The Sports Banter attempted to rank the off-season improvements of every MLB team. Despite the Rays filling their one hole (closer) with a proven commodity (Rafael Soriano) and only having to pay for the player with a four-A pitcher, the Rays are near the bottom of the rankings…
(25) Rays: I was critical of Tampa Bay last offseason and have no reason to ease off the gas here (insert lame Toyota joke here). The Rays – essentially – traded Akinori Iwamura for Rafael Soriano and his $7.25m salary. They also acquired C Kelly Shoppach from the Indians for a PTBNL… and that’s about it.
Solidifying the back end of the bullpen will help (albeit at a hefty cost), but for a team on the cusp of competing, more could have and should have been done. Now, the Rays need to depend on their farm system to produce, and to produce quickly, if they have any hopes of playing deep into October.
Rule #1 for any writer: Research is your friend! Try it some time.
First of all, Aki Iwamura was traded because Ben Zobrist can do the second base job much better (8.6 WAR vs 1.3 WAR) at a fraction of the cost ($450K vs $4.25M). Considering the alternative was declining Aki’s option, getting anything for him was a “win.”
Second, Kelly Shoppach was acquired for Mitch Talbot, a triple-A pitcher with no future in the organization and who is out of minor league options. Considering the alternative was releasing Talbot, getting a proven big league catcher for him was a “win.”
Finally, let’s look at the idiocy of the final statement.
Anybody that knows anything about the Rays know that they have two of the top prospects in baseball in Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson. Those two players already have triple-A experience and yet there is a good chance that neither sniffs the big leagues this season. Why? BECAUSE THE RAYS DON’T NEED THEM. The Rays have a lineup that includes 6 players that have appeared in an All-Star game and five young, cheap and very talented starting pitchers.
So to say the Rays will need help from the minors just proves how little The Sports Banter knows about the Rays. But that is OK. It is difficult, if not impossible, for one writer to try and cover all 30 teams and actually provide insight. There is just too much information, and when somebody attempts to do it, the lack of knowledge is as obvious as a neon sign that just smacked you in the face.