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With Moore Out For TJ Surgery – The Rays Should Hold Onto Price Through 2015

Matt Moore finished 17 - 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness.  Losing this LHP will hurt the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 - 3 slots in the rotation.  That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 - 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost.

Matt Moore finished 17 – 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness. Losing this LHP to TJ Surgery hurts the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 – 3 slots in the rotation. That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  The squad will have to weather the storm for a few months with some organizational players that might include the players: Erik Bedard, Nate Karns or Cesar Ramos. With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 – 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost in 2014 and 2015..  Moore is under Team Control through the 2019 year, and when he comes back to the fold at 100% in 2015, hopefully the Rays will be vying for another postseason berth in the second half.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Lets face it.  The Tampa Bay Rays have had an incredible run at it.  The Florida squad trails only the Yankees for wins since the start of the 2008 season in baseball.

The club has made it to the postseason 4 out of the last 6 years, and possess 5 out of 6 years with 90+ Wins.

All of this with a shoestring budget, and incredible use of stretching dollars on player talent.

Every year, Andrew Freidman finds a bargain Free Agent that becomes an ALL – Star once he dawns the blue and purple. Read the rest of this entry

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The Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2014

The Rays are always at the bottom for attendance in the Major Leagues, which is a shame for how successful this team has been for the last 6 years - posting 4 playoff berths and an AL Pennant.  This has all been done on a shoestring budget - and facing the toughest strength of schedule in the bigs,

The Rays are always at the bottom for attendance in the Major Leagues, which is a shame for how successful this team has been for the last 6 years – posting 4 playoff berths and an AL Pennant. This has all been done on a shoestring budget – and facing the toughest strength of schedule in the bigs.  The 2014 season will pose the same kind of challenges and problems that have arisen in the teams history.  The Rays have to contend with high payroll teams like Boston and New York fielding ALL – Star squad’s throughout their lineups.  The management has done a fantastic job to stay competitive, and will rely on their franchise depth to post yet another nice record for a 7th consecutive year.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Tampa Bay Rays are still one of the best run franchises in baseball, and have put themselves in a position to contend for the AL East for yet another campaign.

I hope the Rays Management decides against trading David Price in the next 2 years, and just goes for a World Series trophy.

Being the 13th biggest city, and yielding the 28th lowest payroll in the game should not be conducive to sustained success, yet there the Rays are pesky every year.

It has been noted on this website plenty, that since the beginning of 2008, the Rays have the second best record in the game to the Yankees in this time frame.

In that span, they trail the Bronx Bombers by just around 10 wins.

Wil Myers 2013 Highlights

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Tampa Bay Rays Organization: 2014 Depth Charts + Rosters, (MLB + MiLB)

Joe Maddon has a career Record of 704 - 644 (.522), but is 552 - 421 (.567) over the last 6 years  from 2008 - 2013.  He runs his offenses like the Angels used to, with a NL style built on speed and contact.  He may be the best AL Skipper when it comes to utilizing players versatility and matchups. Maddon is also great at working in Rookie players.

Joe Maddon has a career Record of 704 – 644 (.522), but is 552 – 421 (.567) over the last 6 years from 2008 – 2013. He runs his offenses like the Angels used to, with a NL style built on speed and contact. He may be the best AL Skipper when it comes to utilizing players versatility and matchups. Maddon is also great at working in Rookie players.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart Expert)

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The Tampa Rays have been the model franchise in the AL for the last 6 years.  Of course the St. Louis Cardinals club would be the team of the National League.

Besides the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays have won more games in the last 6 years.

The teams record is 552 -421 during this time span, including 4 playoff spots and 1 AL Pennant.

The key to the teams continuous consistency is their Minor League System.  From 9 years of drafting high from 1998 – 2007, to then making smart trades, the Rays have have been able to sustain their club by using the farm.

Wil Myers 2013 Highlights

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Tampa Bay Rays In Payroll 2014 + Contracts Going Forward: They Should Also Trade David Price To St. Louis For Matt Adams

David Price became a 20 game winner for the first time last season, and it won him the American League Cy Young Award. That is really hard to match, but early struggles and injuries held him back in 2013.  He was 9 - 8, with a 3.39 ERA.  Since he is due a payraise - to the $13 - $15 MIL range, it is my feeling the team should trade him for a slugging 1B.  How about Matt Adams of the Cardinals anyone?  The St. Louis team will need an ace to replace Chris Carpenter - and could bridge the gap for his few years of eligibility.

