Tampa Bay Rays (36 days until pitchers and catchers report)
Like any major redevelopment, the Tampa Bay Rays will have to win a lot of fights along the way as opposition will pop up everywhere. After removing their request for $60 million in state subsidies, the next fight that is starting to brew is the quest to protect the Manatee and how filling a portion of the St. Pete waterfront will affect the endangered species.

“The manatees need to be protected,” said Cathy Harrelson, chairwoman of the coastal task force for the Suncoast Sierra Club. “It is a very big concern.”

“The environment is just the tip of it,” said Lorraine Margeson, an environmental activist opposed to the ballpark. “To me, right now this gives every reason to take this plan right off the map, not even waste our time talking about desecrating the city’s waterfront when there is no need for the city to do this.”

Stadium plans call for dumping fill dirt over six-tenths of an acre of Tampa Bay to create about 26,000 square feet of new land, the equivalent of three house lots. The Rays would then reroute Bayshore Drive across the new land, making the road bow out into the bay.

For those that are not familiar with my daytime job, I work directly with endangered sea mammals. So I am very familiar with the plight of the Manatee and always err on the side of caution when it comes to endangered animals. BUT…this fight reeks of rich people suddenly giving a shit about an animal, only because it suits their needs. As soon as the stadium issue is resolved…either way…these people will be fighting for the Manatees as much as OJ Simpson is searching for the real killers.

Opponents say Rays, Manatees don’t mix [TampaBay.com]

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • The Sporting News ranks the AL starting rotations. The Rays quintet comes in at #10 (out of 14). We are torn here. Before we read the list, we were worried that this would be another writer that jumped on the Rays rotation bandwagon. We have seen some say that the Rays now have one of the best. And with Scott Kazmir, James Shields and Matt Garza, the Rays have one of the better trios. But those seem to ignore Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine. And while both have the potential to be much better, the truth is, the Rays will be an underdog in almost every single one of their starts. That is 40% of the schedule. Now saying that, #10 seems a bit low, but looking at the list, we are not sure who we would bump. So maybe #10 is about right. [Sporting News]
  • The Hardball Times used some fancy math to calculate how many runs each outfielder prevented based on their arm in 2007. BJ Upton was rated as the best arm in center field. Delmon Young rated as the fourth best right fielder and Carl Crawford came in as the 20th “best” left fielder…Nobody has ever questioned Upton’s arm strength, but when Bossman Junior was playing shortstop, he often threw the ball as if he was trying to give a souvenir to every fan behind the first base dugout. In the outfield he has more room for error, and psychologically, he probably thrives with the freedom to just “let ‘er rip”. Crawford’s poor ranking is no surprise as he does have below-average arm strength and often has the accuracy of a blind man. Still. 20th? Among left fielders? The left fielder is generally the outfielder with the weakest arm and Crawford is one of the worst of the bunch, meaning CC ranks among the worst arms in baseball. Maybe he should try throwing right-handed. [The Hardball Times]
  • And yet, one blogger lists Carl Crawford as the third best outfielder in baseball. [Dionne’s Dugout]
  • Rays Anatomy excerpted an interview with Jim Callis in which he covers the Rays farm system in depth. The most telling point is the prediction that David Price will be in the majors by September at the latest. [Rays Anatomy]
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  1. Robert Rittner says:

    "But those seem to ignore Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine. And while both have the potential to be much better, the truth is, the Rays will be an underdog in almost every single one of their starts. That is 40% of the schedule."
    _________________________________
    I would not argue that this is possible, but I do think it is a bit more pessimistic than necessary. I looked at every potential 4th & 5th starter in the AL, fully aware that things can change and I might have missed some, and I am not sure that Jackson and Sonnanstine are even usually a probable underdog when facing them let alone definitely so in almost every single one of their starts.

    I may underrate some of these pitchers, but among them I think are some where the matchup would not necessarily favor the other team: Loewen, Olson, Litsch, Mussina, Laffey, Davies, DeLaRosa, Robertson, Danks, Slowey, Baker, Floyd, Duchscherer, DiNardo, Gabbard, Loe, Horacio Ramirez, Baek, Dickey. Even pitchers like Saunders, Ervin Santana, Wakefield and Willis come with serious enough question marks that we should not assume the Rays' pitchers will not be favored in those matchups.

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