Bunch of stuff going on in the Raysiverse this afternoon, so let’s dust off the Friday Afternoon Happy Hour.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman held court with the press in Port Charlotte today, where Coach Joe addressed the hunger to get back to the World Series and the workload for the players in the Spring. World B. Friedman said four (David Price, Jeff Niemann, Jason Hammel, Mitch Talbot) will compete for the fifth spot in the rotation but hinted that Price is a long-shot, even incorporating Price’s nickname in to the press conference. [Tampa Tribune]

Friedman noted yet again that “with David, development is king,” and ensuring he remains on track to be a top-of-the-rotation starter down the line will “have to play a part in the decision-making.” That means he could end up opening the season in Triple-A…

  • Grant Balfour will not play in the World Baseball Classic at the request of the Rays. And the front office has filed papers to block Scott Kazmir from participating. Teams can block players if they spent 45 days on the DL the year before. Beef K was on the DL for 44 days. If the Rays can block Kazmir, that leaves JP Howell, Akinori Iwamura and possibly Evan Longoria as the only Rays in the WBC. Just a few weeks ago, we the number was as high as 8. [The Heater]
  • Troy Percival says he is planning on being the Rays closer on opening day. Even funnier than that is Percival’s assertion that he needs three weeks to get into shape. That dude weighs at least 270 pounds. He needs 3 months on “The Biggest Loser” to get into shape. [The Heater]
  • Marc Topkin reports that the Rays won’t know if Troy Percival will be ready for opening day until he pitches in some mid-March games. [The Heater]
  • David Price is #2 on the list of top 100 prospects at Baseball Prospectus. Tim Beckham (15), Wade Davis (29) and Desmond Jennings (49) are also in the top 50. Reid Brignac comes in at #62. [Baseball Prospectus]
  • Ryan Fagan of Sporting News says the Rays have the best rotation in the AL. [Sporting News]

The Rays are deep and balanced, young and experienced. That’s quite the combination…There’s really only one question about this group: How will these young arms bounce back after pitching deep into October? The longer spring training will help; there’s no need to rush anyone. Plus, the added depth in the bullpen will allow Rays manager Joe Maddon to give his starters a little more rest when the opportunity arises.

  • Marc Lancaster takes a look at the Rays new spring training facility. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Hal Bodley interviewed Joe Maddon about last season, his off-season and heading into 2009. [MLB]
  • Joe Henderson says the Rays are not a one-hit wonder. [Tampa Tribune]
 
 

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