Rays Red Sox Spring BaseballTime to bring back the GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

THE GOOD: Matt Joyce. We still aren’t buying the idea that Joyce has a shot at making the team, but he did hit his first home run with the Rays, finishing 2-4…Gabe Gross. The guy standing between Joyce and an everyday job also hit his first home run of the spring two batters later.

THE BAD: Andy Sonnanstine. The Duke did work 7 innings, but allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. He looked good until he gave up a 3-run home run to Jason Varitek in the 7th…Grant Balfour. The Mad Australian was the one relief pitcher who worried us with his workload in 2008 and he has yet to look good this spring. He gave 3 more runs (2 earned) and couldn’t get out of the 8th inning.

THE TELLING: The lineup yesterday was a B-squad, with not a single player that figures to be an everyday player during the season…Today’s game at home against the Twins will be the Rays final spring game in Florida. They will play a pair of exhibition games on Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia against the WFC*.


  • Both the Rays and Jason Isringhausen sound optimistic that they will come to an agreement on a way to keep Izzy but without him starting the season on the 25-man roster. Marc Topkin says the Rays may add Izzy to the 40-man roster, which will kick in his major league salary and then place him on the DL so that he can continue to work out in extended spring training. Izzy’s agent said the pitcher will not accept a minor league assignment. [St. Pete Times]
  • In the same piece, Marc Topkin reports that the Rays are discussing the possibility of adding Gary Sheffield, but notes that while Sheffield has the potential to provide a “menacing bat,” there isn’t likely a good fit between the two sides…And yes, if you polled 30 major league managers and asked them to pick one word to describe Sheff’s bat, 29 would pick “menacing.” And that is just because Joe Maddon would pick the word “loquacious.”  [St. Pete Times]
  • Marc Lancaster says the Rays would not rule out the possibility of adding Gary Sheffield, but Lancaster says that is standard with any player in that situation but “no matter which way you look at the Rays’ roster, though, there doesn’t appear to be a fit for Sheffield.” [Tampa Tribune]
  • Marc Lancaster says the roster should be close to being set when the team breaks camp today, with only a couple of decisions looming. Lancaster suggests that the team has yet to name a fifth starter because they may be hoping to work out a trade for either Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Baseball Musings provides their annual AL East preview, giving the Rays a 28% chance of winning the division. [Baseball Musings]
  • Stacy Long is reporting that the Rays have released 4 minor leaguers, including Chuck Tiffany, who was considered a key ingredient in the trade that brought the Rays Edwin Jackson. [Montgomery Advertiser]
  • The Rays Party takes a look at what the Rays could potentially receive in return for either Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann. [The Rays Party]
  • The Rays Party previews the 2009 pitching staff. [The Rays Party]
  • David Chalk tells us know why the Red Sox “Ain’t S#!t” compared to the Rays. [Bugs and Cranks]





  1. Dirtbag Fan says:

    I am almost certain, or as certain as someone on the outside can be, that The Mad Aussie just can't pitch well unless it really matters. He's one of those clutch performers that ONLY works in the clutch... no pressure, no results.

    That being said, I'm not sure he can duplicate his '08 season regardless, but all-in-all I think he'll be alright.

    Hypothetically, If the Rays do move one of the #5 candidates before the season starts who do you think it would be, Hammel or Neimann?

    I would say Hammel 60/40. You?

    • that's a tough call. Certainly they would prefer to keep Niemann, but he would bring the bigger bounty and I think more teams are interested in Niemann. I guess it depends on when the Rays think they can count on Price or Davis. If it is sooner rather than later they may just take the biggest package offered. But if they think they need 3-4 months out of their 5th guy I think they prefer to move Hammel.


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