And the award for the stupidest blurb about baseball ever written goes to Jon Heyman. This has nothing to do with the Rays, but it is so outrageous I wanted to expose it somewhere. It is posted at Shysterball, and if you follow the link to the Heyman article you will see it stands alone, with no caveat or comment. I know there are almost an infinite number of candidates for the award of most stupid ever, but Jon Heyman's is inner circle stupid. http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/shysterball/article/great-moments-in-notes-columns/#comments The comment about Freddie Sanchez and the Rays is pretty apt, by the way.
Will Carroll on Navarro "Navarro was seen wearing a brace on his wrist, both at bat and in the field. Given his early-season struggles, but now seeing his last two nights of decent hitting, it's entirely possible that he's been dealing with some kind of wrist problem. It's unclear when the wrist brace was first worn and if it has anything to do with his better performance in the last two games, but it's certainly notable. Wrist injuries often present as a drop in power and loss of bat control, something his stats show, especially the 16:1 K/BB ratio that stands in stark contrast to last season's 49:34. I'll continue digging to find out more." I thought he was hit on or near his left wrist last night. Carroll is not saying when he started wearing the brace or on which wrist.
I asked Stacy Long a question about Eduardo Morlan; Here is his answer. It does not really address the question exactly, but perhaps the Rays are fixing him. _...
I was at the Phillies/Tigers game today in which Jackson started. From my seat, I could not tell whether his stuff was good or how close to the plate he was, but his first 5 pitches were balls...
Getting a plug. It may just be greasing the palm (ego) as he works on his book about the Rays, but Jonah Keri does include DRays Bay in his list of people and sites who provide excellent sources for baseball analysis. Here is an excerpt from his post: ___________________________________ "On a related note, it occurs to me that there are so many good writers out there doing so much good work on baseball, it ends up greatly informing anyone trying to write a book on the topic. The bibliography/references in Unnamed Rays Book (Spring ‘10), from BP to FanGraphs, the Hardball Times to the St. Pete Times, is going to be enormous. People like Marc Topkin, Shawn Hoffman, Dave Cameron, Marc Lancaster, Nate Silver, Tommy Rancel (everyone at DRays Bay, really) and many others have written some tremendously informative, thought-provoking pieces in just the past year or so, never mind all the good stuff that was written further back in history. This adds one more to the mix."
Four "Young Guns" http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/young-guns/ Whenever I see an article from a worthwhile source that includes commentary on Rays, I figure people would like to look at it. This is from THT today. Kalk seems more optimistic about Hammel's chances to be a pretty decent major leaguer than many of us here do. And he also is not in favor of Niemann in the bullpen.
Base running: http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090222&content_id=3865868&vkey=news_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb I don't usually find Chastain's articles particularly interesting, but I think this one is, perhaps because I think the Rays have made too many outs on the base paths the last few years. Aggressive is one thing, but reckless is quite another. Glad he is keeping records and trying to instill the fundamentals.
One of Sternberg's (and the front office's) stated goals when they took over was to make TB a destination for players. Obviously winning has helped to that, but apparently Maddon is part of that appeal also. http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/feb/21/sp-kennedy-made-positive-move/sports-rays/ We may not be thrilled with acquiring Kennedy and Isringhausen, although I think most of us generally approve, but the reason they claim to have wanted to come here is interesting as are Burrell's comments. Remember when critics were saying Maddon wasn't tough enough, that he was just some feel-good, wine loving, laid-back Californian stereotype?
Christina Kahrl on the Rays young position players. This is her commentary on Upton, Longoria, Navarro and Joyce focused on their pecota projections. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8503 It might be worthwhile to review the two posts at Baseball Analysts that review the highlights of team rosters in 1999. There is, it seems to me, quite a bit of thought provoking implicit warnings about being overconfident about young players there. http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/02/what_a_differen.php#comments http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/02/seasons_of_chan.php
http://baseballanalysts.com/ This is one of my favorite approaches to evaluating pitchers, and this year one of the more disturbing. I think it relates somewhat to the discussion of the Rays'...
Kevin Goldstein at BP on the Tigers top players 25 and under: #3 is Edwin Jackson about whom he says; "Call me crazy, but I still believe in Edwin Jackson, and I think that the Tigers got a real steal here. It may never happen, but he's been a breakout candidate for years, and he began to show some signs of coming around last year." The two in front of Jackson are Cabrera and Porcello. Zumaya is #4. Is it a comment on Jackson or on the Tigers' young players? And I wonder what he means by "a steal". Is he simply commenting on Jackson in a vacuum as a real prospect or does he think that the cost in trading Joyce was not significant?
