Tampa Bay Rays (17 days until Opening Day)

Yesterday: Tampa Bay Rays 3, Red Sox 3. Matt Garza looks stronger everytime out. Yesterday he went 4.2 scoreless innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 2. JP Howell relieved and went 2.1 innings giving up only 1 unearned run. Howell has yet to make a start and right now it appears as he is getting a longer look to be the Rays long reliever and may be a backup plan for the rotation. Elliot Johnson came on in the 6th to play second base and switched to shortstop for the final 3 innings. He handled his only ground ball and also caught a pop up. He also had a double and a walk at the plate and is now 10-19 (.526) in the spring with 4 walks and 2 strikeouts. We have to think that Johnson is now the favorite to be the backup middle infielder when the Rays break camp. Not bad for a guy that had the 5th worst OPS in AAA in 2007. Joel Guzman played 5 innings in left field trying to prove he can be a utility player, but he is only 3-18 (.167). John Rodriguez played right field going 2-5 and Jon Weber spent time in center and left going 1-4 with an RBI. At thirdbase, Evan Longoria started and went 0-3. Willy Aybar played the last four innings, going 0-1.


  • In case you missed it, yesterday we asked Chone Smith of Anaheim Angels all the way, to adjust he CHONE projection system to remove Rocco Baldelli and include Barry Bonds as part of the 2008 Rays. Having Bonds in the lineup increases the Rays projected win total from 89 to 92 wins. [Rays Index]
  • Joe Maddon was especially impressed with Matt Garza and JP Howell’s performances yesterday. Garza has now made three strarts against the Tiger, Yankees and Red Sox, which has allowed Maddon to get a good look at Garza versus strong competition. [Tampa Bay Rays]

“I think it’s a good thing for us to see,” Maddon said. “Every start is a competitive situation, but I think every time out, he’s gotten better, and you can see where he can compete against this very good [Sox] lineup. I like the steady improvement from what we’ve seen the first time out.”

  • Ken Rosenthal lists a few names that could match the Rays criteria for a replacement for Rocco Baldelli including Kenny Lofton, the Brewers Gabe Gross and the Blue Jays Reed Johnson. [Fox Sports]
  • DRays Bay takes a closer look at one potential replacement for Rocco BaldelliJon Weber. They note that his minor league numbers might be a bit inflated and that the Rays should be able to find a better option. [DRays Bay]
  • Rays of Light looks at some defensive statistics and their own POV and argue that Jonny Gomes is underrated defensively and while he may look a bit awkward at times in the field, he usually makes the play. [Rays of Light]
  • Brian Anderson’s career with the Rays is over before it began and his career is now appears to be over also. Anderson who came out of semi-retirement after two Tommy John surgeries tore a ligament and a muscle in his elbow. This is the third time Anderson has torn his UCL. [Bradenton Herald]
  • David Price will begin the season in high-A with the Vero Beach Rays. [Rays Report]
  • Julio Lugo was distraught over the news that Rocco Baldelli would begin the season on the DL. [Providence Journal]

“I read it in the newspaper and my heart dropped…I feel sorry for him,” said Lugo. “He’s a young guy and a good human being. He’s a hard-working guy, and this is frustrating. … Sometimes you’ve got to thank God for everything that happens. You don’t know what God is saving for you. It’s tough to see a guy like that going through these things and not being able to do what he loves.

  • We vowed to be done including links about the Shirley Duncan incident, but then we saw that Manny Stiles weighed in. He is always worth 5 minutes. [Armchair GM]
  • Joe Maddon feels MLB should suspend Shirley Duncan but not Jonny Gomes…We would love that, but Gomes is going to miss the opening of the regular season along with Duncan. Our guess is that Duncan will get 8-10 games while Gomes will get 3-5. Duncan’s action alone might have only cost him 2-3 games but the fact that he basically followed through on a threat made in the press, means that it was premeditated, and the league will come down hard on him for that. [The Heater]
  • The Bradenton Herald profiles Jason Hammel who is a “lego fanatic”. [Bradenton Herald]
  • Real GM has their 2008 Tampa Bay Rays preview up, predicting 84 wins. [Real GM]
  • We have featured The Dugout on here before. They run the “online chat room” baseball cartoons. They are currently visiting each team in spring training, and yesterday was the Twins “chat session” featuring a conversation between Delmon Young and Carl Crawford with some not-so-subtle references to Adventure Island and Fargo (the movie). [The Dugout]
  • Remember the letter the Rays send out to media outlets that use the Rays old moniker? So far Matt Silverman has sent out apprxomitely 50, with 30 in the backlog. He thinks another 50 will be needed after the recent brouhaha with the Yankees. [ESPN]

1 Comment

  1. Clayton says:

    Real GM has 84 wins, huh? I would be interested to see a Meta Analysis of all these win/stat predictions along the lines of the prospect analysis you ran. Would be interesting to see how close everyone gets.


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