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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


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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

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Rays debut the first of their new stockpile of knuckleball pitchers

I love knuckleballers.

Friday night’s game between the Blue Jays and Rays was notable for two reasons. One, it marked the return of Alex Cobb, back after missing more than a season and a half due to Tommy John surgery. Second, it represented the debut of the majors’ newest knuckleballer: Eddie Gamboa.

Gamboa, a 31-year-old who converted to knuckling a few years back on a whim, had been recalled last season by the Orioles, but failed to appear in a game. That changed on Friday, obviously, as he faced four batters, walking two, allowing a hit, and striking out Michael Saunders on—what else—a knuckleball….

The Rays spent the winter stocking up on knuckleballers, even hiring former big-leaguer Charlie Haeger as a pitching coordinator. It seems as though the organization is intent on testing whether the wind-free Tropicana Field is the idyllic butterfly garden it’s made out to be.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: eddie gamboa, knuckleballers, rays

Mental, physical changes helping Rays’ Longoria rebound | Tampa Bay Times

First, Longoria, for the first time he can remember, wrote out the key statistics for each year of his career to provide a base. Then, his assignment was to jot down specific numerical goals for this season, such as how many home runs he could hit.

Falco’s theory was to give it permanence on paper as a point of reference to look at during the season and, more importantly, to get Longoria to think aggressively and aim high.

“It’s really the first time I’ve ever done it,” Longoria said. “In talking to Howard Falco … about making some mental changes and the possibility of things if you really believe it, and for me, he said to write some numbers down and you’ll be shocked at the end of the year.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 04, 2016 at 10:41 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: evan longoria, rays

Thursday, August 25, 2016

End of torturous rehab in sight for Rays’ Alex Cobb | Tampa Bay Times

In the 17 months since he first felt something amiss in his right arm that afternoon in Clearwater, in the 15-plus months since the Tommy John surgery to repair the tear in his elbow, in the nearly two months since he started pitching, and not particularly well, in minor-league games, Alex Cobb has remained singularly focused on getting back on the mound to start again for the Rays.

“I have a vision of when I’m going to get back, and I know it will happen,” Cobb said Wednesday. “I’ve worked too hard, I’ve done too much, I feel too good now for it not to happen.”

That return is finally in sight.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2016 at 09:53 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cobb, injuries, rays

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rays prospects and minor leagues: Cobb moves closer to majors - DRaysBay

Alex Cobb took his rehab to another level in Durham’s 5-3 loss to Pawtucket. After four appearances with Charlotte, Cobb moved up a couple levels and struggled out of the gate. RBI singles from Curt Casali and Daniel Robertson spotted him a 2-0 lead, but Pawtucket evened the score in the bottom of the first. Cobb allowed solo home runs in the second and third innings and finished with four runs allowed on eight hits in three frames with four strikeouts and no walks. Nice relief work from Eddie Gamboa kept the Bulls in the game, but J.P. Arencibia’s solo home run was not enough. Matt Duffy was 0-for-4.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 11, 2016 at 09:13 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cobb, rays

Monday, August 01, 2016

Giants acquire Rays pitcher Matt Moore |

The Giants agreed to a trade that landed them left-hander Matt Moore just before Monday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. San Francisco parted with infielder Matt Duffy, as well as prospects Lucius Fox and Michael Santos.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 01, 2016 at 05:45 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, rays, trade deadline, trades

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rays shut down Cobb to deal with fatigue, mechanical issues | Tampa Bay Times

Their season is over; why push him?

The Rays returned Cobb from his rehab assignment and essentially stopped the 30-day clock, thus, given a mandatory seven-day wait, postponing his next start until at least Monday. Cobb left his second rehab start July 11 after one inning, so he will go at least two full weeks between games. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today at the Trop, then possibly a live batting practice next.

“He’s had some fatigue issues in his arm, and that, along with working with his mechanics, we felt this was the right time to do it,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We want to make sure he gets his full rehab and can work through the process at his pace a little bit.”

