Entries Tagged as 'Rays'

Four Rays ejected


Four Tampa Bay Rays were ejected in the same inning tonight. 

In their game against the St Louis Cardinals, Manager Joe Maddon, J.P Howell, David Price and Elliot Johnson were all given the thumb.

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Free Agency season starts today

It’s free agency season.  As of 12:01am today, all free agents are eligible to negotiate with all teams. 

ESPN has my free agent tracker of choice.  Take a look at it now while all free agents are rated “NR” which I guess stands for “No Regrets”. 

The average age of the 167 eligible free agents is 33.9 years old but that includes Brad Ausmus who I thought retired.  That skews it a bit by probably a tenth of the year or so. 

Ausmus isn’t the oldest though.  That honor belongs to reliever Trevor Hoffman who might like to add to his all-time leading 601 career saves in 2011.

Which team lost the most players to free agency?  The answer might surprise you.  The Tampa Bay Rays who succumbed twelve players including six pitchers.  

Throw Another Log on that Old Hot Stove

curtis-granderson-stealsSo far, the biggest trade was the three-way deal involving the Yankees, the Diamondbacks, and the Tigers.  New York got All Star centerfielder Curtis Granderson, enough said, they got the best player in the deal.  Arizona got starting pitchers Edwin Jackson & Ian Kennedy.  While Detroit landed centerfield prospect Austin Jackson, starting pitcher Max Scherzer, and a couple of lefties for their bullpen Phil Coke & Daniel Schlereth.

The Texas Rangers traded starter Kevin Millwood to the Orioles in exchange for reliever Chris Ray and Rule V selection Ben Snyder, the move was designed to free up money so Texas could sign free agent starter Rich Harden.  The Rangers had enough money left over to acquire thirdbaseman Mike Lowell for catching prospect Max Ramirez from the Red Sox.  Boston is interested in signing free agent thirdbaseman Adrian Beltre.

Pirates reliever Jesse Chavez has to be wondering whether it’s safe to unpack his bags, as he’s on his third team this offseason.  He was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, who just dealt him to the Atlanta Braves for reliever Rafael Soriano.  The Braves no longer needed Soriano, since bringing in Billy Wagner & Takashi Saito.

The Chicago White Sox brought in former Seattle Mariners closer J.J. Putz to replace Octavio Dotel, whom they chose not to retain.

2009 MLB Rookies of the Year

roy625nov162009Back in the middle of September I was assigned the task of predicting who would win the rookie of the year awards.  Now two months later the winners were announced, Oakland A’s reliever Andrew Bailey in the American League and Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan.  I had predicted Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler in the NL and Rangers SS Elvis Andrus in the AL.

In 2008 the A’s converted Bailey from a starter to a reliever in AA Ball in 2008.  Andrew immediately experienced success in the bullpen, carrying that success over into the 2008 Arizona Fall League, and on into the 2009 regular big league season.  He finished the season with 26 of 30 saves, a 6-3 record, a 1.84 ERA, with 91 strikeouts & 49 hits allowed in 83′ innings, and was Oakland’s lone All Star representative.

Chris Coghlan also enjoyed a conversion that enabled him to star in the big leagues, the former infielder was moved to leftfield.  He brought his bat out to the outfield with him, batting .321 with a .390 OBP, with 31 doubles, 6 triples, & 9 home runs, as the Marlins leadoff hitter.

Elvis Andrus, my choice for AL Rookie of the Year, the Rangers 21 year old shortstop out of Venezuela, finished 2nd in the balloting behind Bailey.  Elvis batted .267, with 33 stolen bases, 72 runs scored, & 128 base hits, with a very impressive range factor in the field of 4.86.  Right on the heels of Andrus was Detroit’s 20 year old righthanded starting pitcher Rick Porcello (14-9 & 3.96 ERA).  The 6’9″ Tampa Bay’s righthander, Jeff Niemann (13-6 & 3.94) was next, he was 17-0 with a 1.70 ERA as a Junior in 2003 with Rice.  Then came The Sporting News choice for Rookie of the Year, the White Sox very own, thirdbaseman Gordon Beckham (.270, 28 doubles, 14 homers, 63 RBIs).  Rounding out this crop of AL rookies was another pitcher from Oakland, southpaw Brett Anderson (11-11, 4.06 ERA, & 150 strikeouts in 175′ IP).

