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“I live on a one-way street that’s also a dead end. I’m not quite sure how I got there.” - Steven Wright, Comedian
Sounds about right.
It should be obvious to most that Ruben Amaro Jr.’s ego has been waging war against his own rational sense of decision-making and his ability to consider the future of this Phillies franchise since he was handed the keys to the palace back in November 2008.
A speckled and spotty track-record ripe with big-splash acquisitions along with several transactions banking on a player’s abilities of yesteryear–each of which left the cupboard mostly bare down on the farm–is all he has to show during his tenure as the big boss man.
Even the most optimistic of Philadelphia fans (including myself) now envision the Phillies ship as a tired, rudderless old vessel drifting through uncharted waters without a compass. How did it ever come to this?
Ryan Howards Injury 2011 NLDS
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Friday, December.28, 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 had several lean years of pitching before a starter really made his mark. Out of the gate, Roberto Hernandez had helped the team with closing at least. In the early years, the best pitching was done by Rolando Arrojo, followed by Victor Zambrano, before he was traded for Scott Kazmir. The Mets/Rays trade was the foundation for the pitching staff finally evolving. Soon James Shields was up with the big club. In 2008, the teams 5 starters towed the hill for all season in what would be an eventual World Series Birth. Newly acquired Matt Garza, joined Shields, Kazmir, Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine for double-digit wins and winning records.
David Price was next to join the staff in 2009 and he has not looked back since. Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore joined the pitching staff in the next few years after that. The stable of bullpen relievers keeps coming and going. J.P. Howell has been the biggest mainstay there. Even with departing starters of Davis and (the Franchise Leader in several pitching categories) Shields, the team is not bare at the kitchen cupboard. The Rays finished 1st in Team Pitching ERA last year for all of the MLB. The next closest team in the AL was the Oakland – at almost a third of a run more.
The Rays have been blessed with some great years recently out of lower salaried closers. Whether it was Troy Percival, Kyle Farnsworth, Rafael Soriano or Fernando Rodney, Andrew Friedman has had a knack for gluing together a bullpen on a shoestring budget. With David Price winning the Cy Young Award in 2012, the best pitching may be yet to come for the AL East Team. Honorable Mentions went to these players, but they were not the same caliber as everyone else: Esteban Yan, Andy Sonnanstine, Kyle Farnsworth SP/RP Rick White RP Lance Cormier and RP Jim Mecir.
Scroll Down past the Franchise Links for the Pitchers or click on the Read The Rest Of This Entry Icon just past the Video Clip.
Franchise Series Links:
2013 Team Payroll Part 4 of 5: Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Updated for Myers Trade Dec.11/2012
Tropicana Field Expert Part 5 of 5: An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith
Thursday, December.20, 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 Tampa Bay Rays Franchise can be summarized into two different categories: “The Devil Rays Days” and the “Rays Days.” The Devil Rays endured 10 straight losing seasons to start the club’s history. From 1998-2007, was a complete gong show (645-972) and last place finishes in a tough AL East every year, except for 2004, when they finished 4th, although they did stockpile several top Draft Picks based on their horrid regular seasons. In 2008, all of that changed when the ‘Devil’ was literally and figuratively knocked away from the Tampa Bay team. Their young stars finally saw their potential realized and they appeared in the 2008 World Series versus the Philadelphia Phillies. The Franchise would lose in 5 hard-fought, weather fulfilled games, however the team was now one of the model clubs in baseball. From 2008-2012, the club has gone 458-352.
The Rays have made the playoffs in 2010 and 2011 since, plus featured two other over .500 records in 2009 and 2012. The club has now had 5 winning seasons in a row. There is still a long way to go as they feature the worst winning percentage in MLB History, with a 1103-1327 Franchise Record (.454). The next worst team is the Padres at .463. The Arizona DiamondBacks were the NL Expansion cousins of the Rays and they feature a Win Percentage of (.498), which is second overall for the Expansion teams. The Arizona DiamondBacks also have made the playoffs 5 times and won the World Series in 2001. Still if you asked anyone right now, the Rays would gladly be the team everyone picked.
Franchise Series Links:
Tropicana Field Expert: An Interview with Tropicana Field Expert Kurt Smith
Saturday December 17, 2011
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week:
Which team is going to bite the bullet and sell the farm for Gio Gonzalez? There have been big demands from Beane thus far!! Wade
MLB reports: Great question Wade! I don’t think we have gone an Ask the Reports segment in the past few weeks (or any days for that matter lately) without discussing the status of Gio. Gonzalez has been linked to the Yankees for some time, but with the asking price being Montero and 2 other big time prospects, Brian Cashman has wisely declined. I could see the Nationals getting in on the Gio Derby if they are prepared to pay the price, or the Kansas City Royals perhaps. From a numbers standpoint, Gio would be best served heading to the National League. His stuff and abilities would translate well in the NL. Playing in the American League, specifically the East, would be asking for trouble. His home/road splits are undeniable. Gio would have a hard time succeeding in a hitter’s park. But at this point, smart money is on the Yankees and Red Sox still as the frontrunners. This is not the right move in my opinion, but the one that is most likely to happen. But don’t count out the Nationals…they are planning some big moves still preparing for the Harper/Strasburg show.