The pause can last as long as needed, with Cobb then starting a new 30-day window, pushing his targeted return back to at least mid August. After the 30 days, a player has to either be activated (and could be optioned to the minors) or returned to the DL.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2016 at 06:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cobb, rays

Monday, July 18, 2016

Rays offense stalls again in loss to Orioles (w/ video) | Tampa Bay Times

Moore pitched a season-high 7⅓ innings. He had gone exactly seven five times. He allowed five hits and struck out only one because he pitched to contact against an aggressive lineup. Shortstop J.J. Hardy’s two-run homer in the second accounted for the Orioles’ runs.

“I tell you, Moore was as good as Tillman,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “That was two good pitchers at the top of their game. Fine margin of error.”

Scouts from the Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox, Pirates and Nationals on hand to see Moore pitch went away pleased.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 18, 2016 at 08:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: matt moore, rays, trade rumors

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Resurgent Matt Moore could help Rays here or as trade chip | Tampa Bay Times

And he pitched well enough to ignite a trade market that the Rays would benefit from warming as a third choice to a $7.5 million option and a $2.5 million buyout for next season, with the Rangers already hot on Moore’s trail and three-four others expected to join the pursuit.

“He’s a top-of-the-rotation guy,” said good buddy Alex Cobb, who is nearing the end of his own TJ rehab. “He showed that before he got hurt, and it took him a little while to get back. But it seems like he’s back to being the All-Star Matt Moore.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2016 at 09:28 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: matt moore, rays

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rays to dedicate Friday’s annual Pride Night to Orlando victims

Beginning this morning, all open seats to Friday’s Rays-San Francisco Giants 7:10 p.m. game at Tropicana Field will be available for $5 with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting the Pulse Victims Fund (, set up for the families of the victims.

Also planned for Friday:

Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: June 14, 2016 at 04:12 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rays to promote Blake Snell, send Matt Andriese to bullpen | Tampa Bay Times

The Rays feel they have the answer to their bullpen woes: Blake Snell.

Actually, it’s the domino effect of adding their top prospect to the rotation, which they will do Thursday when the left-handed rookie is scheduled to make his second big-league start. Snell is needed because Matt Andriese is headed to the bullpen to assume to role Erasmo Ramirez played earlier this season — a pitcher who can get outs and get a lot of them.

Manager Kevin Cash announced the news after Sunday’s 5-0 victory against the Astros.

“We think that’s going to help us win ball games,” Cash said. “Matt’s very capable of providing a huge boost in the bullpen. (We) fully understand what he’s done as a starter has been tremendous, but we got to think about what we’re doing to win ball games. That was our thought process.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 13, 2016 at 09:42 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: blake snell, matt andriese, rays

Thursday, June 09, 2016

New blood hopes to change Rays’ fortunes in draft | Tampa Bay Times

I just hope the Red Priestess Melisandre didn’t get hired by Tampa. If she did, things could get ugly.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 09, 2016 at 06:49 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur draft, rays

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Rays’ red-hot Logan Morrison remained positive during slump | Tampa Bay Times

When will he get hurt or turn back into a pumpkin?

Jim Furtado Posted: June 07, 2016 at 01:35 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: logan morrison, rays

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rays notebook: Sternberg lauds Steinbrenner Field renovations | and The Tampa Tribune

I am shocked that an owner of sports team would be in favor of tax dollars being put into the pockets of another owner.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg was asked Sunday for his thoughts on the $40 million approved by the Hillsborough County commissioners for renovations to George M. Steinbrenner Field, the spring home of the Yankees.

“Any money going toward baseball in Florida is fine by me,” he said. “It’s about the sport. It’s good for the spot. It shows that Hillsborough is committed to and sees the value of baseball in their midst.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 25, 2016 at 10:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, stadium financing

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tampa Bay Rays re-sign first baseman Carlos Pena

Big time rush…to sign him!

The Tampa Bay Rays have re-signed first baseman Carlos Pena, the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed.

Pena has seemed a good fit to return to the Rays throughout the off-season, as we’ve written and talked about repeatedly.

