Tampa Bay Rays (34 days until pitchers and catchers report)

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • With three spots in the rotation spoken for (Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza), Joe Maddon stated that five pitchers will compete for the final two spots including Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine, Jeff Niemann, Jason Hammel and JP Howell. Obviously Jackson, Sonnanstine and Hammel have the edge as the imcumbants and Howell has experience, but don’t rule out Jeff Niemann. He will be 25 and he has 239 innings under his belt as a minor leaguer. He and Jackson have the biggest upside and Jackson so far has been crap-tastic. If he was 22 the team may worry about feeding him to the lions. And he is far enough removed from his shoulder problems that arm strength should no longer be a factor. Now it is just a matter of whether or not the team thinks he can get the job done. If not, it won’t be long before we see him in the bullpen. [TampaBay.com]
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have until January 18 to work out contracts with Scott Kazmir, Carlos Pena, Jonny Gomes and Dan Wheeler. All four players are arbitration eligible and next Friday is the deadline for both sides to submit offers for the arbitration hearing. As an organization, the Rays have a policy of “File-and-go”, meaning they will negotiate with a player once the figures have been submitted to the arbitrator. That policy seems sound when dealing with a player like Josh Paul last season or Dan Wheeler this season, but it is a big gamble when dealing with young super-duper-stars like Kazmir and Pena. The Rays risk alienating their young stars as teams are forced to present an argument to the arbitrator based on all the reasons why that player is not worth the money he is asking for. That being said, Andrew Friedman stated on Thusday that he would be surprised if the team did not reach deals with all four players. [The Ledger]

“We would prefer to avoid a hearing,” Friedman said. “It’s in place to resolve differences, and it’s there in the event we can’t. But we hope to be able to avoid it and reach a resolution. If we get to Friday and file numbers, we’re going to a hearing. It’s our policy.”

  • The Rays are expected to make a decision on whether or not Evan Longoria will be the opening day starter prior to Spring Training, which gives the team about one month to come to a conclusion. Interestingly, Joe Maddon who has repeatedly stated in the past that he makes few roster decisions based on Spring Training performance and that he prefers to judge a player based on what he did the previous season, does not approve of the team’s choice to make a decision prior to Spring Training. [TBO]

“I’m into seeing it play out,” Maddon said. “I’ve often said it and I’ll say it again: I’m really not a big proponent of evaluating players during spring training, but when you have so many close calls, sometimes you have to rely upon that.”

  • In addition to Evan Longoria, other players not on the 40-man roster that will be invited to Spring Training include Reid Brignac, Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Chris Mason. I predict blue hair for Mason. [TBO]
  • On Wednesday night, over 300 people gathered at Tropicana Field to hold a public discussion about the Tampa Bay Rays proposal to build a new stadium along the St. Pete waterfront and redevelop the land that is currently home to the Trop. Two people protested outside the stadium. [TampaBay.com]
  • The Rays announced a number of changes to their coaching, training and scouting staffs. [DevilRays.com]
  • 365 Days of Dough, Rays, and Me breaks down one set of statistical projections for the Rays. [365 Days of Dough, Rays and Me]
  • Spring Training tickets went on sale this morning. [Tampa Bay 10]
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1 Comment

  1. Marc says:

    Thanks for the blog reference.

    I really appreciate it!

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