I love catching these minor deals. This is from Stacey Long's Montgomery Biscuits blog: ____________________________________ " Rays add Gautreau, likely ticketed for Durham Infielder Jake Gautreau, who played last year with the independent Fort Worth Cats, has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays and is likely headed to Triple-A Durham this year. Gautreau, a former Tulane star, was in Triple-A from 2004-07, the last with New Orleans, before going to Fort Worth. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2001 draft and hit .282 last year for Fort Worth. He played first, second and third bases." _____________________________________ Roster filler, I know, but he was a first round pick who did get to AAA.
Have you seen this post by Rich Lederer at Baseball Analysts? http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/01/2008_leaders_an.php#comments The only Rays pitcher identified is Kazmir who, despite his problems last year, still comes out pretty well by this measurement. Am I missing a link in the article? I hoped he would have the complete list of eligible pitchers so we could see where all the Rays fit.
"Price is primarily a two-pitch pitcher today, working at 90-94 mph as a starter but sitting around 94 as a reliever and bumping up to 97. His slider is his out pitch - ask the Red Sox about it -...
Compare the ability of teams to contend prior to the advent of free agency and since. Using the 16 franchises that have existed since 1903, I looked at all their records between 1920-60 (the era of...
By the way, from Posnanski: __________________________________ "– Over the last 10 years, eight different teams have won the World Series. In all 15 teams made the World Series — that’s half the teams in baseball. – Over the last 20 years, fourteen different teams have won the World Series. In all 22 teams made the World Series. Now, we’re at more than two-thirds who have reached the Series. – Over the last 30 years, 20 different teams have won the World Series, and only three — the Chicago Cubs, the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers — have failed to reached the Series. That’s extraordinary, if you think about it — ninety percent of all teams have reached the World Series the last 30 years. And the three teams that didn’t reach had their good moments too. The Cubs have made the playoffs six times and, well, only their Cubbiness has kept them from reaching the Series. The Mariners won 116 games in 2001, the most for any team ever. Even the Texas Rangers have made the playoffs three times and while there’s some dark cloud simply hovering over that franchise, you never get the feeling that the Rangers are hopeless. By comparison, pro football teams that have not made the Super Bowl the last 30 years include: The New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings, That’s 10 — almost one-third of all the teams in Pro Football. I don’t mean to make this sound like a defense of baseball’s system. The system’s lousy. The Yankees over the last 14 years have spent a half million dollars in payroll more than the Boston Red Sox or any other team (they have spent 1.2 BILLION more than the Kansas City Royals), and it has paid off, they have made the playoffs 13 of those years, reached the World Series six times and won four. So, money (to some degree) can buy you love. But it is also amazing how baseball, the game itself, defies the takeover efforts of corporate raiders. The Yankees won their World Series when the team was, to a large degree, homegrown. They famously have not won a World Series since paying big bucks to sign Mike Mussina and then Jason Giambi and then taking on the A-Rod contract. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay last year reached the World Series with the second smallest payroll in baseball — no Rays player made more than $6 million last year. And here’s a beautiful bit of trivia for you, one you can definitely use at parties: According to the indespensible USA Today Salary Database, only one team in baseball history has won a World Series with a $100 million payroll. That team? Yep, the Boston Red Sox (twice — 2004 and 2007). I’m not saying that the Yankees will not win in 2009 — that’s an awfully good team now, absolutely the best that money can buy. But just remember that key fact — 20 teams have won World Series the last 30 years. And by comparison: Only 14 teams have won the Super Bowl over the last 30 years. Only 14 different men have won Wimbledon over the least 30 years. Only 13 teams have won the Stanley Cup over the last 30 years. Only NINE teams have won an NBA title over the last 30 years." ____________________________________ Actually, I think it was 4 teams not making the WS; he forgot Montreal/Washington. But the point remains valid. And there was this comment from a reader: _____________________________________ "Do you know what the Mariners, Orioles, Tigers, Mets, Cardinals, & Giants have in common? They all had payrolls over $90 million and didn’t make the playoffs in BOTH OF THE PAST 2 YEARS. And this year, the O’s, Tigers, Giants, and M’s were all last place teams…that’s 4 of 6 divisions. I could do a better job at GM than those guys. I seriously believe so." ___________________________________ The inclusion of SF is not exactly an error. They were 4th in 2008 but in last place in 2007. I have a listing of the top 10 and bottom 10 payrolls since 2004 along with the standings of each year but am not posting it as it is far too lengthy. In my view it does suggest that any effort to demonstrate a clear correlation between payroll and standings is futile, except perhaps at the extremes, and even there it is a tenuous and inconsistent relationship. Far more fruitful is to evaluate the caliber of the front offices. There is also this from Posnanski: __________________________________ "I also hear from some Yankees fans, who deny that the Yankees really have an unfair advantage — they point out that, hey, it’s not the Yankees fault that Steinbrenner(s) spends money. The Royals or Pirates or Reds could spend that money too if they weren’t so cheap. These people usually fail to point out that the Yankees (because of the size of New York, the enormity of the YES Network, corporate dollars and a new publicly funded stadium) pull in many, many, many times what the Royals, Pirates or Reds make." ____________________________________ I think the word "spend" is wrong. It should be "invest". And also, there is more than just salaries. Opening academies in Venezuela and Brazil, adding a GCL team, expanding the scouting in Asia and other investments are also part of investing in the team, perhaps a more efficient use of resources than merely signing free agents.
