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: Clutch Hitting. Fernando Perez drove in the winning run with a single in the 10th. It was the Rays 3rd walk-off win and 4th win in their final at bat. Joe Maddon said he wanted better at bats late in games. Of course if any of the guys that are coming through in the clutch now are on the roster in April, the Rays are screwed…Matt Garza. Garza worked 3 strong innings, striking out 5 and walking none…Alex Torres. Torres made his second appearance a good one pitching 2 scoreless innings of relief, striking out 1 and walking 1…Speed. As in the Rays were just showin’ off yesterday when they started an outfield that included Carl Crawford, BJ Upton and Desmond Jennings.
THE BAD: Pat Burrell. The Bat has a big hole in it so far. Another 0-2 and he is now 1-10 on the spring. So much for coming to spring training in better shape and more determined. It hasn’t translated to the field yet…
THE TELLING: Carlos Pena was given the day off with Chris Richard getting the start at first base…Rafael Soriano will make his first appearance next week.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays signed Hank Blalock to a minor league deal. He will make $925K plus he can earn $350K in bonuses based on the number of plate appearances he receives…No word on whether there is an opt-out clause for Blalock [Update: He can opt-out on April 1. See comments]. [The Heater]
- There are 14 former #1 overall picks in camp this spring. Four of them are in Rays camp (2 others were drafted by the Rays and play for other teams now). Only two other teams (Twins and Royals) have more than one. [Jayson Stark Blog]
- Hal Bodley looks at some recent comments by Stuart Sternberg on the Rays payroll as the biggest problem with competitive balance in baseball. That is, small-market teams can win, but it is difficult for them to sustain that success. [MLB]
- Tampa Bay Rays Fan makes a case for Dioner Navarro being the starting catcher. [TBRF]
- Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News interviewed Grant Balfour. [Daily News]
- The Biz of Baseball names the Rays as having “The Best Series of Promos” in 2010 including the promo of the year, the Carlos Pena toothbrush holder (including picture). [The Biz of Baseball]
- Around the Majors lists Carlos Pena as one of the first basemen most likely to be traded during the season. [Around the Majors]
- Noah Pransky suggests that the only way the Rays could move to Hillsborough is if they moves to a new stadium on the Seminole Indian property near the Hard Rock Casino…Of course the biggest problem is one Pransky lists: “Major League Baseball would have to sign off on the deal.” And they won’t. MLB won’t let a team move to Las Vegas because it would be near casinos. There is even less chance they will let a team be closely associated with a casino. [Shadow of the Stadium]
- Ben Zobrist talks about how this spring training differs from last year. [Bradenton Herald]
- Joe Smith writes about the non-roster invitees in camp trying to find their way back to the majors. [St. Pete Times]
- Tony Fabrizio has 5 questions for Kelly Shoppach. [Tampa Tribune]
- Fire Brand of the American League wonders if the Rays pitching is overrated calling James Shields “a good start”, saying Matt Garza is a benefactor of great defense, Jeff Niemann “has plenty of questions about his skills,” Wade Davis “struggles to control his pitches and walks to [sic] many hitters,” and David Price “could be back to the pen or even the minors”…We know, that last one made us giggle also. [Fire Brand of the American League]
- Kelsie Smith of the Twin Cities Pioneer-Press writes that Delmon Young might have finally grown up. *Golf Clap*[Pioneer-Press]
- Troy Percival is back to coaching, and this time it might be for good. [LA Times]