David Price became a 20 game winner for the first time last season, and it won him the American League Cy Young Award. That is really hard to match, but early struggles and injuries held him back in 2013. He was  still 9 – 8, with a 3.39 ERA. Since he is due a payraise – to the $13 – $15 MIL range in Arbitration, it is my feeling the team should trade him for a slugging 1B. How about Matt Adams of the Cardinals anyone? The St. Louis team will need an ace to replace Chris Carpenter – and could bridge the gap for the team before Free Agency eligibility in 2016.  It was too bad Hak-Ju Lee was hurt for some of 2013, as that would have been a perfect package to help bringing back another Starter.  Perhaps the Rays should use Matt Joyce also as bait?  Maybe they could a prospect Starter after all.  The team figures to be around $55 – 57 MIL before Price.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

I am of the belief that the Andrew Friedman and Stu Sternberg have been the ‘model franchise’ in the AL over the last 6 years. 

Not only do they compete in the vaunted AL East versus the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but they have made the playoffs 4 times in that span, including a World Series Loss to the Philadelphia in the 2008 year. 

Had Evan Longoria not been hurt for the majority of the 2012 season, one could argue that the club was poised to make another playoff appearance to make it 6. 

So how are they doing this?  Their team payroll is roughly one-third of the Yankees and the 40 % of the Red Sox total Payroll. 

The Rays are smart enough to let their higher priced Free Agents walk, or even trading them before they are due significant pay raises. 

They are also using the philosophy of the ‘John Hart‘ Indians of the Pre-Milennium Cleveland Indians.  Once it was established that Evan Longoria could play at the MLB Level, they signed him to an 8 year contract. 

They did the same thing with Starting Pitching Matt Moore last year with a 5 year deal for the rookie based on one playoffs of decent pitching. 

It is a risk sometimes to do this, yet the rewards can save you Millions in future payroll if the new player (s) outperforms his/their contract (s).

Rays Highlights 2013:

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The Tampa Bay Rays Starting Pitching Is Not As Strong As It Was In 2012: They Miss James Shields!

The Tampa Bay Rays came into 2013 off of a great 2012 campaign. They finished third in the East but they did end the season with 90 wins. Doing so, they were expected to win the American League East this season. Picking up Wil Myers from the Royals for James Shields was a huge move for them. Was it a mistake now that we look back and the Rays pitching is falling apart without Shields' 200 innings.

The Tampa Bay Rays came into 2013 off of a great 2012 campaign. They finished third in the East but they did end the season with 90 wins. Doing so, they were expected to win the American League East this season. Picking up Wil Myers from the Royals for James Shields was a huge move for them. Was it a mistake now that we look back and the Rays pitching is falling apart without Shields’ 200 innings?  Tampa has many teams nipping at their heels for the 2nd Wild Card Spot in New York (2.5 Games back), Baltimore (3.0 Games Back), Cleveland (3.5 Games Back) and the Kansas City Royals are 4.5 Games Back.  They must correct their pitching for the final 3 weeks.

Ryan Ritchey (Featured Baseball Columnist): 

The Tampa Bay Rays rely on their pitching and defense more than any aspect of the game. Having great young pitchers is what they live by, and it has worked for their team.

But, it has been the complete opposite in 2013.

Injuries to multiple guys in the rotation has set them off track and now have to catch up to the Red Sox in the division. David Price and Matt Moore are the studs of their staff, but David Price struggled early and also went on the Disabled List along with Moore.

It is going to take a lot for them to win the division, but there is always the Wild Card, and when you are in the playoffs you never know what can happen.

Alex Cobb Hit In Head By Line Drive: Parental Guidance Advised!

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MLB 30 Team Power Rankings: Week 21

42 - 8, 25 - 3, 19 - 1, 10 wins in a row.  These are all significant numbers put up with a team with deep pockets, the ability to outdraw everyone, and owners willing to do whatever it takes to bring home the 1st World Series Title since 1988.  No one can touch these guys right now. Best 3 Starters in the NL and hottest 2 NL Hitters in Puig and Ramirez.  Oh yeah, the Bullpen has been lights out for the last 50 contests!