Closely behind Coghlan, over in the Senior Circuit, was The Sporting News choice for NL Rookie of the Year out of the University of Northwestern in Evanston, IL, Philadelphia’s lefthander J.A. Happ (12-4 & 2.93).  A distant 3rd was Atlanta’s phenom righthanded starting pitcher Tommy Hanson (11-4, 2.89, & 116 K’s in 127″ IP).  The Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen wasn’t far in back of Hanson, batting .286, 26 doubles, 9 triples, 12 homers, 74 runs scored, to go along with 22 steals, while playing a very good centerfield for the Buccos.  Next up the Brewers thirdbaseman Casey McGehee received some love, .301, 20 doubles, 16 homers, & 66 RBIs.  Interestingly six other rookies received very little support in their quest for league’s top rookie honors.  They were Randy Wells of the Cubs (12-10 & 3.05), Pittsburgh slugger Garrett Jones (21 HRs & .293), Padres SS Everth Cabrera (25 SBs & 59 runs), my choice Dexter Fowler Colorado outfielder (73 runs, 27 SBs, 29 2Bs, & 10 3Bs), Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra (.290, 21 2Bs, 8 3Bs, 60 RBIs), and last, but not least, Cardinals centerfielder Colby Rasmus (22 2Bs & 16 HRs).

2009 American League All Stars

derek-jeterThe Sporting News has announced the American League All Stars as selected by a panel of 31 major league general managers and GMs.  Joe Mauer received votes from all 17 AL executives who participated.

C Joe Mauer appeared in 138 games for the Twins, 109 behind the plate, leading the league with a .365 batting average (he also topped the league in average the year before with a .328 mark), while getting beat up at catcher.  Joe hit 28 homers, 30 doubles, and drove in 96, leading Minnesota to the postseason as Central Division champs.

1B Mark Teixeira powered the Yankees offense leading the league in homers (39) & RBIs 122, while batting .292, with 43 doubles, scoring 103 times, he also topped the Junior Circuit in total bases with 344.

2B Aaron Hill came back after suffering a concussion, which allowed him to only play 55 games the previous season, to have his best year ever.  Aaron batted .286 with 36 home runs & 37 doubles, driving in 108 & scoring 103 times.

3B Evan Longoria was the Rookie of the Year who was one of the leaders of the Rays who made it to the World Series last year, now he’s the best player at the hot corner.  He batted .281, with 33 longballs, 44 two base hits, drove in 113 & scored 100 times.

SS Derek Jeter is the captain & leader of the New York Yankees.  Jeter batted .334 with an OBP of .406, it was his job to get on for the big bats, steling 30 bases at the ripe old age of 35, he ripped 18 homers to go along with 27 doubles.

OF Ichiro Suzuki is known simply as Ichiro.  Since coming to the States all he’s done is hit, a lifetime batting average of .333, over 200 hits every season (9 years), and leading the league in hits the last four years.  This year Ichiro batted .352 with 225 hits, 31 doubles, 11 homers, and 26 steals.

OF Torii Hunter just missed batting .300, finishing the season with a .299 batting average, 22 homers, 90 RBIs, despite missing significant time due to injury.

OF Jason Bay has quickly found his Fenway Park stroke since coming over to the Red Sox, socking 36 homers, driving in 119, while scoring 103 runs.

DH Hideki Matsui joins three other Yankees on this year’s all star squad.  Due to injuries Matsui took over the team’s fulltime DH duties to keep him healthy and to keep his potent bat in the lineup.  It worked as Hideki hit 28 home runs & drove in 90 for the Bronx Bombers.

SP Zack Greinke seems to have it altogether for the Royals, being named Pitcher of the Year.  16-8 with a league best 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 229′ innings, doesn’t begin to tell the story of this youngster’s dominance, with any kind of run support at all he certainly would’ve been a twenty game winner.

RP Mariano Rivera There are closers, then there is Mariano Rivera.  He is that good, he is a step above every other closer in the game, and like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better with age.  He has this cutter, a gift from God, the hitters know it’s coming, but can’t do anything to hit it.  He has taught his famous cutter to a few pitchers throughout the league, to the chagrin of many hitters.  This year Mo, at the age of 39, had 44 saves to go along with a 1.76 ERA, ho-hum.

10/4/09 Linescore of the Day: Alex Rodriguez

arodAlex Rodriguez had the Linescore of the Day, or rather of the Inning, against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, as he drove in seven runs in the 6th inning (an inning RBI mark for the AL).  His seven runs batted in helped propel the Yankees to a 10-2 (all ten NY runs coming in the 6th) victory in their final game of the year, the team’s 103 win of the season.  ARod ripped a three run homer in his 1st at bat of the inning and he came to the plate with the bases loaded in his 2nd time up, after the Rays intentionally walked Mark Teixeira, and Rodriguez cleared off the bases with his 30th dong, giving him 100 RBIs for the season, in only 124 games, due in part to hip surgery, AMAZING!

