Joe is back with his post-game thoughts…

OK, Joe’s had it. Time to call a spade a spade.

Joe has zero issues about giving a guy mad kudos when it is deserved. But if someone is lauded for his good works, he should also be called out for his drawbacks.

Ladies and gentlemen, Joe presents to you Andrew Friedman.

Now Joe’s not going to say Friedman is some bean-counting, spreadsheet-loving schlub who needs to be jettisoned. Hell, no! That however doesn’t mean Friedman has given the Rays — or Rays fans — a fair shake at a postseason run this year.

The Rays are absolutely loaded with pitching,  ridiculously so. And for that Friedman deserves every pat on the back he gets from the baseball community. But as fans are booing Godzilla for popping out to end a 2-1 loss today, in which stud rookie pitcher Matt Moore got hung out to dry with virtually no offensive support, and as fans watch Karlos Pena makes a run at the major league record for strikeouts (he has 126 after today’s loss; the record held by the immortal Mark Reynolds with 223, who has the dubious distinction of recording 200+ strikeouts four times), they should realize it isn’t Merlot Joe who has kept Godzilla on the roster. It wasn’t Merlot Joe who signed a reject from a putrid Cubs team and heralded the signing as if Albert Pujols was added to the roster.

No, this is the work of Friedman.

The organization is filthy rich with pitching. Again, largely thanks to Friedman. Though Friedman deserves derision for not using that excess of arms to acquire a decent bat or two.

Yes, Joe knows this is not what Friedman does. Perhaps it’s time to start?

For years Braves general manager John Schuerholz refused to acquire a badly needed closer and how did that work out for the Braves of the 1990s? How many seasons were lost as a result?

So when you grit your teeth the next time you see Godzilla fly out, when you slam your glass of beer on the bar the next time Karlos Pena strikes out, don’t blame Merlot Joe. He’s not the guy who signed these over-the-hill albatrosses rather than trading for some offensive punch.

If we are going to give Friedman praise for having one of the most pitching-rich organizations in years — and he should be lauded for that — then we should also scold Friedman for not doing the right thing and getting some legitimate offensive help.



  1. petethehat says:

    Alright I've officially had it, I'm a great sports fan, stay till' the end of a game, never-say-die type of guy and I've never said something like this before but I will not watch another Rays game in which Matsui plays. 2 for his last 21 at bats 7 strikeouts (over 22 days) and the two hits were on July 1st. There has to be someone else in the minors or on the waiver wire more productive. This is ridiculous!!! And I for one am fed about COME-ONNNN!!!!

  2. Rome says:

    Wrigley watch. Maybe Carlos can serve better at Matsui's role than Matsui has.

    Rays should add Brignac and lose Conrad. Brignac can play 2b and SS. This would also move Beckham from short to 2b and move Lee from AA to AAA. Futhermore, this would bring Dietrich up to AA from A+.

    Rays should bring lose Matsui and try to bring up Wrigley. Pena is not the firstbasemen of the future. Is Wrigley? Probably not. But, let's find out. Wrigley and Pena could, at first, platoon.

    I am far more patient with a mid-twenties 14th round pick than I am in with a 34 year old first basemen or a 38 year old Designated (hitter)?

    Movement needs to be done from the inner system, for now.

  3. CC says:

    This is by far the worst Rays offense I have seen. And the defense is not much better.And Ive seen them all. This Rays team is literally unwatchable. I turn the channel, get up and do other things now when we are hitting and turn back when we are in the field. Only to check out our pitchers.Congrats to you Joe for calling out Andrew. Nobody else in this town has the balls to do so. Im still a huge fan but find myself losing total interest in this season.

  4. slacker775 says:

    Jeezum crow... Brignac would actually be a better DH than Matsui... I fully expected Matsui to pinch hit for Kepp in the 9th. It would make perfect sense with how things have been going.... Of course, he winds up pinch hitting right AFTER Kepp and does his usual.

  5. Rob says:

    I've been saying it for three weeks - this team is done for this year. Do something now while you still have leverage and restock the farm system. We don't need Rodney anymore and he will command a mint.

    I am really surprised actually because these guys came from the finance world and they are trained to read reality (what is) and keep emotions out of it (what could hopefully be). They should recognize an arbitrage situation when they see it and cut their losses now.

