Devil Rays 17, Orioles 2.
In last night’s offensive outburst, Brendan Harris hit his first home run since June 18. Teamed with Ben Zobrist and Josh Wilson, the Rays have been sporting below-average hitters and brick-glove defensemen at the shortstop position. With Reid Brignac still at least a year away from contributing at the major league level, shortstop is the one defensive position that the Rays would like to upgrade in the off-season. There are three possible moves for 2008.
The first option is that the Rays will stay with Brendan Harris and/or Josh Wilson for one more season as they await the arrival of Brignac. This is the trickiest of the potential moves. Both Harris and Wilson are below-average defensively, at best. Wilson is atrocious, while Harris is simply blessed with the range of a person with their feet stuck in cement. Offensively, both players are passable as major leaguers with Harris having the potential to break out. After a near-all-star level performance in the first half (.310-8-39), Harris has cooled off considerably in the second-half (.253-1-15).
Acquiring a shortstop via a trade is always possible, but the most difficult to predict. While the team can never assume the future arrival of a minor league prospect, the team would have to view the team’s starting shortstop in 2008 as a one or two year solution at most. It is hard to imagine the team would part with any key pieces to acquire a player that may only be needed for one season.
In the past, opening the checkbook and signing a veteran free agent would seem as likely as Chuck LaMar ever being given another chance to run a major league baseball team. But Stuart Sternberg and Andrew Friedman have promised that money will be spent on the right players and when the time is right. While pitching is the most likely target during free agency, signing a veteran shortstop to a 2-year deal could be a solution to the team’s opening in the middle of the infield.
The Baseball Analysts have compiled a list of shortstops that will be free agents at the end of the year.
David Eckstein STL
Cesar Izturis PIT
Ramon E Martinez LAD
John McDonald TOR
Neifi Perez DET
Juan Uribe CHW
Omar Vizquel SF
This is your year if you like good-field, no-hit shortstops. Even steroids haven’t helped one of the members of this punchless group.
First of all, please do not let the Rays sign David Eckstein. He looks like he is going to get a hernia everytime he throws a ball across the diamond.
But what about Juan Uribe? He would look to make about $3 million per season. But would he be willing to sign a 2-year deal with a club option for 2010? Is the marked improvement in defense worth the pricetag?
A Preview of This Year’s Free Agent Class: Part One – The Hitters [The Baseball Analysts]
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- The Devil Rays set new marks for most runs (17) and hits (22) in a game at the Trop last night. Carlos Pena had two home runs and now has 11 in his past 17 games, adding more digits to his 2008 salary. His seven RBI are a new franchise record for a single game. [TBO]
- The Devil Rays have scored 101 runs in their past 12 games, tops in the majors. The pitching staff has walked only 28 batters over that stretch, which is the third lowest total. The team is 9-3 in that stretch. [Devil Rays]
- Carl Crawford was suspended for 2 games for his little tirade the other night. Crawford will appeal the suspension. [TBO]
- Carl Crawford has been named as the Devil Rays nominee for the Roberto Clemente award given to a player that “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” [MLB]
- Andy Sonnanstine is proving very difficult to steal against. He has allowed only 1 stolen base in 439 batters faced. [Roto Authority]