The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

click above image for boxscore

THE GOOD: 1,256. That is the number of regular season and postseason games Carl Crawford played in a Rays uniform. Last night sucked, but today we stand and applaud the greatest Ray ever. Thank you Carl. We’ll miss you.

THE BAD: Not How It Was Supposed To End. This team was not perfect, but there are certain things they are supposed to do well. They usually play smart baseball. They usually play good defense. And they usually shut the opposition down late in games. These are the things that a low- or mid-payroll team must do to win. And this Rays team excels in these areas. Usually. But last night, two runners scored from second on groundballs. Another scored on a throwing error. And the last two scored off of Rafael Soriano. This team wasn’t perfect, but this is not how they were supposed to lose a game…Cliff Lee. Let’s face it. All the mental and physical errors were just window dressing. This team was not going to beat Cliff Lee last night. Take the 4th inning. After overcoming the first ugly run, the Rays had just tied the game in the previous inning and were starting to gain a little confidence. Then the throwing error gave the Rangers the lead again. And how did the Rays respond? Rather than build on the previous inning, Carlos Pena, BJ Upton and Dan Johnson went strikeout, strikeout, strikeout. Game over.

THE TELLING: Rocco Baldelli threw out the first pitch…The Rays lost their last 6 games in which the opponent started a left-handed pitcher.

WHERE THEY STAND: On a golf course.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Evan Longoria talks about losing the series (Video). [The Heater]
  • Kelly Shoppach talks about his rough night (Video). [The Heater]
  • Joe Maddon would start Dan Johnson over Willy Aybar, but he wouldn’t start John Jaso over Kelly Shoppach? Yeah, that one is strange. [St. Pete Times]
  • Joe Maddon brought tacos into the clubhouse prior to the game to help loosen the mood. [10 Connects]
  • The Bucs TV ratings on Sunday were higher than ALDS game 4. [Joe Bucs Fan]
  • Joe Maddon thinks the Rays can compete in 2011. [St. Pete Times]
  • So, how long will fans have to wait until the Rays are this good again? [St. Pete Times]
  • Some big names are starting to jump on the Bucs bandwagon. [Joe Bucs Fan]

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51 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    This was sad. You only get so many shots at Cliff Lee, and I think the Rays’ best shot came in game one when they had bases loaded and failed to score. After that, the dude just mows people down.

    I’m not ready to process it all yet, but this is going to be a hell of a busy offseason for the Rays. They have two relievers projected to be Type A free agents (Balfour & Wheeler), but do they dare offer them arbitration? Do they even consider bringing Pena back when his production could be matched at a much lower price? Who replaces Soriano now that he’s priced himself out of the Rays’ reach? Has Benoit also priced himself out? Will one or both of Shields & Garza be traded? Will Sonny? Who else aside from Navi will be non-tendered?

    Anyway, before all that, congrats on a great season to the 2010 Rays. Despite the unceremonious end, this really was a great ride.

    Carl, we’ll miss you greatly. Only you and your agent know what you will decide, but if it can’t be here, then have lots of fun in ANAHEIM (hint hint, you LOVE the west coast, they need a left fielder and they have money and Kaz is there! New York is nowhere near as awesome, you know that!).

  2. Rays will be back. I’m not buying all the gloom and doom.

    One team from last night will have their “ace” back for game 1 of the 2011 season.. the other team will be watching their “ace” pitch for the team they’re getting ready to play in the ALCS.

  3. PeteJones2012 says:

    This was an absolutely heartbreaking loss. To see a team that had such potential get stopped in their tracks in the first round just sucks. I’m not going to blame this all on Maddon, but Shoppach over Jaso just pissed me off. When you know you’re facing a pitcher that isn’t going to give up many hits or runs why would you not start a guy like Jaso that is going to go up there and give you some good at bats? Jaso was pivotal in game 3 and could have been in game 5 given the chance. Was it just me or did the Rays look dead from the start? They certainly didn’t look like a team playing a game 5.