Pena played for the Rays from 2007-10, then moved to the Cubs last season. Agent Scott Boras told the Tampa Bay Times last week that Pena was open to a return to the Rays, where he had success and enjoyed the experience, and Pena told MLB Network Radio last week he was considering several options. He made $10-million last season with the Cubs.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: business, rays

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Former Oriole Luke Scott signs one-year deal with Tampa Bay

Luke Scott: Rebirtherr.

Luke Scott, the outspoken, energetic slugger who spent four seasons in Baltimore and was named the 2010 Most Valuable Oriole, has agreed to a one-year deal with the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays that includes a 2013 option, according to an industry source.

Exact terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Scott, 33, was in his final year of arbitration after making $6.4 million in an injury-marred 2011 that ended in July, when he decided to have season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. In December, the Orioles decided not to tender him a contract—he would have made at least $6 million and likely more—and allowed him to become a free agent.

There was talk that the club wanted him back on a lesser deal, but the Orioles never made a push this offseason to re-sign him.

Repoz Posted: January 11, 2012 at 01:53 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles, rays

Friday, January 06, 2012

How The Greg Reynolds Trade Is More Interesting Than You Think

How could it possibly be more interesting?

We’ll begin with the biggie. Reynolds, of course, was selected second overall by the Rockies in 2006. He was selected right after Luke Hochevar, and right before Evan Longoria. The Rockies’ selection of Reynolds was thought to be a reach, and it took the Rays by surprise. The Rays had another plan, assuming the Rockies would take Longoria. That plan? Andrew Friedman:

We had Evan Longoria first on our board…We thought Longoria was going to go two to Colorado, and we had cut a deal with Tim Lincecum, to take three….

Reynolds’ failures were magnified because the Rockies nearly drafted Long Beach State third baseman Evan Longoria before turning to the Stanford pitcher. At the time, the Rockies felt starting pitching was more of a priority with Garrett Atkins and [Ian] Stewart both in the fold.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 06, 2012 at 12:01 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, rays, rockies

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Jonah Keri: The Myth of the Small-Market Window

We’re not selling blinds here.

There is a nugget of truth behind this Window obsession. Smaller-revenue teams have a tougher time signing premium free agents, or retaining their own top players past their initial six years of team control. That puts extra pressure on these poorer teams to bring up a bunch of great prospects all at once, then hope they get good at the same time before they get expensive.

But far more often it’s a bullshit excuse. It’s a vague, faraway goal that always seems several years out of reach. It’s a cover for cheap, greedy ownership, lousy scouting, drafting, and player development, and myopic trades. It’s a weak attempt to placate a fan base screwed over by years of management incompetence and indifference.

Or in the case of the Oakland A’s, their recent fire sale and justification for said fire sale, it’s a bold-faced ploy by one opportunistic owner to win territory from another opportunistic owner so that another city can hand out another $500 million check for another boondoggle stadium.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 03:28 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, rays

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cubs Sign Andy Sonnanstine

In yet another “buy low” move, the Cubs have signed former Rays righthander Andy Sonnanstine to a non-guaranteed split contract—i.e. he’ll make more if he makes the major league team.

Sonnanstine looked promising in his first two seasons with the Rays, particularly in 2008 when he posted a 101 ERA+ and had an excellent walk ratio of 1.7 per nine innings and had two good starts for the Rays in the 2008 postseason. But he has regressed the last three years, was banished to the Rays’ bullpen and spent much of 2011 at Triple-A Durham.

Sonnanstine will be 29 in March. He’s a reclamation project, but at that age he’s got a much better chance to be productive than the retreads (Doug Davis, Ramon Ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez) that Jim Hendry signed last year.

Thanks to Pete.

Repoz Posted: December 27, 2011 at 02:07 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, rays

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jayson Stark (ESPN): Strange stuff … in the 2011 postseason

The postseason edition of trivia and oddbits that Jayson Stark excels at collecting and presenting…

Here’s one I didn’t know:

All four teams that advanced to the LCS—the Cardinals, Brewers, Rangers and Tigers—got outscored by the teams they played in the Division Series … and won.

Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: December 26, 2011 at 09:48 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, brewers, cardinals, history, phillies, rangers, rays, tigers, yankees

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