Every year, we ask for 12 gifts from the Rays prior to the season. Let’s look back at this year’s wishes and see which “gifts” we actually received…

$12 Million Added To Payroll:At the time that we made this wish, the Rays payroll was projected at $38.1 million. On opening day, it was $41.9 million after the additions of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, and the subtraction of Matt Garza…GIFT NOT RECEIVED

11 Meaningful Games In September: What is strange about this wish, is that you could actually argue that the Rays only played about 7-8 meaningful games in the final month. That is, nobody thought the Rays had a shot at the playoffs until the final two weeks, and even then, it wasn’t until the final two series that anybody gave the Rays a real shot. Remember, at the beginning of September, Joe Maddon was talking about giving young guys a lot of playing time. But in hindsight, we guess they deserve the benefit of the doubt…GIFT RECEIVED

10 Saves For Jeff Niemann: This was before Matt Garza was traded. Niemann was never moved to the bullpen. But we are still hoping it will happen in 2012…GIFT NOT RECEIVED

9 Sellouts: Nope. Just two, including opening day, and the first home game of the playoffs…GIFT NOT RECEIVED

8-Game Winning Streak: On 6-different occasions, the Rays won five games in a row. But the Rays were 1-5 in games in which they were going for a 6-game winning streak, and they never won seven in a row…GIFT NOT RECEIVED

7 Games With The Same lineup: Fuld-Zobrist-Damon-Longoria-Joyce-Upton-Kotchman-Briggy-Jaso was Joe Maddon’s most common lineup. It was also only used six times. In all, Maddon used 130 different batting orders in 162 games…GIFT NOT RECEIVED

6 Months With A Winning Record: In August and September, the Rays were 35-20, which is the equivelent of winning 103 games over a full season. Unfortunately, the Rays also went 11-15 in July. Surprisingly, that was the Rays only losing month. But five months of winning ball is not the gift we asked for…GIFT NOT RECEIVED

5 Players With 110 Starts: Joe Maddon was still lineup-crazy, but he actually stuck with the same core quite a bit this season. Six players started at least 110 games (Ben Zobrist, BJ Upton, Johnny Damon, Casey Kotchman, Evan Longoria, Matt Joyce), and a seventh (Sean Rodriguez) started 108…GIFT RECEIVED

4 Healthy Months From JP Howell: Well, The Dude came back in late May and was on the roster for more than four months. But it could be argued that he wasn’t healthy until at least August. In the last two months of the season, we saw glimpses of the old Howell. But were all four months “healthy”? We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt…GIFT RECEIVED

3 All-Stars: James Shields, David Price, and Matt Joyce were all named to the American League all-star team…GIFT RECEIVED

2 Players With At Least 40 Stolen Bases: Amazingly, the Rays did not have a single player steal 40 bases, but if you squint your eyes, you can sorta, kinda, make a case that the Rays were close. BJ Upton stole 36 which was his lowest total since 2007. And the left field combination of Desmond Jennings and Sam Fuld stole 40 combined…GIFT NOT RECEIVED

1 $5 Million Bat: In January, the Rays signed Johnny Damon for $5.25 million. And while he wasn’t worth the three wins we were hoping for, Damon was still productive (1.5 WAR) and proved to be that colorful veteran player that can help a younger team relax…GIFT RECEIVED



1 Comment

  1. Adam W says:

    Is it bad that I wish the "4 Healthy Months From JP Howell" hadn't been received and then Maddon wouldn't have tried using him as much as he did?


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