42 – 8, 25 – 3, 19 – 1, 10 wins in a row. These are all significant numbers put up with a team with deep pockets, the ability to outdraw everyone for park attendance, and owners willing to do whatever it takes to bring home the 1st World Series Title since 1988. No one can touch these guys right now. Best 3 Starters in the NL and hottest 2 NL Hitters in Puig and Ramirez. Oh yeah, the Bullpen has been lights out for the last 50 contests!

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

It is time for the MLB Power Rankings.  These are based on my thoughts on whether who has the best chance to win the World Series.

A lot of these positions are based on who has the toughest Strength of Schedule left, who their competition is for the Division, and possibly even the League they are in,

The races for the Divisions (AL East, AL West and NL Central are starting to tighten up, while the NL West, AL Central and most notably NL East are looking to be foregone conclusions

The Braves have rattled of a 18 – 3 stretch, and have been ousted by the Dodgers for the #1 spot in the MLB Rankings .

The Rangers are trying to ricochet off of a couple of great deals, in order to flame down the Oakland Athletics.

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How All Of The Tampa Bay Rays Hitters Were Acquired

Tuesday July.16/2013

 Evan Longoria is signed through the year 2023. He was earmarked as the 'franchise player' - and locked up early into his career.  His deal will earn him $145 MIL over the course of 15 years worth of service.

Evan Longoria is signed through the year 2023. He was earmarked as the ‘franchise player’ – and locked up early into his career. His deal will earn him $145 MIL over the course of 15 years worth of service.  He was Drafted 3rd overall in the 2006 Amateur Draft.

How All Of The Tampa Bay Rays Hitters Were Acquired:

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Tampa Rays – and how they assembled their current roster for hitting and Pitching.  It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see where the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted or signed.

Evan Longoria‘s incredible Bare Hand Catch During An Interview:

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Top MLB Teams 1 – 30: Monthly Rankings + (Top 200 Stats For Reading And Fantasy Baseball)

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Thursday July.11/2013

The Giants have gone 9 - 23 in their last 32 Games and are in danger of having a brutal campaign just one year after capturing the World Series.  Key injuries and overlogged pitchers have been the main point of contention. They lost 8 Ranking Spots.

The Giants have gone 9 – 23 in their last 32 Games – and are in danger of having a brutal campaign just one year after capturing the World Series. Key injuries and overlogged pitchers have been the main point of contention. They lost 8 Ranking Spots this past time.  Should they also become sellers at the Trade Deadline,  Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence could fetch a few players in return.  The Giants are currently 40 – 50 and 6.5 Games behind the NL West Leading DBACKS – but are in last in the NL West.

 

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

The time has come for the July Power Rankings with Stats Edition.  There will be one each for May, June, July, August, September – and then a special playoff edition Power Rankings will be done in October.

I will not do a weekly Power Rankings during these weeks, because in essence, these are the weekly rankings done on a much larger scale.

These Reports are done with a heavy thought to how the teams project by the end of the season – along with how the clubs have fared so far.

I will point out who has had great months for the all 30 MLB Teams.  I reward the good performances in these rankings – and leave the poor ones for the Podcasts or future articles. CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON or scroll past the video and picture.

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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (June 24th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

 

Photo: Mark J. Terrill - AP

Photo: Mark J. Terrill – AP

Yasiel Puig hit a first inning home run and then broke a 1-1- tie in the 8th with an RBI single as the Dodgers topped the Giants 3-1.

Cliff Lee pitched shutout ball into the 9th inning and was brilliant against San Diego. Unfortunately for him, closer Jonathan Papelbon imploded, letting the Padres tie the game in the 9th. San Diego would win it 4-3 in extra innings.

Michael Brantley hit a 2 run, go ahead single in the 6th inning and then padded the lead with a 2 run homer in the 8th inning to lead Cleveland past Baltimore, 5-2. with a homer and four runs batted in including a two run shot in the second inning as the Blue Jays clobbered the Orioles 13-5.

And Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven brilliant 1 hit innings to stop Toronto’s 11 game winning streak and was credited with the win in Tampa Bay’s 4-1 decision.