    Even with all the frustration over this series we can still celebrate a good season. Winning the AL East isn’t the only thing we wanted , but it still ain’t bad either. For now we have to keep our chin up looking forward to next season, even though there is going to be some big voids in the roster :/. We will miss you, CC.

  4. John S says:

    I agree with Mr. Weber; the Rays will be replenished BIG TIME.

    Shields or Garza will fetch a large return. Choo wants out of Cleveland, he is A STUD and pretty cheap. Lets throw Garza and a prospect for Choo and then the Rays will have the fastest, best defensive outfield in the league. Jennings, Upton and Choo.. WOW

    Choo is the closest thing to Crawford in the league; hits for power, average and speed.

    • PeteJones2012 says:

      Why trade Garza instead Shields though ?

      • John S says:

        Garza will fetch a whole hell of a lot more.

        I wouldn’t want to, hell if they were dumb enough to take him in this trade by all means please take him and run.

        But if we are to truly try to remain competitive we need to bring in players like Choo, who is one of the best OFs in the game and would step into the number 3 spot. Oh and he made $500,000 last year.

        • PeteJones2012 says:

          Yes that’s very true. And plus, all the pitching in the world won’t help if we can’t scratch up some runs here and there.

        • Tone says:

          The Indians are not trading Choo, I wish, but there is no way. He is their best player now, Grady is hurt a lot now.

    • Carey says:

      Jennings? Seriously. What have you seen in the past month from him that indicates he ready to be an everyday starter in MLB? I’ve seen nothing. He’s on my bench next year (sans a huge Spring). My outfield goes (from L to R) Joyce, Upton and Zobrist (I believe this is his real position now). Choo, however, would change that. But Jennings, at this point he’s a bench player.

      • Beth says:

        I agree that Jennings has not seemed like a guy ready to be the “next Carl Crawford” as many commentators have believed. But perhaps the sample size has been too small — let’s see what he brings in the spring before we consign him to the bench.

  5. John S says:

    Additionally, the Rays have people who can replace Soriano (he was fantastic this year) but can replace him. Balfour pitched much better this year. Benoit maybe for $4-5 million, he will be the wildcard.

    The Rays will get better production from First Base and Catcher next year.

    Jaso gets a year to improve defensively and well anyone could improve on .200 and 30 HRs.
    Briggy baseball will improve the team range in the infield with replacing Bartlett, who will fetch an bullpen arm by himself or could be thrown into a mega package.

    • JimfromNPR says:

      If JP Howell comes back next year, JP,Balfour,McGee and Beniot can be our “studs” out of the pen next year. I think long term Bartlett is the best choice at short, maybe Joyce in left, Jennings in center, and Zobie in right, or at 1st. SRod starts next year at 2nd, and IF Srod is in the outfield somewhere, then Briggy goes to 2nd. Upton HAS to go, sorry, he is such a liability offensively. WE have to have a decent backup for jaso behind the plate, sorry kelly shoppach, but you ain’t it. And this idea of waiting on “your” pitch, sometimes you don’t get a great pitch until you make the pitcher work, Ted Williams said if it’s close enough to foul off, it close enough to swing at(not a direct quote), thats the attitiude we need at bat. Choate stays, maybe Wheels.

      • Gus says:

        An Upton trade would be a bold stroke; I’m not sure they are that bold. But he’s not earning $5M a year with that offense despite what the BJ apologists tell you. If he made less and batted 8th, it would be one thing. But on a team unwilling to commit to long-term money, they should deal Upton now. Even if he turns the corner (possible, but unlikely), he becomes a UFA at the end of 2012 anyway, so salvage what you can now. Personally, I wonder if he’ll ever hit in the majors until he is facing unemployment and changes his approach. If he keeps making $5M to hit .237 and strike out 150 times, why change?

        Stick Des in CF, acquire a veteran back-up to be his mentor (a guy like Jay Payton would play for the minimum), and stick Joyce in LF and Zobrist in RF, and you have excellent defense in the OF. Maybe not Crawford-Upton defense, but still one of the best in the league.

