USATSI_8048357_154511044_lowres

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

RAYS 3, Orioles 1 (boxscore)

THE GOOD: Drew Smyly. Since the Rays traded David Price to the Tigers for Drew Smyly and a bucket of balls, Price has a 4.41 ERA in 32.2 innings and Smyly has a 1.50 ERA in 36.0 innings. Smyly already has 4 starts with the Rays in which he has worked 7+ innings. He did it 3 times in 18 starts with the Tigers. He is also just the second starter in Rays history to work at least 7 innings in back-to-back starts, allowing no more than 2 hits in either start.

Drew Smyly

THE BAD: Yunel Escobar. I know he had 2 hits last night. But even with those hits, Escobar has a .288 OBP and .586 OPS and has been worth -0.2 WAR since the All-Star break. And it is not just his offense. He has been a negative-defender this season. The problem for those that want him gone is 2-fold: 1) He is relatively cheap for a veteran shortstop that has the ability to be a good defender when his head is on straight; 2) the Rays don’t have a lot of other choices at shorts. Anybody think Tim Beckham is a good option for 2015? Hak-Ju Lee has had trouble coming back from his knee injury and is probably still a year away. In theory, the Rays could put Ben Zobrist over there full time but he doesn’t have the ideal range to play the position everyday.

THE TELLING: Evan Longoria’s forearm is still sore, but he returned to the field last night…The Rays are now 65-68, 11 games back in the East and 7.5 games behind the Mariners in the Wild Card.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • It looks like the NHL is going to Las Vegas. Will MLB be far behind? [BI Sports]
  • DOWN ON THE FARM [boxscores] Alex Colome was pounded for 7 runs (5 earned) in 5.2 innings as the Bulls lost 8-1. Mikie Mahtook accounted for the lone run with his 10th home run. Nick Franklin went 0-4…David DeJesus went 1-2 with 2 walks for Charlotte. Blake Snell struck out 7 and walked 2, giving up 2 runs in 6 innings. His ERA is now 3.94.
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25 Comments

  1. Joe Dunn says:

    I hope Nick Franklin is having some fun and perhaps getting laid . . . because his stats are crap since Rays got him.

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  2. Dave L says:

    Excellent summation of Escobar's relative value going forward.

    If you think the bird in hand is bad.....better check the 2 in the bush and take a deep breath and then decide

    When Bartlett walked away we were in the SS wilderness for 2 years and it wasn't a pretty sight.

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  3. Gus says:

    1. Zobrist is a demonstrably better defensive and offensive SS at this point in their respective careers than Escobar. The real choice is the OF/2b starts that Zobrist vacates. Personally I'd rather see Guyer/Joyce/Franklin/Forsythe/Mahook/Lee/Beckham gets those starts than Escobar. He "kept his head on straight" for exactly one year, got his ridiculous contract, got fat and now will ride it out with his Stage Dad agent. A chance to get out from under that was lost. That was a mistake.

    2. Not sure if it will last and I know he's coming up his innings limit, but Smyly has been a joy to watch. He works quickly and mixes speeds (are you watching DP?). Against a line-up that has given us fits the past 2 years in that bandbox, that was, for me, the best pitched game of the season (bullpen included), even better than Cobb's gem last week.

    3. A complete disgrace that they will not make the playoffs with this starting rotation. One awful man in the bullpen, a bevy of bad offensive extensions/acquisitions. They fell in love with last year's team and got sentimental with those contracts. It really cost them.

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    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      I have to disagree with your analysis that Zo is demonstratively better than Escobar at SS. As Cork outlined, Zo simply doesn't have the range that Escobar has. Think of it this way, he is having a fairly crappy season and his WAR is still only -0.2. Experienced SS's with range to be had on the cheap do not exist. He's fine. Putting Zobrist in a box by making him the starting anything takes away a good portion of his value.

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      • Jim says:

        According to ESPN, Escobar war is -0.6 and his dwar is -1.4. so by those numbers he's actually improved since the break.

