If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and try to project what they will do based on what we have learned. Think of RI as “Tampa Bay Rays 101.”

However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans. Looking back at last year’s 12 Days of Raysmas, we see that many of our wishes came true. Many did not. If we can get a couple of more this year, the Rays might just win it all.

Without further ado…

On the fourth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, FOUR ALL-STARS…

OK. Asking for four all-stars is a lot. But if the Rays are going to be in the race in July, they need at least four players that are at least worthy of all-star consideration. That means Evan Longoria needs to be healthy. And it means James Shields and David Price need to be pitching well.

Those three guys should be all-star candidates every year. But those three might not be enough. So somebody else will need to step up and have an unexpected career-year. Will Matt Joyce finally be put a full season together? Is Desmond Jennings ready to put up all-star numbers? Or will BJ Upton put up a solid six months in his contract year?

You can make an argument for all three of those guys, and hopefully all three will have good years. But the Rays need one of them to have an All-Star season.

 
 

25 Comments

  1. RedBull says:

    I’m taking a surprise pick for the 4th all-star selection…Brandon Gomes! I just have a hunch that this kid has something special in him. I can see him shutting people down this season, and really helping shorten up games for us…he actually might just be a closer in the making.
    And as for Longoria, I’m predicting his best year yet. He had a ton of crap to deal with off the field last year, and had to deal with the oblique issue all year. I see him hitting .310 with 33 HR & 130 RBI. Could be his first AL MVP award!

  2. Mike Rollins says:

    I definitely think that Desmond Jennings is going to have an All-Star caliber year in 2012. I would not be surprised one bit if he goes 30/30. I certainly see him putting up Carl Crawford type stats all over the field, at least.

  3. Professor Twain says:

    Ben Zobrist is also a great candidate for an All Star year. Give the man some respect!

  4. Joe says:

    Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings and maybe just maybe Matt Moore have the best shots.

  5. Charles says:

    I’m going with Joyce. This is his age 28 season, and though we’ve seen flashes of what he’s capable of doing, if he doesn’t put it all together this year he may never do it.

  6. pete says:

    I think we can get 5 or 6 in to the ASG. I think Shields continues on his path from 2011 and Price gets his change up going and becomes more consistent. Evan Longoria will be healthy and is a given when he’s healthy. Ben Zobrist will look like Zorilla and YES BJ Upton will explode while hitting behind Jennings from game number 1 and playing for a contract. Mark it down , Upton hits 30 bombs and steals 50 bases in 2012.

  7. Drew says:

    These are the most optimistic comments I have ever seen

    • pete says:

      This should be a World Series caliber team. Why look at the glass as half empty?

      • Brianknowsbest says:

        price, sheilds, hellickson, moore could easily be all-stars, longoria is as close as a perennial as we have. Zobrist is always on the cusp of an all star season. Upton and jeenings are capable as well. I think we have at least 3 alstars nect year and as many as 6 if the season goes in the direction I think it will. The Rays 1st 100 win season.

      • Drew says:

        Hoping that every one of our big offensive guys has a breakout year seems like asking a bit much. MAYBE 1 or 2 guys, not 4 or 5.

        • Beth says:

          Exactly. When you have established stars on your team you can sort of assume a good to great year, barring injury. But for the Rays current mix to result in a strong playoff contender, you need nearly everyone to repeat their career year or in the case of a Jennings, have his career year in 2012. That’s where the odds get low.

          • Tom says:

            Why do you say that Beth? They made the playoffs last year despite getting very little production from the catcher and shortstop positions. Longoria (although he was still awfully good) had what is arguably his worst season, Upton and Price were also nowhere near their career best. Heck, even Zobrist had a better year in 2009.

          • Beth says:

            I was agreeing with Drew, who pointed out that the odds of several non-superstars all having allstar years at the same time are not good.

            Tom, I loved last year’s team, really I did. But usually you don’t get a wild card spot with 91 wins. Last year’s team only made the playoffs because the Red Sox collapsed. If the Rays want to really contend, rather than just hope a stronger team fails, they need continued strong showing from their true stars (Longoria plus starting pitching) and career years from at least two others of the Zobrist-Joyce-Upton-Jennings group.

          • Tom says:

            My point is when I look at the 2011 team the only players I see who had carer years are Shields, Kotchman, and Farnsworth.

            Joyce and Longoria both had OPS below their career averages and Prices ERA was right around his career average. The 2011 team will most likely get better production from the catcher, SS,LF (Desmond for a full year), and 3B (hopefully Longoria stays healthy) in 2012 giving them a good chance to improve on 91 wins.

