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Friday, December.21, 2012
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Teams Payroll going into 2013 and 5.The Ball Park that they play in. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) Be sure to check my author page with a list of all of my archived articles section here.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Rays have only been around for 15 years, however they have seen their share of talent grace the club. In their inaugural year, the club signed Free Agents Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs. A few years later when Boggs retired, they added Vinny Castilla, Jose Canseco and Greg Vaughn all to the club. This movement did not work out. It was the drafted talent of the club that started to surface in the early 2000’s. Aubrey Huff and Carl Crawford emerged as AL offensive threats. Other picks like Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes started out on fire, yet quickly flamed out. The club saw other guys come and go before the 2007 started to show what the team was really capable of. Carlos Pena gave them a bonafide HR guy. Soon Evan Longoria was called up to the Major Leagues and the club featured one of the best attacks in all of Major League Baseball.
The offense has suffered a bit of a drop-off in the last few years, but newly acquired Wil Myers is one of the best offensive prospects in the game of baseball. Longoria is signed through 2023 and Ben Zobrist is a great all-around offensive talent signed for the next 3 seasons. While the team will still be predominantly based with great pitching, the club should see some well-rounded offensive players.
Tropicana Field is one of the harder places to put up great numbers, so we will see what the future holds. We must look at the past. In these Series I have been doing for the teams, a lot of criteria had to be met to be included in the Franchises best hitters or pitchers. Obviously with a 15 Year Old team, the stakes are not raised as high. I still looked for significant contributions to the team. Of course if anyone ever leads the American League in any category, that is usually grounds for inclusion.
Franchise Series Article Links:
2013 Team Payroll Part 4: Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012
Tropicana Field Expert: An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith