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Monday, July 07, 2008

Walkoff Walk: Chuck LaMar Gives Credit To Anyone Who Walked Within Ten Yards Of The Trop

Well, Dave Silvestri is safe…he never walked.

Over the weekend, Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Enquirer let us all into the rainbow colored world of Chuck LaMar. Mr. LaMar, the former GM of the Rays and current executive with the Phillies, took a moment to carve out a role for himself in Tampa’s current success.

“I’m proud of what we left behind, both players and staff,” he said. “In the last 10 or 15 years, you can’t think of a better scenario for a new owner and GM to take over. The team had only one way to go - up - and they inherited a group of young players capable of doing it.”

Indeed. For all of you people that speak “English,” that translates to, “My legacy of crippling inadequacy and historic shittiness allowed the team to stockpile draft picks. You’re welcome.” LaMar’s economic stimulus package would consist of burning down the stock exchange. He was the GM for 10 years. The majority of his “prospects” are out of baseball by now.

...You have my word that I will to keep my eye out for any former old school Rays hanger ons trying to skim some credit for this success. The recent run of good news and good play is well deserved by the people in this organization. Currently. Not the ones that helped set the model for futility by a sports franchise. I’m looking at you, Boggs.

Repoz Posted: July 07, 2008 at 07:58 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays

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   1. JPWF13 Posted: July 07, 2008 at 08:12 PM (#2847434)
Not entirely fair, some of the productive players on the Rays were LaMar picks, and Kazmir was fleeced from the Mets by LaMar

The Rays would probably not be in 1st today if LaMar had stayed on, but by the same token if Littlefield had been the Rays longterm GM instead of LaMar I doubt that the 2008 Rays would be over .500.
   2. AROM Posted: July 07, 2008 at 08:22 PM (#2847446)
He drafted Crawford and Upton, deserves credit for that. As you say, even top picks are not gimme's and Littlefield knew how to waste them.

Lamar did a pretty good job assembling talent, but the new regime took that talent and molded it into a baseball team. I don't think Lamar makes the Delmon for Garza and Bartlett trade, and even if Delmon starts hitting with his natural power and becomes an MVP in a couple years, that trade was absolutely necessary.
   3. MSI Posted: July 07, 2008 at 08:36 PM (#2847462)
Also James Shields and possibly Sonnanstine go to him. Shields, Sonanstine, Kazmir, Upton, Crawford is a large part of the nucleus of the team right now (outside of Longoria). But he did suck for 10 years.

Better question is how has the new GM done since taking over?

Also he may have drafted Wade Davis and Jake McGee.
   4. Jimmy P Posted: July 07, 2008 at 08:49 PM (#2847481)
I'm absolutely shocked Sonnanstine is pitching well. I saw him in Durham last year, and while he had good movement and location on his pitches, I don't think one ever broke 90. I thought for sure he was a AAAA pitcher.
   5. BeanoCook Posted: July 07, 2008 at 09:15 PM (#2847515)
I don't think it is easy to succeed without a good fastball. Part of a good fastball is location. A large part of it.
   6. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: July 07, 2008 at 10:55 PM (#2847617)
In my old age, I try and give the benefit of the doubt in most cases. But, like Cam Bonifay, there just aren't any excuses for Chuck LaMar. The first four years in the history of Devil Rays baseball were among the most clueless and inept I've ever seen. That these years are so obviously critical to getting the franchise off on the right foot with its potential fans makes it doubly so.

LaMar appeared to be treating the Rays as a theoretical concept (famous old guys from Florida) rather than a baseball team and the results were laughable.

And just having the players isn't enough as the early Devil Rays had some talent that could have been put to use. LaMar's biggest sin was not using that talent and instead trying out some "proven veteran" from someone else's scrap heap. Does a guy like Sonnanstine get this sort of opportunity under LaMar? I'm not convinced.
   7. RMc and the Respective Punishments Posted: July 08, 2008 at 12:44 AM (#2847906)
Here's one way to look at it: through 2007, the Rays had a grand total of 25 players (including Carl Crawford 4 times and Fred McGriff 3 times) with full-season OPS+'s of 99 or better -- 2 1/2 per season. This year, seven of eight starters (all except Bartlett) are at 99 (Iwamura) or higher.

Pitching? From 1998-2007, the Rays had a grand total of ten starters (minimum 162 IP) with ERA+'s of 95 or higher...one a year. This year, all five starters -- Kazmir, Garza, Shields, Jackson and Sonnastine -- have a 95 or better.

No, it can't last. But to say this is a whole new (Devil) Rays team is the understatement of the century (so far)...
   8. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 08, 2008 at 12:50 AM (#2847927)
you can’t think of a better scenario for a new owner and GM to take over. The team had only one way to go - up -

He actually said this? That's Onion-esque. "I deserve credit for doing such a crappy job, my successor was bound to look brilliant by comparison."
   9. Jim Wisinski Posted: July 08, 2008 at 02:01 AM (#2848135)
AROM basically hit it on the head, while Lamar did some good things (among his many bad things) there is just no way that the team would be close to as good as they are this year if he had stayed as GM. He had no ability whatsoever to take a group of players with potential and make the necessary moves to turn it into a good major league baseball team.

For me his tenure will always be best remembered by one trade though: Chad Gaudin for Kevin Cash. It wasn't horribly damaging to the team, they didn't lose a future ace or anything, but it was so stupid, so illogical, so inane, and had absolutely no chance of working out for the team in any fashion. He threw away a young pitcher with potential and some major league success, who he mishandled in the first place, for a worthless catcher.
   10. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 08, 2008 at 02:34 AM (#2848176)
Interesting choice of a trade to exemplify the LaMar regime. Similar to how the Littlefield era with the Pirates can be boiled down to, oh, let's say, Leo Nunez for Benito Santiago.

Why would you even bother to spend your time doing something like that, even if you misguidedly thought it was a good idea?

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