Another Rays' first as reported at Rays Prospects. Rays First MLB Team Into Brazil BrazilThe Tampa Bay Rays and the city of Marília, Brazil, have announced a partnership that will include construction of a training facility beginning in the first quarter of 2009. It will be the first baseball academy run by a Major League organization in Brazil. The academy will be constructed jointly by the local and federal governments, and will consist of two full playing fields, two diamonds for youth teams, and dormitories, which will accommodate up to 40 players. Adriano de Souza, who was hired in 2008 to scout Brazil for the Rays, will coordinate the academy. As part of the partnership between the municipal government of Marília and the Tampa Bay organization, the Rays will be scouting for baseball talent in Brazil, a country of 200 million. The Rays will also introduce baseball to groups between 7 and 14 years of age in the Marília area. The city of Marília has a population of 250,000 and is located 230 miles northwest of São Paulo. Marília resident Edno de Souza was instrumental in bringing together Rays Special Assistant for Baseball Operations Andres Reiner and Brazilian government officials including Marília Mayor Mario Bulgarelli and Vice Mayor Ticiano Toffoli. The year-long discussions, which resulted in an agreement concerning the financing and operation of the academy, also included Brazil Minister of Sports Orlando Silva, São Paolo State Deputy Sergio Nechar and former Brazil track star Jose Luiz Barbosa. Baseball, although overshadowed by soccer and track-and-field in Brazil, is widely played in the southern part of the country where the academy will be located. There are approximately one dozen Brazilians currently in the Minor League systems of Major League Baseball. No Brazilian has ever made it to the Major Leagues, although Jose Pett, a pitcher signed by the Toronto organization in 1992, reached as high as Triple-A.
Will Carroll seems cautiously optimistic about Garza's chance to stay healthy in 2009: "buddaley (Clearwater): Matt Garza had a huge increase in major league innings pitched from 2007-2008. Is there a serious concern that he may suffer from it in 2009? Will Carroll: He's definitely in the danger zone, but given what they did, I have a hard time saying I'd do anything different. Garza has an interesting arm with some physical "deformaties" in his elbow that actually strengthen it. I'm not sure what that means in the long term, but I'll bet the Rays will watch him closely. I'm not sure if there's anything a medical staff can do that trumps workload, so this is a good test."
From Posnanski's blog: Davy Johnson as a manager. _______________________________________ "I do believe, though, that there are certain hard-to-pinpoint and difficult-to0calculate things a good manager can do to help a team win. One of the best managers I ever wrote about on a regular basis was Davey Johnson in Cincinnati in 1994 and, especially, 1995. I couldn’t tell you precisely what Davey did so well … I saw it in bits and pieces. You could just see how relaxed the players were, how confident they were even after a couple of losses. He seemed to rest guys just when they needed it, he moved around his lineup without irritating the players, he kept everyone in the bullpen busy and somewhat contented. He allowed players to hit their way through slumps and pitch their way through rough patches, but he also did not hesitate to make changes when they had to be made. He gave stars enough respect that they played hard for him, but he also gave the backups the feeling that he believed in them and expected them to come through. The Reds played aggressively (led the National League in stolen bases and doubles) and yet they played patiently too (third in the league in walks). They had pretty good starting pitching and pretty good relief pitching without any real stars."
This was linked at "Outs Per Swing". I thought it funny: http://sportspickle.com/features/volume7/2008-0730-gm.html Incidentally, there are rumors that the kidnappers are negotiating with Friedman's next door neighbors who live in a huge mansion filled with children who disturb the neighborhood. Andy may want to make sure that deal does not happen.
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