Do the Mets go after Theriot? Gio Gonzalez? Trade Murphy? What does your crystal ball say? Raul
MLB reports: The MLB reports crystal ball- you have been paying attention Raul. Well done. I don’t see the Mets going after Theriot or Gonzalez at this point. Daniel Murphy is likely to be moved, although I don’t see a big return. The Mets biggest needs right now are another bat in the outfield, catcher and starting pitcher. I can see them going after a Jason Varitek or Jesus Flores behind the plate. As far as an outfielder, the Mets will scrape by with a Rick Ankiel or J.D. Drew signing. Someone to hopefully hold down the fort at a reasonable salary. Joel Pineiro or Bartolo Colon could be potential targets. 2012 won’t be pretty…sorry my man. It will be a rebuild year for the Mets.
Jesus Montero next year…what will be his line? Not Shawn
MLB reports: The mystery of Montero. I am expecting a big year assuming he gets a full-time position. Which he should and likely will. The Yankees will go from one catching DH to another, as Montero will likely replace Jorge Posada at the DH spot. He will also see time at first base and behind the plate. Despite 5 seasons in the minors, Montero is still only 22-years of age, believe it or not. To be realistic, expect a .270 AVG with 15-18 home runs, 70 RBIs, 60 Runs, .320 OBP and .420 SLG. Most hitters do not adjust to the major league game overnight, especially 22-year-old catchers. Montero will put up good numbers, but he still needs time.
When is a team going to sign Danys Baez? Jason
MLB reports: When hell freezes over? At 34-years, Baez is coming off two very unspectacular season. 2010 brought a 5.48 ERA and 1.636 WHIP, while 2011 saw a 6.25 ERA and 1.556 WHIP. We are looking at a minor league deal with invite to spring training at best. Teams will look at Baez when all the other useable pitchers on the market are taken, or injuries start to appear at spring training. If I was Baez, I would go take a nice long vacation around the world and leave my cell phone at home. He should not expect a call until late January at best. The man has earned approximately $43 million already in his career. If he has one more season in him, it would be a miracle.
Yeah what’s up with da Yankees? Why aren’t they making any moves at all?? Drewskie
MLB reports: We were asking the same question last year, weren’t we Drewskie? There is a combination of reasons for the Yankees inactivity in recent years. A very high budget with little flexibility contracts-wise. Many good young players coming through the system and ready to take big league roster spots. Very few quality free agents with unrealistic contract expectations. 29 other MLB teams which have little talent that they wish to move, especially to New York (unless the price is high). Finally, while many players want to play in New York, some are shying away. With the media and fan glare well-known in Yankee stadium, it is not the environment for everyone. So at the end of the day, Brian Cashman is being smart in making sure not to make rash decisions and make moves just for the sake of it. Remember A.J. Burnett? Rafael Soriano? Sometimes the best moves that you make are the ones that you don’t end up making. The Yankees still have a high-octane offense and plenty of depth. One or two more starting pitchers and fears will be alleviated. Stay patient as the foundation is there. Some under-the-radar pieces will be added in the next month. Trust me. It just may not be the moves you expect. But anything that allows the core Yankees prospects to stay in the system is a good thing.
What do you make of the “sky-high” and “north” of $50 million reported bid for Yu know who? Clues that it may be Toronto? Thomas
MLB reports: Speculation has really gotten out of control on Yu Darvish. Many outlets are reporting that the Jays are the winners of the Darvish derby at an estimated $48 million. Despite this being the golden age of internet information, there is no confirmations at this point. Darvish’s Japanese squad has until Tuesday to accept the bid, which is still a mystery to the public at large. I could see the bid being as high as $70 million. While the Blue Jays are apparently strong contenders for Darvish, don’t count out the Nationals, Rangers, Yankees and others. This is a high-stakes poker game. Nobody is showing their cards or folding yet. I still see the Nationals winning the sweepstakes. So we won’t know until the very end. While spending $100 million+ between the post and contract is a risky move for an unknown MLB talent, in Darvish’s case it could make sense. Between Japanese media attention, stadium revenues and merchandising, the Darvish brand could bring a high revenue stream to a MLB team. It is not the route I would take, but as I crunch the numbers- I can see how the expenditure is justified. Darvish will be playing Major League Baseball come April. But as far as which city will be lucky enough to have him is still pure speculation at this point.
Last question: Why does life suck so much without baseball? Tim
MLB reports: Because baseball is life. All kidding aside though, is life that bad without baseball Tim? We have many outlets to get our fix. Pop in a DVD to watch some older games or even a baseball movie. Pick up a baseball book, there are countless good ones out there. We have daily MLB reports (wink) of free agent signings and trades. This baseball offseason has been one of the busiest ones in recent times. We had a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Astros were sold and relocated to the American League West. The Winter Meetings. Talk of an International Draft. Expanding the playoffs. Realignment. There is never a shortage of baseball topics and news to discuss. If you have access, there is winter ball. Point being that even without live MLB games, there is always something baseball to-do and to keep busy with. Twitter. Facebook. Websites like ours. You can always find a baseball outlet. Pitchers and Catchers report in 64 days. It is a quick offseason. Look at the season half-full instead of half-empty. The baseball season is never done. We just happen to be in the offseason stage- but it is still a key part of the overall baseball year. I feel your pain Tim though. Opening day will be here before you know it.
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Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports: You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)