        • Tone says:

          I agree about Upton, he would fetch a great return(maybe D-Backs might pay high). Trading Upton to save money makes more sense to me than Bartlett. Jennings can play center just as well and might have a more consistent approach at the plate. I don’t get the trade Garza or Bartlett stuff. Reid and Sean should platoon at 2nd in my mind, at least through next year. I think Bartlett should get another shot at hitting .300 again. Shields would be the starter I’d deal, and there is no way in hell I’d bring back Wheeler.

  6. krewezer says:

    The Rays had runners on second and third, one out, one run in. Bartlett breaks for home on contact. If that ball had been hit ANYWHERE but to the pitcher, we take the lead. I knew after that play, it was not the Rays’ night. Thanks, guys, for the great season, and another great one next year!

    • John S says:

      Ya know that play is what killed me too.. However, I was expecting in that situation to see a BUNT with CC. It was the natural play for that situation.

      I believe the bunt was the higher percentage play than trying to get hit, lefty on lefty. It would have scored a run, even if CC was thrown out at first.

      Of all the times that a bunt could have been used that was it.

      FYI.. the 3rd baseman was a middle depth.

      • Beth says:

        Yeah but oddly (given his speed) CC doesn’t bunt. Can you think of any time he’s bunted — either for a base hit or as a sacrifice?

        Well, he’ll be not bunting for someone else next year.

        • John S says:

          He has before on numerous occasions but I agree with your sediment though, probably not enough for his speed.

          When he moved to the 3 spot, the bunting was a mininum, as opposed to the 2 spot.

      • cubfanraysaddict says:

        I know a lot of the Rays fans near me were screaming for a safety-squeeze, but like we all know he is just a plain bad bunter. I love CC and all, but when he came out and said he would play CF in the right environment, I was thinking to myself, well ya know Damon Hollins and Joey Gathright in CF sounds like a situation where a team could use a CF’er. (b/c COF’s are much easier to find obviously). I don’t mean to get down on CC, I stood and screamed my head off for his last at bat, but I never understood why he never (outside of ’09) took more pitches to get on base, or why he was so unwilling to make seemingly meaningless shifts. Then again he had managed to become a star level player with skills/preferences that detracted greatly from some of his ultimate strengths.

        • Sarah says:

          But I also remember that he seemed unwilling to move out of the 2 spot, and then this season Maddon asked him to do just that and he did.

          I’ve never seen Carl as a prima dona — rather as someone who knows his strengths and sticks with them. To his credit, he always works hard to get better at what he does well, but he likes to stick with what is within his comfort zone. You can’t argue with the results.

  7. MJ says:

    Any chance we hold on to bartlett? He def had the best at bat of the night w that battle back from 0-2 double not to mention 3-4 w a lineout. We have plenty of guys who K all time, we could use a cpl of grinders.

    • Beth says:

      Actually, I thought JB’s at bat was one of the few highlights of the game for the Rays. That’s how you face a pitcher like Lee! I was wondering whether JB wanted to double as hitting coach.

      • John S says:

        Bartlett is moving up the money tree and that is why I believe he will be gone this offseason. He has great value to other teams and he need help in more glaring spots.

        Reviewing defensive metrics, Briggy is a better defensive SS. He has more range and a better arm. I believe he could have gotten to the first single up the middle, through the hole. Bartlett just missed it.

        Batting I believe the difference is the typical power for average argument.

        Ultimately as mentioned before, the biggest difference is money. Briggy will be in line to make about 1/10th of what JB will make this year and JB is not 10 times the player of Briggy baseball. There are a lot of people that say Briggy is actually the better player right now. Reviewing a lot of the metrics.

        Bartlett will save money and big back a very useful piece to fill in a bigger need, whether it is an arm, OF, 1B or C.

        • Tone says:

          I hope your right about Reid, but I think he has a giant hole in his swing. Bartlett is losing in range but I think he has a better chance of hitting .300 again than Reid does at doing that for the first time. I say platoon Reid and Sean at second for 2011, then trade Bartlett. Getting rid of Wheeler is already the money for Bartlett.

