Joe MaddonNot many in the national media think much of the Rays’ off-season moves. But the most pessimistic reaction may be the one from former Reds and Nationals general manager and current ESPN analyst Jim Bowden.

In his annual off-season report card, Bowden gives the Rays a “D+,” the third-worst grade among all 30 MLB teams:

“The Rays hired Kevin Cash as manager and made a number of trades this offseason, with focus on quantity over quality. They still have the best starting rotation in the division, so if they can score enough runs and catch the ball, they’ll be able to contend again. Only time will tell on their offseason moves, but by “time,” I mean it could be a few years.”

Interestingly, Bowden gives the Rays a poor grade without even mentioning the losses of Joe Maddon or Andrew Friedman.

But to be fair, Bowden does give the San Diego Padres an “A+” for their off-season moves of which the Rays were a big part.



  1. Geoff Peterson says:

    There's a reason Jim Bowden is no longer employed by an MLB team

  2. Tony says:

    Sadly, the "Leader" will never fully be on the Rays bandwagon. We could sign a huge group of hitters, and we'd still come out at a "C+"

  3. Dave L says:

    I am not an insider so I can't get the full story nor do I care to. there was never that much on the other side of the pay wall that enticed me to pay and Bowden certainly never will.

    The Padres won if the criteria is the Riskiest off season. He may be right and it all may pan out but I am guessing it wont and the Padres will be screwed for 5 or 6 years as a result, but what the hell they sucked before so why not roll the dice.

    Rays management is much more savvy (and fans we have been taught) to always look 3 to 5 years+ down the road. I dont get Bowdens conclusion? If we can compete now plus are building for the future isn't that a good thing?

    • FortMyersDave says:

      Yeah Dave if the Padres suddenly get bit by the injury bug early in the season and by All Star Break are below 0.500 and 10 or more games back of the Dodgers then all the "know-it-alls" will be saying how foolish it was of San Diego to dump so much coin for a team that may end up losing 90+ games and be in a tight race with the Rockies for the basement of the West.... Even with all these off-season acquisitions they will be hard pressed to finish third IMHO as the Dodgers and Giants look to be rather solid but its baseball where injuries, breakout seasons and few bounces of the ball can make a 10 game swing and mean the difference between being a contender and a 75 game winner..... Look at the Rays last year, everyone was predicting 95 wins, then the injury bug hit and Peralta/Ballfour simply blew lead after lead in low scoring affairs where the rays simply could not hit with RISP with the player everyone is berating the Rays for trading; Zorilla having a horrible season with RISP and a manager in Joe M who really made many questionable lineup decisions and did not go to Boxberger/McGee fast enough as his 8th/9th inning guys; a wasted season and those happen more often than the season where everything goes right so I bet San Diego falls short of expectations because everyone expects too much of them.....

  4. Nathan says:

    Always laugh when the national media discounts smaller market teams. We're projected to have a better team WAR than the defending Series champs. We dumped the 3 worst players (in terms of WAR) from our roster (Escobar, Molina, and Myers), yet somehow the replacements won't be better than the combined -3.0 WAR. Randomly picked that stat to show you can paint the picture any way you want. I'm looking forward to this year as EVERYONE is going to have to pull their weight and they know it going in. True team effort.

    • FortMyersDave says:

      Nathan: I think the Rays got rid of Myers before it became evident that he was not going to be the 5 tool superstar that every Rays fan thought he would be when the Royals gave up on him and traded him away in the Shields deal; he had a great rookie year but what since then? I also think Myers refusing to get a haircut with his teammates in a charity event that was for cancer awareness was very telling of what kind of player in the clubhouse and community he would be; ie not leadership material if he refuses to be a team player for a good cause. He appeared injury prone last year and simply never got it together, perhaps the Rays wanted to move him while he still had value; before he turned into the Ben Grieve the second......

      • mep645 says:

        My thoughts are the same about Wil Myers. He wouldn't cut his hair for the cure. Remember just a few months on Rays, Longo bought him a Rays t shirt. Wil didn't wear any Rays clothes. Charlie Montoyo of the Durham Bulls said in the Durham newspaper that he was like a petulant 16 yr old, terrible to coach and just wouldn't listen to coaching criticism. I really liked the video of Wil asleep standing up in right field. Wil was injured because he drifted into center field territory and rammed into Jennings. He did the same thing at a 2013 Durham Bulls game that I attended but in that game the center fielder was out on the DL 8 days with neck sprain. I just renewed MLB extra innings, so I can see what he can do for SD.

  5. OriginalTom says:

    Which teams did he have worse than the Rays? My guess is the Dbacks and Braves.

    • Dave L says:


      • FortMyersDave says:

        He was definitely down on the Orioles, giving them a D in his December report card but the guy is kind of full of it when he talks about teams. He ridicules the O's for losing Markakis and not replacing him but from a buddy of mine who is an ATL fan told me that Bowden also berates the Braves for signing Markakis as he had a herniated disk in his neck and that they were fools for giving him a $44 million contract..... So expect a lot of double talk out of Bowden, I wouldn't take his report card too seriously, in fact I'd be worried if I was a fan of a team he gave an A to like the Padres....

  6. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    If a writer wants to be lazy and just make a list of key losses and key additions without using any criteria other than name-power then this evaluation makes sense.

    But, if a writer wants to actually do his job and look at the deals from multiple angles (fiscal, contract, payroll, stats, options, ceiling, etc...) it would be plain to see that the moves cannot warrant a D+ but more realistically something closer to a B. (With asterisks attached as we wait for the prospects to develop.)

  7. Kirt Bennett says:

    The Padres do not deserve an A+. They will not be nearly a good as these experts think.

    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      Agreed. I liken it to the Washington Redskins a few years ago when they signed Haynesworth and Coles and a bunch of other people, but nothing good ever materialized.

      Winning free agency means nothing.

      • FortMyersDave says:

        Good point Mr Smith! Another good analogy would be comparing all the signings with those that our Bucs did last offseason; everyone in the national media thought Lovie and the boys would be contenders, a couple of pundits including Herman Edwards thought the Bucs could win their division and be playoff contenders; instead they tied the Titans for worst record in the league and every one of their free agent acquisitions underachieved....


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