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: New Bullpen. Joel Peralta and Juan Cruz combined this spring for 20 innings, giving up just a single run. They struck out 21 and walked 11 (8 by Cruz)…Elliot Johnson. You’ve got to root for guys like Johnson who has spent 9 years in the minors. This spring he solidified his spot on the roster with 12 hits and 7 walks in just 45 plate appearances (.435 OBP), stole a team record 11 bases and played 7 different positions. He’ll never be Ben Zobrist. But he will be a nice player to have on the bench…Big Pop. This Rays team is not supposed to have a lot of power. But this spring, 6 different players hit at least 3 home runs including Dan Johnson and Kelly Shoppach, who combined for 8. If those two do anything worthwhile with the bat this season, it will be a bonus.

THE BAD: Adam Russell. Russell is out of options so his spot on the big league roster was never in doubt. But his spring performance leaves us worried. Despite a strong last outing, Russell finished the spring with 20 hits and 4 walks allowed in just 9 innings. At this point, we have to imagine that he is no more than just the designated “down 7-1″ guy in the bullpen.

THE TELLING: The Rays finished the Grapefruit League 14-14-2…James Shields, Jake McGee and Adam Russell pitched in a simulated gameCasey Kotchman and Felipe Lopez will report to triple-A Durham…It is looking less likely that the Rays will trade for a reliever, meaning Jake McGee and Cesar Ramos will make the opening day roster.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Johnny Damon and his wife are working with “Uncork for a Cause” to support the families of the St. Pete police officers that have died in the line of duty this year. [Rays Report]
  • Michael Kruse takes a look at what Evan Longoria’s stolen AK-47 does for his image. [TampaBay.com]
  • Joe Maddon says Evan Longoria’s AK-47 was “his choice.” [The Heater]
  • Joe Smith profiles Cesar Ramos, who was one of Evan Longoria’s roommates in college. [TampaBay.com]
  • It is unclear how this will affect the Rays, but one projection sees a 3-7 percent increase in attendance for Major League Baseball this season. [The Biz of Baseball]
  • Meanwhile, Tampa (not St. Pete) is the 14th “most depressed baseball city.” Which we guess makes them them the 16th least depressed city, but whose counting. (thanks David) [AVVO]
  • The Rays traded for double-A prospect John Shelby, from the White Sox. [MLBTR]
  • Desmond Jennings is anxious to get back to the big leagues. [Montgomery Advertiser]
  • Watching Durham Bulls Baseball projects the Durham Bulls roster. Not a lot of power, but the team should be strong. [WDBB]
  • It seems a little silly to ask Joe Maddon to pick wines like he is filling out a lineup card. You know it will just be different tomorrow. [TBO.com]


Wade Davis on last spring start (via TampaBay.com)

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3 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    I know pretty much everyone disagrees with me but I think Russell will have a good year and Ramos is only keeping the seat warm for JP so I really like the bullpen that Friedman built.

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  2. Don says:

    Just got back from the trop game. EJ is going to be a stud...HR/hard base hit ball to outfield.....BRig. better hit early...or could be doing some bench time...Lets go Johnson & johnson+ two olds guys make our hitting line up look prettty tough....

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    • Scot says:

      Don, I really think you are rooting for the wrong team. You should try rooting for the Astros, the Dodgers or a similar team that picks a player based on how manly or how well he improves the chemistry of the team. The Rays are probably the most data driven team in baseball. They will choose Johnson if Johnson's past performance suggests he is a better option than a player with a weaker past performance. I would be very surprised if BRig (I like the name - good addition) is given a short leash. All projections say BRig will outperform EJ. Unless new data counter this claim, it is BRig's position to hold for some time, even if he starts out slowly. (See many others including Pat the Bat as examples of players given many PAs even when they are in a slump. )

      But Don, you do provide a nice counter to those quantitative analytical types... :)

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