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

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THE GOOD: Robinson Chirinos. We have described Chirinos bat as being similar to John Jaso but with more pop. Well, that pop was on display yesterday when he hit a home run. Sure, it came in the 9th inning off of a guy that might not be big leaguer, but you have to like what you have seen early on from Chirinos…Alex Torres. The prospect was given the all-important role of first reliever (gets to face big league hitters) and responded with 2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 baserunner, a single…Pena Who? Casey Kotchman put his gold glove caliber on display with a couple of great defensive plays.

THE BAD: James Shields. Maybe his nickname should be “Big Blast.” Shields, who led the AL in home runs allowed last year (34), gave up another one in his first inning of the spring. Is he unlucky? Joe Maddon doesn’t think so, saying the home runs are “on him.” And it is something he needs to fix if he is going to be more productive this season…Bootcheck and Bayliss. Chris Bootcheck and Jonah Bayliss are both non-roster invitees trying to win spots in the bullpen. Their first outings did not go well. The two combined to give up 4 runs on 7 hits and a walk in just 2 innings.

THE TELLING: On travel day, Matt Joyce and Kelly Shoppach were the only players in the starting lineup that will likely be on the opening day roster, although Casey Kotchman and Felipe Lopez certainly have a shot…Felipe Lopez started at third base a position he started at 52 times last year…Manny Ramirez will start in left field today. The other starters will no doubt be on high alert.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Jeremy Hellickson threw a bullpen session yesterday, but is still at least 10 days from getting any game action. [TampaBay.com]
  • Joe Maddon called Matt Joyce a “complete player right now.” And yet, in the spring opener, when JoeMa went with a regular season lineup against a right-handed pitcher, Joyce was not in the lineup. [TampaBay.com]
  • Bill Madden, who likes to write things like “according to a person familiar with the Rays thinking” (whatever that means) is proposing radical realignment in Major League Baseball. Where would the Rays go? In the trashcan of course. [NY Daily News]
  • Is Manny Ramirez the new Keyshawn Johnson? [RaysRev.com]
  • Joel Sherman on Rafael Soriano: “[Soriano is] not fitting in. Haven’t seen him talk to another player. More than shy, seems distrustful.” [Joel Sherman]
  • The Bucs organizational philosophies are starting to sound an awful lot like that of the Rays. [Joe Bucs Fan]


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5 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Rays bring the "B" team to pittsburg along with shields....and get killed....
    Does not look good for the 2nd game of every series this summer...
    IF price loses the 1st game to the other teams ACE,then shields loses the 2nd what a hole to be in all summer
    Time to move Shields to #5 that way he pitches aga the other teams worst starter....Davis or hellboy to #2...but that makes too much sense!

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  2. SeanDubbs says:

    Wow. That Bill Madden article is garbage. Some people just don't get it.

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  3. Didn't some of the Rays people say Soriano took awhile to fit in? It's probably just his personality. I only hope for MFIKY's sake that the Yankees make some sort of boneheaded trade for a starter to take some of the heat off of him as Hank/Hal's folly.

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    • Sarah says:

      That was exactly my recollection from last spring, too -- Soriano seemed aloof, and also had some very clear views about how he wanted to be used in spring training, which seemed off-putting, but all it took was a few April games in which he owned the 9th inning to make everyone feel comfortable.

      For the Rays sake, let's hope that the Yankee management and NY press fail to appreciate him and he loses some of his mojo in the process.

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  4. Gus says:

    MLB loves to roll out the contraction stick whenever they want a new stadium. The fact is that Tampa Bay is a far better market for baseball than Miami is, as will be proven when the Marlins open their new stadium and ultimately tank.

    People do not go watch games for stadium experiences; if you talk to the locals, the Trop experience is generally fine, although they are likely to complain about its location if they drove more than 5 miles to get there.

    I do hate the planted stories like these conbtraction stories. Another one -- if you read the 2011 Baseball Prospectus summary of the Rays, it makes it sound like the Trop is built on Maderia Beach or something: "built on an isolated penisula far away from the area's population center." Pinellas is close to a million people, Hillsborough has like 1.1, the population center is submerged somewhere in Tampa Bay according to that ABC report. For a detailed outfit like BP, to take the party line from their friends in the Rays front office without checking is pretty disappointing.

    That said, the Mets story continues to go in the direction Cork and I have been thinking its going. They are going to need a NY owner soon. Putting Stu into that seat would be a possible contraction scenario . . .

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