          • MJ says:

            I believe that Bartletts avg this year is the low range of his hitting ability. For one reason or another he didn’t seem to get his swing going until well after the break. Which makes me think, maybe it would be a good idea to hold on to him till the break next yr and try to deal him a to a desperate team that needs a solid ss. I know this would be his third arbitration, but how much could his salary go up after a significant decline in production (granted his 09 #’s are most likely his ceiling)? In an era where hitting/fielding combo ss are not the norm, maybe he has value in a deadline trade. While he has no 5 star abilities, its hard to let go of a player that has no glaring weakness and has been, in my opinion, a corner stone of the new Rays.

      • Namirsolo says:

        Yes! I thought this, too. One of the best ways to combat a great pitcher is to wear him out. Longoria swung on almost every first pitch and it made me cringe every time. I guess he was eager to actually get a hit, but still…

        If the Rays had forced Lee to throw more pitches they could have had a shot at the Texas bullpen (well, I guess they would have put in CJ Wilson anyway) then they might have been able to score more runs off of them.

  8. Don says:

    Bartlett always overlooked…our 3rd best player the last 3 years…they won’t pay him $4/5 mil next year…any real teams out there looking for a short stop..He is the MAN!
    Another Shopp. slap….Has ANYONE hit .000 in a playoff (5 game) series…plus about 5 mental/physical errors in one playoff game? But HE was Maddon’s choice over a good young catcher that can get on base…SAD but TRUE!

  9. Jim says:

    Tough loss, but overall not a bad season. I thought once we brought it back to St. Pete, we’d be able to pull out the series, but I guess not…

    Thank you Cork for running such a great site. I appreciate all the time and effort you put in here.

    • John S says:

      I second that Cork!

      • KillaTapes says:

        I third that, or however you’d put it, haha. This site has been my go to every morning for a few years now, really appreciate it.

        • Gus says:

          Make that 1 4th. There are now lots of Rays sites out there, but this is one that is independent, critical when warranted, supportive when appropriate. Smart and funny. Not in the tank for management and Upton. Good commenters. Tone. Beth. Killa. You guys had years that should warrant a nice bump in arbitration.

          Good job, Cork.

          • Russ says:

            Let me 5th that sentiment. This is the place I go to for analysis pretty much after every Rays game. Thanks Cork for this site.
            Even though I’m bummed to be up here with all the idiots in Yankee Country — GO RAYS!!

          • Beth says:

            I concur, and thanks, Gus, I’ve really enjoyed “discussing” the Rays with you as well.

          • KillaTapes says:

            Haha, thanks Gus. Really going to work on sharpening my game this off season

  10. MJ says:

    What happened to Price’s slider? Or his changeup? He came into the league as a two pitch pitcher, and for all the talk about working on the change, he seems to have once again become a two pitch pitcher, replacing the slider w/ the curve.

    • John S says:

      I agree. David will have some things to work on. It is scary that on pure, raw talent (I mean hell, he literally threw 1 pitch about 80% of the time) that he was able to put up 19 wins and fairly good numbers, in the BY FAR the most difficult division in baseball.
      UNBELIEVABLE this kid’s ceiling

    • There is an article out there on fangraphs.com I think that breaks Price’s career down by the % percentage of types of pitches per year. It is an amazing piece of work. He actually has two fastballs now – a 4-seamer and a 2-seamer that he throws at different speeds. So minus the slider (which he did throw 3 times Tues night), he has 4 pitches. And amazing potential.

      • MJ says:

        interesting, i will check that out. To the naked eye (and maybe its the right-side camera angle w/ a lefty pitcher), i don’t notice significant movement on a 2-seamer from him. I feel like I remember him throwing the change a lot more earlier in the year, and him actually having significant success w/ it. I was at the game, so it was hard to tell if he threw any sliders.

