Tampa Bay Rays (66-96)
Correction: On Friday we mentioned that Saturday was the deadline for offering arbitration to all players that are arbitration eligible. In fact, the deadline was only for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents. Players with at least three years, but less than six years of major league experience, are also eligible for arbitration, but there is a separate deadline for teams to offer those players arbitration. That would be the non-tender deadline of December 12…Trying to understand baseball’s contract rules is often like trying to understand the tax code or Joe Maddon’s starting lineups.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • We have yet another new Tampa Bay Rays website in the blogosphere, The Rays Way. The new blogger is younger, but he is a diehard Rays fan, which is not always the case with some of these sites. We are not saying a site cannot be good if it is not run by fans, but there is something that is added to the mix when the writer(s) have an emotional attachment to the team they are covering. So if you have a moment, stop by and welcome The Rays Way to the neighborhood. [The Rays Way]
  • We think Marc Topkin is in Nashville for the winter meetings. We say “think” because there is no by-line on the blog post. We also assume it is Topkin (and not Eduardo Encina) because the writer announces that he will not report on every rumor because “so many of them are made up”. And we already know that Topkin is the one person that always just knows what rumors are true, and which are not. [tampabay.com]
  • Marc Lancaster thinks the Rays will not be very active at the winter meetings (despite still needing a left bat, a lefty reliever, a backup catcher and a right fielder, not to mention possibly adding a veteran starting pitcher). [TBO]

But when the Tampa Bay contingent rolls into the Opryland Hotel this morning for four days of non-stop talk, if not necessarily much action, the group can take comfort in knowing most of its frontline needs already have been addressed.

  • On the other hand, Roger Mooney believes the Rays may actually open up their wallet. This seems to be a bit far in the other direction. Based on the moves already made and speculating on arbitration values, the Rays 2008 Payroll is in the neighborhood of $38 million already, which is already a couple of million over their projected payroll increase of 20%. More likely the additions will come via trade [Bradenton Herald]
  • The St. Pete Times has a story that shows the Rays have a lot of hoops to jump through before they get approval to build a new stadium. IF they can successfully maneuver the gauntlet, they will break ground in less than 500 days. [St. Pete Times]
  • The Rule 5 Draft is on Thursday and the Rays have the first pick, should they decide to use it. MLB Trade Rumors has a source that the Rays may select outfielder Brian Barton, and outfielder in AA for the Indians. He is a speedster that has posted strong OPS numbers throughout the minors, but some worry that the numbers may be skewed because he has always been older than most of his competition and may not be a major league talent. It would cost the Rays $50,000 to select Barton and would have to keep him on the 25-man roster all season long or offer him back to the Indians for $25,000. In addition there are several Rays players that may be selected by other teams, including Dale Thayer and Nick DeBarr. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • A statistical look at Brian Barton and the other top prospects that are available in the Rule 5 draft. [Beyond the Boxscore]
  • The Rays have already had one of their busiest off-seasons in team history, but there is still plenty of work to do. All of the sudden there is a glaring hole in right field that may or may not be able to be filled by some combination of Rocco Baldelli, Jonny Gomes and Justin Ruggiano, none of whom screams huge 2008 numbers. The team also needs a left-handed bat, a veteran catcher to back up Dioner Navarro, and a lefty in the bullpen. [Devil Rays]
  • If the goal of the Tampa Bay Rays brass was to get more people to pay attention to the Rays, it looks like it is working. The Tampa Bay Bucs are now 8-4, following a game that I am fairly certain took a couple of days off of my life, and are playing their best ball since the Super Bowl season…yet Best Bucs Blog took time to write a post about the Tampa Bay Rays and all the changes that have occurred or have been proposed, entitled “Cautiously Optimistic”. The title is an apt one. There is still a lot of work to do. [Best Bucs Blog]
  • Before last season we called for people to jump on board the Devil Rays Bandwagon, so as to enjoy the ride to the top. With all the recent changes others are starting to take notice and are ready to jump on board. [New University]
  • It was no surprise, but on Friday, Joe Maddon named Troy Percival the team’s 2008 closer. While Al Reyes is the most directly affected, Juan Salas will also have a considerably different role in 2008. If Reyes were to be the closer in 2008, the Rays would have likely given Salas occasional save opportunities with the purpose of auditioning as well as training Salas to be the closer for 2009 and beyond. With Percy on board for the next two seasons, Salas, who has options remaining, may now begin the season in Durham as the Bulls’ closer. [TBO]
  • We have no doubt that Troy Percival is great in the clubhouse, and he may be a great presence for the other relievers, but lets ease up on all the talk of the “leadership” effect from a player that spends at least 8 innings of every game sitting in the bullpen. [TBO]
  • Dennis Maffezzoli thinks that the Rays added a couple of big pieces in Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett, in addition he believes trading Delmon Young might have been addition-by-subtraction. [Herald-Tribune]
  • With the loss of Delmon Young, the price for Carl Crawford just went up. We wouldn’t go so far as to say he is “untouchable” as the Chicago Tribune suggests, but the bounty would be great. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Oh, It’s THOSE Girls wrote an open letter to new Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett. Apparently they are going to miss his baseball skills and his cuteness, and have named him an “honorary boyfriend”. [Oh, It’s THOSE Girls]
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5 Comments

  1. Syar Og says:

    For what good reason would they put salas down? because there bull pen would have too much potential and would still want an opportunity to suck. I see no reason for salas to be taken out of the bullpen, he adds alot of ptoential and depth to this bullpen, and he really isnt THAT young, beignthat he changed positions in the minors.

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  2. The Professor says:

    it is a numbers game.

    7 spots.

    At this point Percy, Reyes and Wheeler are LOCKS.

    that leaves 4 spots

    Maddon always speaks well of Glover and Dohmann and both happen to be out of options (cant go to minors without clearing waivers)

    That leaves 2 spots

    Even though Maddon left Spring Training in 06 and 07 without a lefty, that wont happen this year. the last two seasons have season long spring trainings and auditions. this year is about winning. so one spot goes to a lefty, whoever that is.

    That leaves 1 spot.

    The team needs to have a long reliever in the pen. That is going to be Jason Hammel, who also happens to be out of options.

    Barring changes...2008 Bullpen
    Percy
    Reyes
    Wheeler
    Glover
    Dohmann
    Hammel
    Lefty

    Could Salas bump Glover or Dohmann? Maybe, but the team risks losing that pitcher to waivers. Would that bother me? Not necessarily, but going on Maddon's comments, I think his mind is already made up on those two and they will be around.

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  3. Syar Og says:

    As for the rule 5 draft, have you read up on Chris Lubanski? I hear hes available and hes a lefty, sounds like a good fit also.

    Ps Drays Bay has an blog about if he were gm, chuck lamar would be proud.

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  4. The Professor says:

    Lubanksi had some big numbers but has n't sustained them the last two seasons. the thing that scares me is he is only listed as 180 despite being 6'3". This suggests that he could be a power hitter if he could ever pack on some weight.

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  5. Robert Rittner says:

    Knowing how concerned you were about it, I checked and discovered, rather easily, that Topkin is indeed in Nashville. It is under his byline in the St. Pete Times. I would have mentioned this yesterday, but had already recycled the paper and wanted to be absolutely certain that I had not misled you.

    He does have an article that identifies some of the rumors circulating there and as always, he handles them responsibly, not validating or rejecting them until he has more information.

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