Alex Rodriguez 3 for 4, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs (in the 6th, including a GS), 2 runs

10/2/09 Linescore of the Day: B.J. Upton

uptonIt was a mismatch from the onset, C.C. Sabathia (going for his 20th win) & the Yankees against rookie David Price & the Rays.  When the smoke had settled a 13-4 beat-down occurred, thirteen runs on seventeen hits, 5 for 5 by one player, one starting lefthander only allowed two hits over seven innings.  Who was the star with five hits, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, didn’t the Yankees already clinch, why did they have to be so rough on Tampa Bay?  Funny thing is B.J. Upton of the Rays was the 5 for 5 guy, including being the first player in Rays history to hit for the cycle, C.C. Sabathia was the hurler who was shelled, while Price totally dominated the Pinstripers from the Bronx.  Upton came into the game with a disappointing .236 batting average.

B.J. Upton 5 for 5, 2 singles, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 3 runs

Zimmer recovering from ztroke

Word is out that Don Zimmer is recovering from a stroke he had last month.  He is doing much better and actually hopes to join the Rays for spring training this year. 

The game of baseball has taken Zim all around the majors wearing different hats.  Even after he left the Cubs in 1991, has always remained one of my favorite men in baseball and I sincerely hope he gets back soon,

The Bartlett Vote

There’s already been plenty of discussion all around why Evan Grant left Red Sox secondbaseman Dustin Pedroia off his ballot. He’s been getting plenty of flak for that already.

But another ballot move that’s been deemed questionable (perhaps more so at least in my opinion), is the Tampa Bay chapter of the BBWAA giving Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett a fifth place vote on the MVP ballot.

Bartlett, who hardly played a full season at 128 games and 454 at-bats, didn’t wow anyone at the plate.  He batted .286 with a .329 OBP and .361 slugging percentage.  He had no power (1 homerun) and little production (48 runs and 37 rbis).

Opinions are mixed on Rays blogs but they range from “too much is being made of the Bartlett vote” to “what was he thinking?”

I don’t live and die with the Rays and I couldn’t tell you what got them to the World Series.  And I won’t bore you by comparing teammates Evan Longoria’s or Carlos Pena’s stats.

But that said, Jason Bartlett for MVP??  Really?


Elvis has left the ballpark and he took with him my six game winning streak, which is all gone. Though my streak was only against KC & SEA, it was still a streak, you have to beat the bad teams.

It was Elvis night out at the Cell, took the L down with Mom & Dad, got there just as the gates opened. Listened to an Elvis impersonator before going inside. Introduced the folks to all my friends at the ballpark, Tade brought his uncles (John & Joe), Dick & Bea were there, so were Terry & Bubba.

Before the game there was a very nice tribute to Andy the cameraman. His camera was laid on the field, covered with a teeshirt with the number one & AndyCam on the back, surrounded by his family, the scoreboard featured a montage of his life at the ballpark with his camera. He really seemed to love his job, smiling in every picture, far too young to go, 52, my age. There was a moment of silence and a standing ovation.

The Rays opened the game by putting runners on second & third with nobody out. John Danks fielded a bleeder between home and the pitcher’s mound, sprinted toward home, and dove fullout, tagging the runner out, A.J. had gone out to try to field the ball. Moments later Pierzynski would get his opportunity to tag out a runner at the dish, on the tail end of a 7-2 DP to end the top of one, remarkably without any runs scoring.

The Sox didn’t score in the first as with two out and the bases loaded, Edwin Jackson got Alexei Ramirez to popup. Then in the 2nd inning, Ken Griffey, Jr. didn’t challenge centerfielder B.J. (Bossman Junior) Upton’s arm on a single by Orlando Cabrera, with Griffey on 2nd after a double, Chicago stranded two more.

Finally in the 4th Nick Swisher went yard for a two run bomb. Swisher wore an Elvis wig on the field before & after the game. The Sox then squandered two base runners in the 4th, when both Juan Uribe & Cabrera were caught.

Chicago trailed 3-2 in the 7th when Danks was relieved by Matt Thornton, Matt got Carlos Pena swinging with two on and two out. But Octavio Dotel resembled Fat Elvis when he allowed three runs in the 8th, then Horacio Ramirez was nothing but a Hound Dogs when he surrendered three more in the 9th. Adam Russell came on to close the barn door, but the horse was long gone. Alexei Ramirez hit a two run rocket to left in the 8th, but there was no way to overcome the bullpen imploding.

Final score, Bad Guys win it, 9-4.

The fireworks after the game, done to Elvis songs, were tremendous! Then there were Flying Elvi parachuting onto the field. Lotsa fans dressed up, you can get a sample at www.whitesox.com/fanfoto gallery 70 (me, Tade, & Dick each have a picture on the board).

I’m going to miss the last two games of this series with the Rays, leaving early in the morning for California, won’t be back at the Cell till September 5th.

So I’ll give a big shout out, LET’S GO WHITE SOX!!!