Rays restructure front office; existing execs get new titles | Tampa Bay Times

Silverman said the responsibility sharing is “unique” but said it works in their situation. “It’s custom-fit to our histories together and to our working relationships,” he said. “Because of their decade-long working relationship, Erik and Chaim are ideal partners to team up on the daily management of our department.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2016 at 01:41 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Late Night Raymblings: There is a prospect that looks like Good Archer - DRaysBay

Consider this your pickled ginger of posts for the day.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2016 at 09:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Friday, October 07, 2016

What Happened to Derek Norris in 2016 | The Process Report

Or it could be a decline in skills?

Well that certainly feels like what Lester Freamon would call a headshot. seeing both rates fall off this much leads me to believe that Norris wasn’t just bitten by bad luck affecting his balls in play. I cannot help, but feel that some sort of injury, your guess is as good as mine as to what, led to a guy gutting through discomfort in an effort to help his team on the field. While that is nice to see, you can see the profound effect this proposed malady had on his production. Increased swinging strikes, and despite an ideal batted ball profile for a power hitter, less success within that framework screams of a guy playing through an injury.

Now there are plenty of smart folks working in San Diego’s front office, but with two years of arbitration control remaining I think Derek Norris might be an excellent guy to seek out if the cost of doing business is lower than it should be. I have no idea what the Padres would consider fair, but if it’s a fringe prospect that allows them to get their own on the field more often then this could be exactly the type of guy the Rays should be seeking to acquire. Lord willing the Rays will be able to give up little in order to fill a vacuum that even Dyson hasn’t been able to sell for close to twenty years.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2016 at 10:08 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: derek norris, padres, rays, sabermetrics

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Baseball needs to adopt the loan system

Imagine a scenario in which the Orioles are in need of a left fielder, like this season began, but where they could borrow a player much closer to the majors than Joey Rickard. Maybe a veteran being forced out of his starting position (like Desmond Jennings), or a prospect who might have had a few call-ups, but was protected on the 40-man roster when the Rule-5 draft occurred.

For example, Rays outfielder Mikie Mahtook has shown major league competence, but was blocked by Brandon Guyer and Desmond Jennings when the season began. Mahtook would have been just the sort of adept prospect the Orioles were looking for when they turned to Joey Rickard.

The Rays could have sent Mahtook to the Orioles to get a season of major league time without having to toil in the minors, while also retaining Joey Rickard in their system where he needed more time to develop. At the end of the season, the rights to Mahtook would transfer back to the Rays, but one might assume a trade or sale could be worked out if the stint is successful.

Tampa Bay keeps both contracts, both players get a chance to play at the level that best suits their development, and the Orioles get a far better player to contribute in their own playoff hunt.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2016 at 11:21 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: loan system, rays, rule 5 draft, rule changes

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rays’ Longoria answers questions with bounceback season | Tampa Bay Times

It’s better when the voices whisper but don’t yell.

“At the end of every year when the numbers don’t look like they have in the past, there are always questions of can you repeat it, are you still the player you were,” Longoria said.

“I’ve never been one to pay attention to what other people say. I don’t read a lot into what people write or listen to what people say.

“But there are always voices in your own head, and to be able to answer those questions to yourself is the most important thing.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 19, 2016 at 08:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: evan longoria, rays

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Blue Jays and Rays almost brawled over absolutely nothing

This is where things get weird. Souza heard catcher Russell Martin say something to him, and since Souza had taken some time to admire what ended up being a flyout, he thought Martin was criticizing him. But that’s not what started things. Here’s what Souza said to Topkin:

“I thought Russ was saying something about it, which would have been on me, totally,” Souza explained. “And I was saying, ‘Dude, I’m sorry, I thought I got it.’

This is the most important part of this really strange story: Steven Souza knew he’d looked at his non-homer too long, and was more than willing to accept any criticism or ribbing that Russell Martin had to offer. But Martin wasn’t criticizing Souza at all. In fact, he was actually confirming Souza’s reaction! Here’s more of what Souza said to Topkin:

There was miscommunication in that he actually said, ‘I thought you got it.’ And so I said, ‘Oh, my bad,’ and walked away. But then Troy decided to jump in and say some things that weren’t really necessary.”
This really was just a misunderstanding between two players in a loud ballpark… Until Troy Tulowitzki inserted himself in the situation, that is.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 13, 2016 at 11:02 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, rays, unwritten rules of baseball

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rays’ Archer shares thoughts from Tebow to anthem protests | Tampa Bay Times

On 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stance of not standing for the national anthem:

It’s his constitutional right, and everybody chooses different ways to get their message across. It’s a little bold for me personally, but he has the right. And it seems like he’s putting other actions behind it, too, monetarily and getting out in the community (like talking to military veterans). And that’s the most important thing for me.

Taking a knee during the national anthem, that’s one thing. We could all pick and choose something that we don’t like about America. I choose to pick the things that I do like. That’s how I look at America. Obviously there’s some dark clouds, there’s some rain in the forecast. But for me, I look at the half-full while addressing the half-empty.

You look at all the things that were written and recorded hundreds of years ago in 1776, the country was in a different place. So him saying that the anthem wasn’t relevant then as freedom because we had slaves, and we’re still struggling with it now, there’s some truth in it. But we’ve made some great progress. There’s some great opportunity for anybody born in America. There are some minds that are polluted and corrupt, but you can pick and choose the minds anywhere, versus any race, religion, creed, philosophy. You can find fault in all of it.

It’s a bold move, and I choose to kind of look at it the opposite way in representing my country in any possible way I can.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 11, 2016 at 09:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chris archer, rays

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