  11. Carey says:

    FWIW: I think the whole “it’s now or never” attitude Shelton mentions was part of the problem this year. Losing Carl will suck, but Carl didn’t even contribute much in ’08, our best year. Soriano was great, but if you look at his career, odds are the “winner” in that sweepstakes will get a guy that’s on the DL for half the season. Pena, unless he finds something in a bottle, no loss there either. Howell, McGee and if we can keep Benoit then I like our pen.

    Plus, we’ve got at least one good established arm to offer up for another bat.

    I think we’re in good shape and maybe, without the expectation, we’ll see the kind of looseness we saw in ’08.

  12. Beth says:

    It’s funny, in 2009 the Rays got off the a slow start and could never really make up for it. In 2010 they got off to an amazing start and could not seem to keep the energy level going to the end (despite Maddon’s “resting” key players throughout the season) — it was as though they played their October baseball in May.

    Maybe the lesson here that it’s really, really hard to play .600 ball over 162 games, and that there’s no “good” time to get cold.

    But I largely agree with Carey (above) that I wouldn’t write this team off for next year. They do, however, need to trade for some hitters — they had just one .300 hitter this past year and he’ll be gone. I’ll miss Soriano, but I suspect that next year someone will be paying him a whole lot of money for less production, and it’s fine with me that it won’t be the Rays. I’d try to sign Benoit for what Soriano had been making, and work on developing McGee as either 8th inning guy or closer.

  13. Tom says:

    Does anyone think it is possible they offer Soriano arbitrtion and he accepts (Like what happened with the Braves last year).

    • Beth says:

      No.

      Did you see who his new agent is?

      • John S says:

        YEah I agree I am with Beth.

        Offer to him and lets get the 2 high draft picks..

        The most dissappointing part of the whole free agency is how more than likely we are going to only get a supplemental and 2nd for CC, when more than likely he is going to the Angels. And we miss getting that mid first round pick BY 1 OVERALL SPOT!

  14. Bob says:

    We’ll be good and perhaps better next year. 90% that the Rays will sign CC for a long term deal this winter after he tests the market and management knows what the bidding must be. They will not bid against themselves. CC will give them a small discount to stay once he has the opportunity to show the league what he could have taken by leaving for NY or LA.

    In the end, the Rays will shell out a big number to keep him, and fans will be impressed and thankful. To drop him is a PR nightmare, and the dollars aren’t that big if they move out some people who can easily be replaced, and CC is a pretty good bet to invest in.

    • KillaTapes says:

      As much as I’d LOVE to believe this, I don’t think you’re realizing the amount of money CC will get thrown at him this off season. For the Rays to compete with that, they’d be investing way over their heads for someone who will most likely decline after a couple more seasons in his greatest strength- speed.

      If the Rays could sign him to a 2-3 year deal it would be great, but I really see him fetching a far longer deal.

      • John S says:

        This will be a very interesting topic.. Of course ESPN will lead to believe that all of free agents are gone. But even with arbitration of some of our guys and a cheaper payroll; we are still going to have a crap load of cash to spend. If Pena goes for 4 or 5 mil, we could offer 17 mil per year and still be below the payroll. I mean this is just going to show you how muhc money is coming off the books like Burrell’s 8-10 mil this year.

        I just don’t see the Rays taking on CC being 30% of our payroll. The only way if there is significant progress with a new stadium that they would feel confident enough to approach that type of payroll ratio (like the Twins and Mauer).

        I don’t see a bunch of Wall Streeters taking on that risk for the possible return. Remember there are 24 guys on a team.

        So if they do sign Crawford, that means something is going on with a new stadium. I remain very doubtful.

        • Gus says:

          CC probably costs himself a few $M in the playoffs, as his exposure to good lefties cost him. Maddon batting him 3rd was interesting; it seemed to bump his RBI totals, but his stolen bases seemed to fall off a cliff, mostly becuase if he stole, it was an IBB to Longo and you have nothing protecting Longo. So it looks like he is slowing down and the Molinas have him down pretty good. Not sure if that is true, but I think that would depress his market value. As he ages, he kind of becomes a tweener — not quite a power guy, but not a top of the order/sb guy either.

    • MJ says:

      are you being sarcastic?

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