Tampa Bay Rays (66-96)
It takes three things to win in baseball: Pitching, Pitching and Pitching.

On Wednesday, the Rays added Matt Garza to a rotation that already features two of the best young pitchers in baseball, in Scott Kazmir and James Shields. Garza, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, was ranked #21 in Baseball America’s list of “2007 Top 100 Prospects”.

Earlier this week we mentioned that MiLB was unveiling their top 50 prospects and shortstop Reid Brignac was the first Rays farmhand to make the list at #32. Well, considerably more of the list has been revealed and three more Rays prospects have made the list, all starting pitchers.

11. David PriceHe’s got tremendous stuff, with a plus fastball, slider and above-average changeup, excellent command of his pitches and the kind of leadership on the mound that screams “future ace.” Price has great makeup and is extremely competitive. Add in the fact that this enticing package all comes in a left-hander and it’s no wonder he nearly hit the top 10.

12. Wade DavisDavis and McGee. McGee and Davis. It doesn’t matter in which order you put them (though on this list, Davis is ranked higher); both will reach Tampa in short order and help support its quickly improving young offense. Davis got the bump up to Double-A in 2007 earlier than McGee and thus might be a touch closer to joining Scott Kazmir in the Rays’ rotation.

20. Jake McGeeIf the Rays are known mostly for their young offensive talent, McGee is a big reason why they’ll soon be known for pitching as well…Another year in the Minors wouldn’t be a bad thing, but he could be ready by late 2008 should the need arise.

With the top 10 yet to be revealed, we don’t know yet whether Evan Longoria will come in at #1, but he will be on the list, which gives the Rays five players in the top 32 and four in the top 20, including three starting pitchers, two of whom are left handed.

One can never assume that prospects will be productive major leaguers, much less develop into a perennial all-star. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that all three of these starting pitchers develop into mid-rotation major league starting pitchers, with one of them blossoming into an ace. If the Rays struggle to sign Soctt Kazmir to a long-term contract, there is a very good chance he will be traded following the 2009 season. Until then? Let’s enjoy the show.

2007 Top 100 Prospects [Baseball America]
Promotions lead to changing of the guard in 2007 [MiLB]


  • Troy Percival passed his physical yesterday and will be introduced today as the Rays new closer. The deal is 2 years for $8 million, with up to $2 million in incentives. [tampabay.com]
  • ESPN is reporting that the Rays have talked to Geoff Jenkins agent for the purpose of playing right field for the Rays in 2008. We understand that it is the Rays responsibility to explore all options, but Jenkins is a player the Rays DO NOT want. He hit a combined 38 home runs the past two seasons and hit .255 last year. He just completed a long-term deal with the Brewers that paid him over $7 million each of the last 4 seasons. What is he commanding on the open market? We have no idea. But if it is more than the league minimum it is too much. A combination of Justin Ruggiano and Jonny Gomes can produce the .255-21-64 line Jenkins produced last year and play defense just as well, if not better. [ESPN]
  • Baseball America has the best breakdown yet of all six players involved in the Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza trade. [Baseball America]
  • Marc Lancaster has quotes from a conference call with Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett. [TBO]

Garza seems to be a live wire, certainly not lacking in confidence, who already has studied up on the Rays and is definitely excited to be coming to Tampa Bay. Bartlett was a bit more reserved and was surprised by the trade, but that fits his businesslike reputation.

  • Beyond the Boxscore examines the numbers posted by the six players involved in the trade. [Beyond the Boxscore]
  • One Twins blogger thinks the Twins finally got the “uncontrollable hotheaded immature player” that they needed, demonstrating Delmon Young’s effect on the Minnesota clubhouse with…Legos [MN Gameday]
  • Yahoo! Sports takes a look at the Rays off-season needs and 2008 projections. We lost them when they referred to Scott Kazmir and James Shields as “a reasonable one-two”. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • A lighter take on the Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza trade. [Fox Sports]
  • One blogger thought it was important enough to take time from his busy life to let everybody know that the Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza trade was not a “blockbuster” as many people have referred to it…Apparently trading a #1 overall pick that hit .290 and drove in 90 and has one of the best arms in baseball, AT AGE 21…for one of the top 20 prospects in baseball does not qualify for “blockbuster” status. We all owe Blogging Baseball an apology. [Blogging Baseball]
  • A collection of YouTube clips featuring the three players acquired from the Twins. [DRaysBay]


  1. Robert Rittner says:

    I agree absolutely that if Jenkins requires more than 2 years the Rays should stay away. And I doubt the Rays can sign him given the market.

    But if he is available to them for 2 years, he is worth a lot more than minimum. Right Field and DH are huge holes right now. The existence of 4 options is not depth; it is desperation. Not one of the 4 is likely to succeed next year, either because of character, injury or lack of major league talent. It's like saying you have depth at shortstop because you have 4 Josh Wilsons available.

    Decline or not, Jenkins hits righties well. 18 of his home runs came against righties last year in 393 plate appearances. He is not a star, but he is a legitimate major league hitter, especially against righties and would be very valuable as a platoon RF/DH.

    Relying on Dukes or Baldelli is hoping for lightening to strike; it is not a plan. Gomes is so prone to long slumps that his power outbursts are pretty much neutralized by the disaster he is much of the time. And Ruggiano's career which includes 151 Ks and 20 home runs in 482 ABs in AAA at age 25 suggests he cannot be a major league regular.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Of course it is not a blockbuster. Don't you know that "blockbuster" only applies when the Sox, Yanks or a Chicago or California team is involved?

  3. The Professor says:

    i dont disagree that Jenkins is an upgrade. the problem is...he is only a slight upgrade over what is available in-house. so it is not worth the price. I would rather the team spent the money elsewhere.

    if the team really wants to add a left-handed bat, I would prefer Tony Clark, who would could slightly cheaper. Clark could DH and let Maddon play the healthy/hot bat in right.

  4. Robert Rittner says:

    I am only considering the talent, not the cost. I would not sign him for any more than 2 years or at a cost that would inhibit the Rays from other choices. And as I said, I do not think the Rays can do that, so we agree.

    As for other options, that is where I disagree. I do not think the Rays need to be desperate and sign someone like Jenkins regardless of cost and years, but I do think it is wishful thinking to consider the in-house options viable. They are simply long shots to contribute in the major leagues. It might happen, but you cannot plan as if they will.

    Incidentally, there is a note that Dukes had a run-in in the Dominican League and may get suspended. It may not be much, just an incident that is magnified because of his history, but it is not a good sign.

  5. Mücahit says:

    Pitching, Pitching and Pitching.


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