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        • Gus says:

          According to ESPN, the only SS worse than Escobar in defensive zone rating is retiring in 30 days.

          http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding/_/position/ss/sort/rangeFactor/order/true

          Zobrist runs circles around this clown defensively -- has better range, is more consistent, and obviously a better offensive player. The fact that the Rays are the worst team in the majors at turning DPs has to, in some part, fall on the SS, no?

          The myth of utility and versaltility is one of the funamental flaws of the Ben Zobrist career. He is a borderline HOF SS if they had left him alone in 2008 (but because Jason Bartlett was so beloved, they blocked him and he never got the chance again because Maddon loves to tinker). Every start of Zobrist in the OF was a waste once they finally called up Jennings, and with KK on the roster, even more so.

          Very frustrating to be one of the lone voices in the wilderness on this issue. To watch the Rays suffer so much offensively when at least one answer is so acceptable; go back to the lats third of the 2011 season when Zobrist got the SS job on August 1st or so and they were lights out. How hard is this. What can I see that nobody else in the Rays universe seems to see.

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          • Jim says:

            Gus,
            I would imagine that the A's quickly toned down their "offer" after his agent basically sad he didn't want to play there. After looking at his numbers for this year under the new deal and then hearing that he didn't want to go to Oakland, I'm sure it turned into a bucket of balls offer even if we ate some of his salary.

            And AF wasn't going to admit to another failure and take nothing in return. Bell, Balfour, Ovieda, Hanigan, and now Escobar.

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          • OriginalTom says:

            He is a borderline HOF SS if they had left him alone in 2008 (but because Jason Bartlett was so beloved, they blocked him and he never got the chance again because Maddon loves to tinker).

            Holy Revisionist history Gus. I love Zo and what make his story so great to me, Is that he was given a chance in 2006 and 2007 failed miserably and worked his way to being the excellent player he has been for the past half dozen year.

            Zo was given the SS job in 2007 and hit .155 with no power and did not draw walks. Bartlett came from Minnesota (in what is arguably one of the best trades of the past decade) solidified the defense and provided decent offense for 3 seasons. He was named team MVP (although he should not have been, he was NOT that good) in the year they went to the world series.

            Please show me evidence that in 2008 you were the lone voice in the wilderness calling out for Zobrist to play shortstop.

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          • Gus says:

            Obviously nobody new Zobrist was a Hall of Famer in 2008. My point is that if he was left at SS -- or even just at 2b until Bartlett flamed out and then allowed to play SS (his position in the minors), he would BY NOW, be a borderline HOF ss because his offense is so much better than any of his peers at the position and his defense is great.

            Instead they turned him into some science project which you could justify when the OF pool was low and the offense was decent; can't justify that anymore.

            As to Jim's point -- the A's claimed him; they had to take him unless the Rays pulled him back. The Rays got greedy and should have just let him go.

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          • OriginalTom says:

            Gus, I understand Jim's point about Escobar and I am not even arguing his point. I just found it interesting he would use WAR to make his point.

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          • Dave L says:

            The Zobrist as HOF SS theory was so wacky, I decided to look up some stats go along with O Toms memory of reality in the end of the DRays era.

            It backs up 2006- 2007 definitely as a failure

            BR has two stats which sort of extrapolate a guys defense to a 130 game season of 1,200 chances

            Rtot/yr ▾ -- Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Avg per 1,200 Inn

            Rdrs/yr -- BIS Defensive Runs Saved Above Avg per 1,200 Inn

            0 is i guess league average Plus is good Minus is bad. Its most based on range and

            For his whole career at SS Escobar is a +8 and a +4

            At SS career Zo is a -12 and -8

            This year Escobar is a horrific -15 and -24. this was his only SS year with minuses

            This year Zo is a -20 and a -12 not much better. Zo is usually pluses everywhere at all other positions every year.

            As fans we hold Zo to a lower standard I guess then Escobar.

            The Zobrist as full time SS HOF theory is novel though and certainly not pedestrian!

