If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and what they will do, and why. Unlike most team blogs, we do not very often tell you what the Tampa Bay Rays should do. However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans.
On the twelfth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, TWELVE major league pitchers on the 25-man roster…
Let’s take a look back at the 2007 Tampa Bay Rays and the twelve pitchers that made the opening day roster and their final VORP values…
(not a typo…Seo opened the season as the Rays #2 starter…seriously)
VORP for a pitcher is the number of runs prevented (positive VORP) or given up (negative VORP) in comparison to a replacement-level player. For example, if Scott Kazmir had been injured before the season and the Rays replaced him in the rotation with a “freely available” pitcher (a slightly below average pitcher that is a free agent) the replacement pitcher would have allowed approximately 46 more runs over the course of a season.
As can be seen from numbers, six Devil Rays pitchers posted VORP values in 2007 below replacement-level. In other words if the Rays would have cut those six players prior to the season and just signed six random cheap free agent pitchers, the Rays would have allowed approximately 68 fewer runs.
The Rays began to address this problem during the 2007 season, as two of the biggest culprits, Fossum and Seo were dropped from the rotation and replaced by Andy Sonnanstine and Jason Hammel. The Rays then made a significant improvement to the bullpen with a trade that landed Dan Wheeler. The makeover continued this off-season with the acquisitions of Matt Garza and Troy Percival.
While the rotation and bullpen were much improved by the end of the 2007 season, there is still significant work to be done. Even with those additions there are still two spots in the rotation and at least two spots in the bullpen that will potentially be filled with a player that is a marginal major leaguer at best. There is still time to add more major league talent to the roster through a trade or free agency, but that will count for two pitchers, at most. That leaves at least two and as many as five pitchers that will begin the season on the Rays’ roster that will need to significantly improve their performance.
Last season, the Devil Rays opened the season with six pitchers with a negative VORP value. That is six pitchers that did not deserve to be on a major league roster in 2007. In essence, the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays opened the season with only six major league pitchers on their staff. If the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays are going to take a significant step forward, they will need twelve pitchers on the staff.
On the twelfth day of Raysmas, all Rays fans want is TWELVE major league pitchers, and…
ELEVEN walk-off wins [Day 11]
TEN meaningful games in September [Day 10]
NINE no-hit innings from Scott Kazmir [Day 9]
EIGHT ejections for Joe Maddon [Day 8]
SEVEN relatively healthy months of Rocco Baldelli [Day 7]
SIX months with at least 14 wins [Day 6]
FIVE players with at least 25 home runs [Day 5]
FOUR winning records against AL East foes [Day 4]
THREE AL All-Stars [Day 3]
TWO new pitchers in the rotation by the all-star break [Day 2]
ONE Evan Longoria in the opening day lineup [Day 1]