THE GOOD: James Shields showed us that he is a winner last night. He struggled early without his best stuff and with shoddy defense behind him, but fought through it and still managed to give Joe Maddon 7 innings. For all the changes to the bullpen, the biggest reason the relief corps is better this year is because the starters are working deeper. Any bullpen will be better if it only needs to throw 2 innings instead of 3-4…And last night wasn’t any different. Shields handed the ball off in the 8th to Dan Wheeler (a role we expect he will keep once Al Reyes comes off DL) and then Troy Percival in the 9th. The two combined for 2 perfect innings…Eric Hinske continues to swing a hot bat, only this time it was against his former team and went to the tune of a double, triple and home run…Dioner Navarro added 3 hits in his return. We still can’t get over Navi. Nobody hits more line drives. And nobody hits the ball softer than Navi…Jason Bartlett finally did something productive with the bat, executing a perfect hit-and-run with Dioner Navarro running from second base.

THE BAD: James Shields walking the first two batters of the second inning, followed by the play that led to the Jays first run. On the play the Rays were only charged with 2 errors, but there should have been three plus a couple of mental errors. A ground ball to Eric Hinske’s right was bobbled after the runner on first distracted Hinske. Hinske then tried to backhand the ball to Shields covering first and missed him by 10 feet with the ball rolling towards the plate. For some reason, with a runner now on 3rd, Dioner Navarro left home to retrieve the ball. Shields sprints home to cover the plate. Throw from Navi was in time, but Shields dropped it.

THE TELLING: The Rays are now 4-0 all-time in Orlando…The Rays are 2-1 this season during our Live Blog-A-Baloos and 7-10 in all other games. Just Sayin’…The Rays need to sweep the Jays to get out of the cellar of the AL East and reach .500.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • We commented on this last night during the Blog-A-Baloo, but the Rays traded for Gabe Gross from the Brewers, giving up single-A pitcher Josh Butler. Butler was the Rays 2nd round pick in the 2006 draft. Gross is a left-swinging outfielder that can play all three outfield spots…While Justin Ruggiano will likely be the first player to go, this move probably marks the end of the Nathan Haynes-era. Andrew Friedman announced during the game last night that the Rays had been talking to the Brewers about Gross since Spring Training. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Outs Per Swing sees the Rays crowded outfield and wonders if the Rays should trade Eric Hinske while the value is at its peak…We say yes. [Outs Per Swing]
  • Through 19 games the Rays have the best bullpen in baseball. Trever Miller says that the biggest reason is they are not walking anybody. [Bradenton Herald]
  • New Ray Dan Johnson suffered from an infection in the spring that caused him to lose 30 pounds. He has since gained most of it back. [Bradenton Herald]
  • Marc Lancaster notes that Dan Johnson’s injury history is quite extensive. [San Francisco Chronicle via Rays Report]
  • While the Orlando Magic playoff game may have affected attendance, the Rays could not have been happy with the non-sellout or that a large portion of the crowd was not Orlando residents. [Orlando Sentinel]
  • Brittany Ghiroli takes a look at the “Green” practices of the Tampa Bay Rays and notes the team will continue to make a commitment to environmental sustainablity after Earth Day. [MLB]
  • The Serious Tip thinks they have figured out why Andy Sonnanstine has struggled at times this season…He’s is jinxed. [The Serious Tip]
  • A couple of new renderings of the proposed waterfront stadium, with one that apparently gives a reference to how big the new stadium will be compared to existing structures. [The Heater]
  • Matt Silverman and Joe Maddon were set to attend the Bruce Springsteen concert in Tampa on Monday but missed it after the show was postponed until Tuesday. [Orlando Sentinel]
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11 Comments

  1. Clayton says:

    Prof,

    Gross, Garza and Kaz are coming in, so who's going out?

    Ruggiano makes sense to make room for Gross, but aren't we out of balance with the roster at that point? How many RF/DH guys can we carry? I haven't heard a single meaningful trade rumor. Heck, I hadn't heard the first thing about Gross until it happened.

    And I don't have a clue as far as the rotation goes. Very interested to see how it all works out. What do you think?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Sure seems like we're facing a major logjam very soom. For whatever reason, Seattle is very high on Ejack. Maybe we put some kind of package together with Ejack, Hinske/Gomes, and someone else for Wladimir Balentien, and (::drooling::) Jeff Clement?

    That's what I keep daydreaming about anyway. keyword=dreaming

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  3. The Professor says:

    well the Rays are playing with an extra bench guy right now so even though 2 pitchers are coming back only 1 pitcher will go.

    Ruggiano seems like a sure thing

    Haynes also appears expendable now that Gross is on board and he can play all three outfield positions and bat left-handed.

    as for pitchers. the assumption is that Hammel will be bumped from rotation even though he has been the most consistent of the Jackson-Sonny-Hammel trio. Sonny almost certainly saved his spot with his last start or else he might have been more likely.

    but if hammel is the odd-man out he can't go to the minors (out of options). So my guess is that either Birkins or Dohmann is DFAd and Hammel is bumped to the bullpen. My guess is that Birkins goes and Dohmann stays. The Rays already have 2 other leftys and Dohmann has been pretty solid so far

    summary:
    in-Gross, Garza, Kaz
    out-Ruggiano, Haynes, Birkins

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  4. The Professor says:

    and yes a trade changes everything and Jackson's value has never been higher.

    Clement is the one guy I would want from the M's. Is Jackson enough? might be now. I would def approve a trade with those two as the main parts. feeling is both sides woudl have to add a minor leaguer or two.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I dont see how the M's continue to keep him down (Clement). AAA can't hold his bat....last I checked(about a week ago), he was raking to the tune of a .500 AVG and 3 HRs. I don't know much about his defense however.

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  6. Scott says:

    About the Orlando series...

    If Disney continues to price gouge with their ridiculous prices, no one is going to come out and watch it. As an Orlando resident, I have personal reasons keeping me from the games, but I suspect the steep price doesn't help matters.

    Plus, I don't think a whole lot of local residents even KNOW that it's going on.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, Dan Johnson just got DFA'd to make room for Gross. Hope he accepts/clears as I think he has potential.

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  8. Clayton says:

    Did not see the Dan Johnson DFA coming. Does that mean they really like Haynes? This is all strange. At some point, this has to be distracting for the team, too. I hope we can wrap up all the moving and shaking soon and get to work.

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  9. The Professor says:

    only surprised in that it came so soon. thought all along that there wasnt room for Johnson once everybody is healthy. and i really thought Gross made Haynes expendable. Haynes hasn't done a thing since he has been here. but the one thing he could be is a late-inning defensive replacement. so maybe that is why they are holding on to him.

    they just need to get everybody healthy and hopefully we will start to see some sort of stability. right now it is like a car full of circus clowns. only the clowns are not that good.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I think Haynes will be DFA when Garza is activated (tomorrow? Friday?). They prolly just kept him for tonight as a defensive replacement/pinch runner. Having both Haynes and Gross is redundant.

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  11. The Professor says:

    sure seems that way. i am not the biggest Ruggiano fan but would rather have him around than Haynes

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