Tampa Bay Rays (11 days until Opening Day)
Yesterday: Tampa Bay Rays 3, Phillies 1.
The Good: This is why we hate Edwin Jackson. He will pitch like Bob Gibson about once a month and you start thinking man, what if he did this all the time, he could win a Cy Young. But then the next three starts he will get knocked around and he walk the ballpark. Yesterday Jackson retired the first 11 batters before hitting a batter. He worked 5.2 innings, striking out 7 and walking only 1, allowing 1 run on 3 hits. It should be noted that the Phillies were without several of their regulars and there was a very stiff wind blowing in…Troy Percival and Scott Dohmann each added a perfect inning of relief…Evan Longoria drew his 10th walk of the spring.
The Bad: Elliot Johnson came on i the 7th inning. He walked to lead off the inning and then stole second and third base. Bad? He showed his youth and inexperience by stealing third base with two outs. Now. We weren’t there so maybe Johnson was able to get a lead where he was standing 3 feet from third base leaving him no choice. But if that was not the case, we expect Johnson got a little talking to from Joe Maddon in the dugout later on [Ed. note: see comments for explanation]…Edwin Jackson hit two batters…
The Telling: Mike DiFelice got his third start of the spring behind the plate. He now has logged 32 innings behind the plate. By comparison,the likely backup catcher, Shawn Riggans has 5 starts and 35 innings, but Josh Paul only has 1 start and 18 innings. Heck. Hector Gimenez has a start and 23 innings at catcher. Paul is not going to be on the opening day roster. Right now it looks like Riggans unless his hand becomes a nagging situation. In that case, DiFelice is the next option.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- In case you missed it yesterday afternoon. The RAYSHEAD Army is now accepting new members. [Rays Index]
- To say that Edwin Jackson was “mediocre” in 2007 seems a little soft, right? He was 5-15 with 5.76 ERA with about 5 walks per 9 innings. That is pretty friggin’ bad. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Carl Crawford called the situation with Evan Longoria “a sensitive topic” in the clubhouse. The idea is that the team may choose to send The Dirtbag down to the minors to start the season, rather than field the best team possible. Andrew Friedman says Longoria’s arbitration/free agency clock is not an issue, noting that at some point the team will want to work on a long-term deal. This seems dubious at best since even long-term deals prior to arbitration and free agency consider when a player will become arbitration-eligible, although this did not happen with James Shields’ new deal as his salary only jumps from $1.5 million to $2.5 million in his first arbitration year. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Several Rays talk about BJ Upton and how he is only going to get better. [Bradenton Herald]
“We haven’t seen him play a full season,” Crawford said. “In years to come, he’s going to get better and better. Last year was just the tip of the iceberg, at least in my mind. I’m just happy I get to play alongside of him. You don’t get to play alongside a guy like that every time. It’s rare. It’s very rare.”
- Jayson Stark is reporting that the Rays made an offer to Kenny Lofton, that he turned down. We have to assume that the offer was incentive-laden and Lofton may be looking for more guaranteed money or he is waiting until a contender loses an outfielder. [ESPN]
- Rays of Light isn’t going to lose any sleep over not having Kenny Lofton. We agree. [Rays of Light]
- No surprise here…James Shields will start on opening day. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Joe Maddon was vague in when asked about Scott Kazmir’s schedule. It sounds like they are truly taking this day-to-day. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- The Bradenton Herald profiles Reid Brignac. [Bradenton Herald]
- Bill Chastain wonders if the Rays can live up to the hype in 2008. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Rays of Light has their latest roster projection. [Rays of Light]