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          • OriginalTom says:

            This is in response to Dave L's comment about Zobrist's defensive numbers at short in 2014. I would not put much stock in them as they are base on only 26 games. A lot of variance exist in defensive stats.

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        • OriginalTom says:

          Yesterday WAR was a farce, now you are quoting it. Why the change?

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          • Jim says:

            JUST SPITTING IT OUT TO SO YOU GUYS CAN "COMPARE"!!!!!!

            it is a farce when comparing two different people(which is is supposed to do) by year to year on the same player, same team, same stadium, it has some validity. i could have just as easily put up his BA, OBP, errors and attitude. But since most of you live and die by "war" then i threw it out there.

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    • Dave L says:

      Offensive WAR is a great stat. Its cumulative and tells a great story and is the best simple way of quantifying values of not only 2 players but 2 players of different positions, pitcher vs postion player, different years and even eras.

      Defensive WAR is very cloudy and increasingly so in this hyper defensive shifting environment. Over the course of 3 or 4 years its a nice arguement.

      Defensive WAR over a month is slightly above Voodoo in its value.

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  4. Jim says:

    John Smoltz was on the Big Dog right after we signed Yunel. He was asked about him and what we could expect. He asked what kind of deal he was under, and Duemig told him it was a one year deal.

    He replied "ok, then you're fine, it's if/when you sign him long term that I would start to worry. they'll be some motivational issues. Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.

    So AF signs him to a deal and we see what has happened. Almost as bad as signing a catcher that lost his starting job at Cincy while being on the DL twice(strained oblique+sore thumb, and a sprained wrist) , and somehow expecting him to be healthy for the Rays after also signing him to a multi- year deal.

    If i owned a baseball team and I could only pick one person from the Rays organization to help rebuild a team from scratch, that person would be Jim Hickey. Smyly will prosper here under his wing.

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    • Jim says:

      To back up the contract issues with Escobar.
      His combined dwar and war
      2013 - one year deal was 4.8
      2014 - current club option + 2 year extension -2.2

      a 7 game swing by just signing a contract extension.

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    • Ted Sheckler says:

      Escobar wasn't on a one year deal. He was controlled at 5 million for 2 years with a team option for a third year at 5 million. If it was a one year deal, he would have been a free agent this last off season, which he was not. For the record, I thought the extension they gave him was a bad move. But he was most certainly not on a one year deal when they acquired him. They could have just kept him this year for 5 million and decided after this season whether or not to keep him for yet another season at 5 million, which is why extending him made no sense at all.

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      • Jim says:

        We could have let him walk after only one year. Is that better? But since you're being a little picky, I'm pretty sure you're wrong also, We actually had two team options at $5 million for 14' and 15' with only 12' and 13' being guaranteed. .

        The point was that he was only under contract to us for 1 year, and was basically playing for a job and wasn't comfortable and set for a few years with a multi year deal, but thanks for helping.
        .

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        • Ted Sheckler says:

          My bad. Nonsensical extension either way. They could have just done the same thing after next year if they wanted. Three one year deals was perfect. The Rays worry too much about keeping him happy.

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  5. Jim says:

    Cork,
    What is your best guess as to DJ's arbitration price for next year?

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    • Dave L says:

      Helli made $3.62M in his first year Arb. after 3 years of middle of rotation starter.

      Desmond has 3 years of 500+ AB's in the outfield. Top 7 to 12 at his position presently? A Full time player is worth more than a even a platooner like Joyce with better numbers.

      After catcher along with SS and Ace starter its the hardest position to fill.

      I'd guess around $4M? Plus or minus?

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  6. Jim says:

    Was there any rumors as to what the A's were offering for him? Anything of value?

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  7. STARMAND says:

    Y. Escobar should run for political office.

    I mean, what harm can he do there?

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  8. STARMAND says:

    "Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I've started averaging 15k a month••• The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start••• This is where to start... w­w­w.atchaboy..c­o­m"

    :)

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