  6. Raysfan137 says:

    I have nothing to add to this article but agreement and admiration. Not going to disrespect it by even adding anything. It is simply correct. Well said.

  7. bucyea says:

    This situation has been 5 years in the making. The FO has done nothing to add to a putrid offense. It's amazing to look down box day after day, year after year, and see nothing better than .260. The middle of the field is horrendous. Upton is good in CF but very little at the plate, 2b and SS are pathetic, and the C position should be an indictment on the FO.

  8. Dave L says:

    While you are at it give the Derek Shelton thing a rest as well.

    Hitting coaches are amongst the least effective coaches in the entire sports universe. They just go around spouting their favorite catch phases. How many minutes of work per month do u think individual players have with a hitting coach?

    Guys like Pena, Scott, Matsui, Keppinger Zobrist you think for one second when they step in the batters box anything Shelton has ever uttered to them is anywhere within thier concious or subconcious mind? Get real.

    Somebody keeps saying that Shelton wrecked Zobrist with his penchant for walking.

    Who led the Rays in 2009 with walks? Pena? Nope he was second. Keep guessing...... Zobrist!

    When did Shelton get here? After the 2009 season was over.

    I think the only time the Friedman/Maddon/Shelton philosophy comes into some players mind is full counts. For alot of clubs- protect the strike zone and get a hit. For the Rays, a team full of mediocre and bad hitters- they know they arent going to get crucified back in the dugout by a Pinlella- like tirade if they just dont swing at what they percieve to be a ball out of the zone. Hence we are #1 in walks (50 above league average to date) and #2 in strikeouts.

    Kepp is the anomaly, his strikeout ratio is so low its otherworldy. If he had enough PA he would lead the league. We were at the game Friday and I was telling my daughter how Ichiro is one of the hardest guys to strike out of my lifetime. And how Kepp’s ratio was even lower. (Of course they both proceed to fan the next time they are up heheh)

    He is the only healthy professional MLB hitter on the 40 man roster, unfortunately. The other has bad hammy.

  9. bucyea says:

    Also, MerlotJoe has to take a good piece of the criticsm, he sure takes in the accolades. it's his fault our middle inf has ZERO chemistry, with his musical chairs style of lineups. He's the one playing Matsui and Pena, batting Pena second, no less. Maddon seems to shove it down our throats that he's right and everybody else is wrong. He'll bring Matsui up at these critical situations the rest of the year, until Matsui gets one GW hit, so he can say "I told ya so". Lastly, I found it comical listening to talking heads about how Joyce coming back will solve a big part of our offensive woes, but does anyone remember, Joyce, no doubt our best hitter, isnt even a regular in Joe"I know EVERYTHING"'s lineup.

  10. Fatmosh says:

    Man, you guys.

    This time last year the Rays were 51-45. They had scored 401 runs and given up 370. They were 8 games out of first.

    Right now they are 49-47. They have scored 396 runs and given up 394. They are 8.5 games out of first.

    So we're talking about a two game , 5 runs scored scored and 24 runs allowed difference.


    The big difference? Longo. That's it. He missed the first month last year and has only played 23 games this year.

    Do you really think Longo wouldn't have given us an extra 5 runs on offense? Do you really think him played at 3B wouldn't have prevented at least 5-10 errors? Do you really think having our best (by a mile) player wouldn't have won us an extra 2 games?

    Yes, we're running out of time. Yes, our pitching has let us down. Yes, we have too many guys under the Mendoza line. But we do EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR.

    The reason we are not living up to expectations this year (which, by the way, were higher than they should be) is because of Longo. That's it.

    If we get him back soon, we have a chance. And yes, maybe it's too late.

    But please stop looking for other reasons. This is a team limited by our financial situation, and it likely always will be. Accept their limitations; be frustrated by Longo's constant injuries.

    But, please, don't blame the things that have always been the problem and act like it's something new.

  11. don says:

    The manager of the year, and the smartest executive office since Morgan-stanley investment tips has put a product on the field that is unbearable to watch....will things get better...?
    Yes the olympics starts Fri. with Young American athletes whos only goal is to win....pride in their Jobs(country) refreshing...


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