Andrew Friedman appeared on 98.7 The Fan today with “The Commissioner” Justin Pawlowski and Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton. They discussed a number of topics, but the two that were most interesting were Derek Shelton and Jeff Niemann. You can listen to the entire interview here. My thoughts on some of the key topics are below…

When it came to Shelton, Friedman was obviously complimentary and talked about all the hard work and how it is difficult to judge from the outside because we don’t see what is going on behind the scenes. But the most telling comment was when Friedman said the following…

He is a great ambassador for what we do. His work ethic is off the charts. And really gets it from incorporating some of our data. Really understanding swing mechanics.

In other words, don’t blame Shelton for the Rays hitting woes because he is just doing what we want him to do. Remember, the Rays have a grand plan, and everything fits within that plan. Other organizations hire a hitting coach, and will just give him freedom to implement his own philosophy. But the Rays don’t operate that way. Much of what they do is driven by data. And the hitting coach is going to be expected to fall in line just like the rest of the organization.

On the rotation, Friedman basically confirmed what we have been speculating. That is, once Niemann returns, all six pitchers we stay in the rotation. That doesn’t mean a true 6-man rotation. Rather, Friedman says they will “get creative”…

We’re trying to get creative in terms of lining up our rotation to optimize matchups. But also give some guys a little bit of a blow here and there…We’re just going to try to balance some of our young starters and their workload and optimizing the matchups.

So we might see six different pitchers in one 6-game stretch. And then we might see a situation where Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, or Jeremy Hellickson is either skipped or bumped back 3-4 days for some extra rest.

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4 Comments

  1. Dave L says:

    Thanks for helping clarify the obvious to the most hysterical portion of the rays observers and commenters. That Shelton does what the Rays expect and if the time comes for him to be replaced, his spitting image will appear

    Dont swing at balls out of the zone is preached by every member of the organisation. Get used to it or find another pastime.

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    • Allen says:

      How about swinging at balls that are in the zone? These guys can't even do that. For Jennings, BJ, Carlos they swing way too many times are balls in the zone but don't connect. It has become frustrating to watch Pena bat, and even his fielding has become suspect. He's got to be on his way out, but with whom will be replaced? The Rays lead their division in strikeouts, and are 2nd in the AL behind Oakland, which is ahead of the Rays in HRs, 135-118.

      With a runner on 3rd, a one run deficit, two outs into the bottom of the 9th, who would you want at the plate? Certainly not Jennings (.247, 85), BJ (.245, 127), Carlos (.193, 151), Molina (.207), Scott (.226), Roberts (.221). i'd rather have Zobrist, Keppinger or Fuld who most of the time can at least get the bat on the ball.

      It is just painful most of the time watching these guys bat. We're going to end the season with a leadoff hitter striking out over 100 times. Absurd.

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      • Tom says:

        It is not that unusual for a leadoff man to strike out over 100 times these days. Jeter has led off alot during his career and struck out over 100 times in 9 seasons and 99 times in 3 seasons.

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