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

RAYS 4, Orioles 1 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Evan Longoria. Longo hit 3 home runs for the second time in his career, and took a curtain call after the final, something we don’t see very often at The Trop…Fernando Rodney. One last arrow from Rodney’s quiver for the 2012 season. And the result was a MLB record for ERA by a relief pitcher (min. 50ip). In the history of baseball, no reliever has ever posted an ERA as low as Rodney’s 0.60. Wow…Winning 90. Last night’s game may have been meaningless in terms of the postseason for the Rays, but you could tell the Rays played hard. Part of that was respecting the game as it was important for the Orioles. And part of that was a desire to hit that 90-win mark for the 4th times in the last 5 years.

THE BAD: Good Byes. Last night may end up being the last time we see several prominent players in a Rays uniform. BJ Upton is almost certainly gone. Carlos Pena will only be back if he takes a huge paycut. And based on a ratio of trade value-to-talent, I’d say Jeremy Hellickson is more likely to be traded this off-season than James Shields. Of course, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Rays kept all of their starters. But if there is one guy that other teams will be willing to pay the asking price, I’d bet on Helleboy.

THE TELLING: This was the first time since 2007 that the Rays won their final game of the season…Dan Johnson also hit 3 home runs in the White Sox’ game 162. They were his first home runs of the season.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • One of the great things about The Trop, from a television perspective, is the opportunity to present the game of baseball from angles not usually seen. And as much as I love Sun Sports, they don’t take advantage of this as much as other networks. For example, check out this view of Chris Davis’ home run from Tuesday. [BI Sports]
  • Bobby Valentine could be fired as early as today. [BI Sports]
  • Luke Scott is going to take out his frustrations on “God’s furry little creatures.” [@HallerDave]
  • Noah Pransky noticed some additions to this week’s story on the Channelside stadium proposal. [Shadow of the Stadium]
  • A profile on Laura McKeeman. [MyFoxTampaBay.com]
  • Making a case for Miguel Cabrera for AL MVP. [BI Chart]

 

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23 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    That picture of Upton almost looks like a video game shot.

    I will miss trying to catch his first and ninth inning throws into the left and right field seats. I caught one two years ago and had him sign it at fan fest and then I caught another this year on the Captain Morgan deck.

  2. Gus says:

    I’ve never been one of the “Upton to the death” defenders, but there is no doubt that in the last 1.5 years or so, he has grown on me as a human being as much as a player. He has improved at the plate, is still outstanding in CF and seems to be a good teammate, seemingly loved by the fellas. He is a flawed player, but still a good player.

    In Tampa Bay sports history terms, Upton has lots of Doug Williams in him. High expectations, massive skills, rushed before he was ready, raw, but an integral part of the historic worst to first turnaround, with a flair for the dramatic. At some level, maybe, some latent racial persepctives come into play in how he was viewd at first. But ultimately people appreciated/loved Doug. Same for BJ. Forced by thrifty onwership to cash in someplace else. Doug Williams was unforgettable. Upton’s 2008 playoffs, his hot months from 2009-2012 are as well.

    It is a credit to the area, the organization and to Maddon that players actually cry now when they might be leaving. I remember the days of Aubrey Huff ripping everybody and their brother on the way out of town. Seeing BJ cry in the dugout last night really got to me.

    I guess he has agent/union pressure to go cash in now, and you cannot blame him for that. But certainly Carl Crawford is a cautionary tale about the downside of chasing the highest dollar that Bossman should keep in mind. Good luck to you BJ.

    • Jay says:

      I kept thinking the same thing about his agent/union. It’s like this is predetermined.

      I am not foolish enough to think the Rays will be even close in negotiations, but I would think you go into it with an open mind knowing the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving.

      He won’t find an easier manager to play for, an easier town to play in front of (if he thinks this was bad, just wait), a better pitching staff to play defense for… but that’s what I see as a fan – this will be all business which = dollars in today’s pro sports world.

  3. don says:

    I had to laugh, most of the guys he was hugging, Brig.,Pena, Scott are not going to be here either….what were they saying good bye as Rays teammates. hell they still might be on the Cleveland Indians together, and Upton crying knocked me out….
    Hes probably the least emotional guy in a game..he puts on an act like he could care less if they were winning or losing…
    Only at defenseless umpires did he show any emotions..