            As far as the 1st 6 comments in this post, if you take them collectively then no of course all of those comments will not come true but if you take them individually they all seem reasonable.

          • Drew says:

            Agreed. Except the ones with the numbers Longo and BJ are going to put up. I’ll bet my life against those.

  8. Don says:

    Devils Advocate..that I must play… to calm you people down…
    We have shortstops that can’t hit .200 we have a CF that can barely hit .200 hitting 2nd, we have an adequate catcher that is 100 yrs old in catcher years… might play 60 games the rest are bums playing 100 games.. and they are going to fool around long enough to lose their .300 hitting 1st baseman and Gold Glove canidate…
    How about playoffs…. off their pitching and getting plaster by the powerful hitting Rangers in the 1st round. you can probably book it unless unforeseen signing of a SS,catcher,CF and a 1st base replacement better than Kotchman….divine intervention?

    • Sam says:

      I have to agree with Don as far as hitting goes. We all know that pitching has to carry this team but to depend on anything from our offense is wishful thinking. Over the last 3 years Upton has NOT hit over .245, has NOT had over 23 HR and K’d over 150 times each year. Joyce will platoon with someone again. Our SS situation is even worse with a rotation of weak hitting utility players. A 37 yr. old catcher with unproven minor leaguers as backups. And no first baseman. The only proven hitter on this team is Longoria. I hope Jennings really steps up this year but that is far from a given.

      Please trade some of the pitching depth (we have at least 8 viable starters) on this team for a power hitting first baseman and realiable SS and/or C.

  9. RedBull says:

    Glad Don and Sam are fans of the Rays…Geez! You two act like Friedman doesn’t know where our holes are. Every year, they make the team competitive, and yet here you 2 are acting like they have no chance of being .500! Last year, no one thought we’d be a playoff team, but they made it happen with pitch and defense. They will find a bat this month, and I have every reason to believe they will…you guys need to just stop acting like you’re fans of the Rays and go start reading some Red Sox or Yankees blog!

  10. Joe says:

    Price – given if he doesn’t get hurt
    Shields – given if he doesn’t regress back to 2010 and after all his work to clean up that delivery, that isn’t happening.
    Longoria – given if healthy. Pretty much a flat out lock like his first 3 years if he’s healthy, really.

    The 4th has many options
    Upton – Please keep remembering he is playing for a contract and hitting ahead of Longoria in the #2 spot last year, the guy was a stud
    Jennings – Power probably wont be as good as it looked but his overall game of hitting for a good average, playing good defense, stealing many bags and the occasional bombs give him a chance
    Jeremy Hellickson – I do fear he will be figured out a bit this season but if I’m not wrong, this dude had an ERA under 3 in his rookie year and he flat out, out smarts hitters by pitching backwards. Trust the fastball and curve more and stop falling in love with the change up too much and he has a shot
    Ben Zobrist – He is so consistent with the bat and glove and even with his legs, he will be on the bubble again this year.
    Matt Moore – I don’t want to fall for shiny new toy syndrome so I’m not going to look at his 2 starts and call him a lock but the talent in that left arm? He absolutley has a chance.

    Honorable mentions: Kyle Farnsworth, Matt Joyce, Jake McGee

    My picks in the end are 5 players.

    Price (3rd) Shields (2nd) Longoria (4th) Upton (1st….that’s sad) and Zobrist (2nd)

  11. Joe says:

    Predicting Day 5, I’m going back to the 15 wins. That would be one sweet gift if the whole rotation won 15+…..

  12. Tom says:

    My picks in order of confidence
    Longoria
    Price
    Zobrist
    Moore

  13. LoLJFH says:

    If AF does swing a deal in January, who would we be interested to “trade for” on the Cubs? Or is there another team lurking if the beat writer from San Diego is correct (posted on MLBTR.com about 1 hour ago):
    •Center thinks Anthony Rizzo will be traded “in the next week or two.” He predicts Rizzo will be sent to the Rays, who will then flip Rizzo to the Cubs, where he is “still coveted” by (former Padres executives) Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod.
    I’d take Soto for Rizzo! Make it happen Andrew…..

    • Cory says:

      If we traded for Rizzo, there is no way in hell we are flipping them to the Clubs unless they flat out knock our socks off and make a one-sided trade that favors us. Rumors are ridiculously off-base these days.

      • Joe says:

        I agree, Rizzo has to be at the top of our list unless Stu wins the lottery and goes for Fielder, of course. If we do get him, no way we trade him, especially to the Cubs who’s best trade piece (Castro wont be traded) is a pitcher, our old friend Matt Garza. I think we’re good in the rotation.

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