Deadspin has started their baseball previews and on day 1 they give us our beloved Rays. The first two-thirds of the post is a recap of the 2006 implosion (that sound was us banging our collective heads on the keyboard…over and over and over and over). We recommend skipping to the last five paragraphs, unless of course you are a masochist. Some interesting tidbits…
The author speculates that another poor performance this year could lead to Joe Maddon’s dismissal. That is probably a bit premature. The team has publicly stated that this is a second year of “evaluation”. We would be shocked if Maddon was not back with the team in 2008 no matter what the results of 2007. The team has two option years on Maddon’s contract after this season. Most teams make decisions on managers before the final year of a contract. So don’t expect a move either way on Maddon until after 2008.
Maddon used 140 different lineups last year. We are amazed that he actually repeated a previous lineup 22 times. Maddon has received a lot of criticism for this and sometimes it is warranted, but Maddon has stated that he would love to have a regular lineup. Again, during this evaluation period, expect more lineup shuffling, although less than 2006, and even less in 2008 as the team and the players settle into their respective roles.
We have covered this before, but Andrew Friedman nor anybody else from the organization has EVER said that Carl Crawford was untouchable. This rumor has run rampant since devilrays.com ran a poorly titled article. The article was originally entitled “Baldelli continues to draw interest; Crawford will stay put” despite the fact that Crawford was never mentioned in the article. In fact, the article’s title was later changed (which can still be seen HERE) most likely at the request of the Rays front office. Are you telling us that if the Twins came and offered Johan Santana and Justin Morneau, the Rays would say ‘No’? Friedman has actually stated that nobody is untouchable but that they were not actively shopping C. C…Big difference.
A couple of days ago we ran a list of 11 questions entering the 2007 Spring Training. The St. Pete Times could only come up with nine. Pathetic.
An interesting look at the AL pitching staffs from 2006. The Rays starters actually put up some above average numbers. But when they take into account how deep the staff worked in games, they weren’t so good after all.
Some mathematical projections for Delmon Young in 2007. The four models are fairly consistent. Looks like we can expect about a .300 average with about 15 home runs.