  4. Beth says:

    I read an article somewhere that said Upton is probably one of the 10 best center fielders out there – but his promise and skill set gave us hope that he would, by now, have been one of the two or three best. I think this sums it up well — whether one applauds the “glass half full” of 10th best or regrets the “glass half empty” of potential not quite fulfilled.

    On winning the final game of the season — shows how much that matters! Who wouldn’t rather take the chance of losing in the postseason over the bittersweet experience of winning a meaningless game 162?

    • Gus says:

      This was a totally bittersweet way to end the season; playing their best; Longo running and swinging his best; even the starters being lights out the last 2 weeks of the season after showing some fatigue. No doubt in my mind that if they got in the tournament, they are the best team in the AL today. The heartbreak is that management couldn’t bridge the gap or keep the Bulls from re-injuring Longoria so that the hole they were in gave them no cushion.

      Trade partner of the off-season should be Colorado: likely management change, tons of good bats (just ask Oakland, who got Seth Smith for nothing) and absolutely brutal pitching (Wade Davis or Crhis Archer is their No. 1 starter today). The man who taught Matt Moore the knuckle curve — Pacheco — is a catcher-utility guy who could be had; the SS has nowhere to play with Tulo coming back. Michael Cudyer is a good player who is a bad fit in Colorado and could be had for nothing in a salary dump that the Rockies would probably pay $ to get out of.

      Market inefficiency 2012: teams making change for change sake. Rays should take advantage of teams like Colorado, Miami and Boston (Cody Ross?) who are cleaning house this season.

      • Tom says:

        I think the Rox will just move Rutledge to 2nd base next season.

        • Gus says:

          Colroado has a bunch of infielders and absolutely no pitching. Rutledge was a total surprise (and may be a fluke long term). He’s available.

          Surpisingly, Dexter Fowler is not loved by the Rockies existing management and they have surplus OFs as well. He would be an upgrade over Upton at 1/3rd the price and could be had for 2 starters — Archer and Hellickson perhaps?

          • Tom says:

            I like Fowler quite a bit but his Home/Road splits are scary.

          • Gus says:

            No doubt Fowler had some bad home/road splits. He won’t ever have the power Upton had; but he can cover ground like him and is a much more disciplined hitter. He is also a late in life (19) switch hitter, which makes you think he has some upside there.

      • Beth says:

        Agreed. Here’s Baltimore headed to the wild card game, and how many runs did they manage off of Rays pitching over 27 innings? Seeing what Cobb-Shields-Hellickson could do those last three games, not to mention all relief pitchers not named Farnsworth, makes it hard to watch lesser pitchers who will be in the postseason.

  5. Adam W says:

    For me this season wasn’t all I dreamed it would be, but in the end I’m still proud to be a Rays fan. If someone had come to me at the end of the 2007 season and told me that we’d have 5 consecutive winning seasons with 3 playoff appearances, I’d have taken that in a heart beat (after I finished laughing them out of the room).

    Way to go boys, it wasn’t enough this year, but with this pitching staff, this coaching staff, and out front office, I’m confident we’ll have a chance next year.

  6. KT says:

    “This was the first time since 2007 that the Rays won their final game of the season”

    Am I missing something? Didn’t the Rays win the final game of the season last year?!

  7. Alex says:

    I got to meet Evan Longoria on the field last night. He gave our animal shelter $100 for every homerun he hit. He was a very cool person. His girlfriend Jamie is a keeper. Very sweet. The Rays have been awesome to our shelter in general this year between the Rays player/pooch calenders and Longo’s individual support. The season outcome was a let down but I still love the Rays anyway.

    • Alex says:

      We also had Jeff Niemann come into the shelter to sign autographs. Another very nice player. And my god is he large.

  8. Jim says:

    I’ve always pulled for Upton more than any other Ray, because of his potential and all the flak he’s gotten from most fans. I’ll be sad to see him go

  9. Dave L says:

    I don’t understand why Hellickson would be more likely traded than Sheilds?

    Thats a head scratcher.

    The Rays would never trade a cheap young live arm like Helli. He’s a perfect compliment to the power pitchers we have.

    Kind of like a young Sheilds.

    Sheilds will be traded or we stand pat.

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