Tampa Bay Rays (31 days until Opening Day)

The Rays and James Houser have found a loophole in his suspension.

The Rays added the Sarasota native to their 40-man roster in November to protect him from being taken in the Rule 5 draft, and that move apparently trumps the suspension, even when Houser is eventually sent to the minors—which he will be at some point in March.

Houser was originally suspended for 50-games with 17 games remaining in the 2007 season. He was also suspended for the Montgomery Biscuits’ playoff run. He had approximately 26 games remaining on the suspension. However, Houser was suspended as a minor leaguer. He is now technically a major leaguer (even if he is in the minors) and no longer subject to minor league roster rules. If Houser is ever out-righted off of the 40-man roster, he will be forced to finish serving the suspension.

Houser’s suspension evaporates [Rays Report]


  • Dioner Navarro will not see action until at least Monday. Navarro, who missed the beginning of camp late to be with his ailing mother, feels his arm is not quite ready to let loose. [Tampa Tribune]
  • In the same piece we learn that Rocco Baldelli’s 2008 outfield debut is now being pushed back to the end of next week. We know the team is just being cautious, but this sort of news makes us hang our head and cry a little. This is starting to sound eerily familiar. Last year it was “Rocco’s minor league rehab is being pushed back”. Then it was “Rocco should be able to join the Rays next week. Nope. Make that the week after. Nevermind. Rocco isn’t coming back.” We are hoping this is just some watered-down baseball version of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Rays of Light thinks the loophole that got James Houser out of his suspension for Performance Enhancing Drugs is a slap in the face of baseball’s drug testing system, and yet another sign that baseball is dropping the ball on this issue. [Rays of Light]
  • This is not the most flattering image of Evan Longoria we have ever seen. [Art of Beast]
  • While most of the roster spots are spoken for, there are still a number of decisions that Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon will have to make prior to opening day. Edwin Jackson who is battling for a spot in the rotation, says he is ready to go today in today’s spring opener. [Tampa Tribune]

“I’m ready to go,” Jackson said. “I know it’s not the season, but spring training’s still pretty important to me. Unless you have a roster spot on lock, you pretty much have to be in game mode if you’re trying to battle for a spot.”

  • The Bradenton Herald takes a look at the Rays Spring Training. With so few roster battles, the Rays will concentrate on fundamentals. At this point in the Spring batters are just trying to comfortable in the box, recognizing pitches. [Bradenton Herald]

“At this point, as a hitter, you try to get as comfortable as you possibly can in the box,” Pena said. “You focus on seeing the ball and recognizing pitches and getting to that comfort level that you want…The most important thing at this point is to get comfortable in the box. See the ball. See the ball, see the ball, see the ball, see the ball. Get that trust back with your eyes, trust in your hands. Pretty soon you start feeling that swing. Right there. Right there. Right there.”

  • Remember when we mentioned that PECOTA projected that the Rays would win 88 games? WEll, Bugs & Cranks did their own math and they are projecting the Rays to win 118 games. B&C said it, so it must be true. [Bugs & Cranks]
  • Yankees Chick takes a look at the 2008 Rays and their increased payroll. The tone of the piece is very…Ahhhh, how cute. [Yankees Chick]
  • We have mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again. The Rays will be partnering with the Moffitt Cancer Center to offer free skin cancer screenings at select Spring Training games. Tomorrow’s game versus the Jays will be the first game on the schedule. Follow the link for a full schedule of games. [Tampa Bay’s 10]


  1. Anonymous says:

    anybody know if the game today will be streamed over the internet?

  2. Clayton says:

    It appears not. I think you have to just watch the box score. I am vexed by this.

  3. Robert Rittner says:

    I hope it is not chivalry that is keeping you from criticizing Yankees Chick. Because I am quite sure she is wrong about the correlation of payroll and standings.

    At the extremes, there is some correlation, and even there it has not been nearly exact. But in the great majority, the broad middle that comprises perhaps 20-22 of the 30 teams, there has been practically no correlation between payroll and records.

    In fact, even in 2007, the correlation is very weak. While the 4 top payrolls all contended (NYY, Bos., NYM, LAA, the #5 payroll was the White Sox and #10 the Orioles. On the other hand, #23-26 respectively were the Indians, Padres, Rockies and D-Backs. While the White Sox stood at $108.7 million, only about $1/2 million behind the Angels and the Orioles were at $93.6 million, $4 million more than the Phillies, the Indians at $61.7 million were $5.5 million behind the Royals and $6.5 million behind the Rangers. And the D-Backs were $9.5 million more behind the Indians.

    I assume you are letting it go because it is not directly related to the Rays, but I do think it is one of the most common misconceptions around and that as a cliche it does enormous damage to any reasonable discussion of team payroll decisions.


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