They all owned baseball on June 24th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Tampa Bay Rays Organization: 2013 Team Payroll, Depth Charts + Rosters, (MLB + MiLB)

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Thursday, June.20/2013

The Rays had a horrible string of seasons from 1998 - 2007 in terms of Won - Loss Record.  Because of their futile showings, they were able to draft high.  Since 2008, they have posted a winning record every season since, have made the playoffs 3 times, and have turned over the Roster several times.  They are competitive, cost effective and play in the vaunted AL East with powerhouse teams like the Yankees and Red Sox

The Rays had a horrible string of seasons from 1998 – 2007 in terms of Won – Loss Record. Because of their futile showings, they were able to draft high. Since 2008, they have posted a winning record every season since, have made the playoffs 3 times, and have turned over the Roster several times. They are competitive, cost effective and play in the vaunted AL East with powerhouse teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.  The brass of the organization has done a commendable job.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website.  He has developed a site (prosportsrosters.com) that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs.  We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective.  If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job.  So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!

Jeff updates this page below on a daily basis.  After you click on it….Bookmark it.  There is a 3 year salary forecast and stats not listed here on this page.  Jeff updates these pages daily and these changes include any Roster moves!

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Rays Organization click here

David Price 2012 Highlights – Rays Song:

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 11

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Tuesday June.11/2013

David Ortiz is providing the kind of difference at the DH position that is an automatic advantage for the Boston Red Sox.  The 37 Year Old has hit for a 3 Slash Line of .314/.395/1.018 - accounting for 13 HRs and 48 RBI in his 46 Games.  The DH position was created for one dimensional players like '''Big Papi", however teams are not imploring awesome players for the slot.

David Ortiz is providing the kind of difference at the DH position that is an automatic advantage for the Boston Red Sox. The 37 Year Old has hit for a 3 Slash Line of .314/.395/1.018 – accounting for 13 HRs and 48 RBI in his 46 Games. The DH position was created for one-dimensional players like ”’Big Papi”, however teams are not imploring awesome players for the slot.  Most teams use the Designated Hitter for position players that are nursing injuries.  The Red Sox have seen their best run in franchise history with the big man.  Later in this article, I will post a link on how valuable DH’s have been in the last 20 years in Major League Baseball AL Pennant Winners.  More often than not, you need a great DH.  Ortiz is signed through 2014 at $13 MIL for the next 2 campaigns.  One of the better deals signed in the offseason

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Another Week has come and gone in the MLB.

(MLB Reports) AL Hitter Of The Week – David Ortiz has come up clutch in leading the Bo Sox to a season – high 15 games over .500 with many game changing hits like last week. 

Having the best offensive DH is a decisive difference compared to the rest of league.  If everyone remembers, the 2012 Red Sox actually skirted near .500 until ‘Big Papi’ went down with his injury.

DH article from 1992 – 2011 here

Runners up were: Howie Kendrick, Josh Donaldson, Adam Lind, all had strong weeks – especially for Batting Averages, but Ortiz had late inning heroics that changed the outcome for his team out of his 3 HRs and 9 RBI.

(MLB Reports) AL Pitcher Of The Week – Jarrod Parker

The Oakland A’s Chucker went 2 – 0, with a 1.35 ERA.  He has thrown 6 Straight Quality Starts – and has won 5 of his last 6 decisions after starting the year 0 – 5.

Runners Up were  Jeremy Hellickson and Clay Buchholz,

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The Pitching Artist Formerly Known As Fausto Carmona Needs To Be DFA’d!

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Sunday, Apr.28/2013

Through five outings Hernandez is 1-4 record with a 5.28 ERA in just over thirty innings of work. His kryptonite this season has been the long ball in almost every start Hernandez gives up at least one long ball.The long ball has been a big issue for Hernandez this season, giving up eighteen earned runs in a little over thirty innings this season. One good spot is that even though the sinker baller is not getting many of those groundballs he is used to, he has been striking hitters out at a good rate.  In three out of his five starts, Hernandez has struck out seven batters and in the other two he struck out at least four per start. While only walking an average of three per start.

Through 5 outings, Hernandez is 1-4 record with a 5.28 ERA in just over 30 IP of work. His kryptonite this season has been the long ball.  In almost every start Hernandez gives up at least one long ball – giving up 18 ER in his time thus far in total.  One good spot is that even though the sinkerballer is not getting many of those groundballs he is used to, he has been striking hitters out at a good rate. In three out of his five starts, Hernandez has fanned 7 batters and in the other two Game Starts – he punched out at least four per start. He is also walking an average of 3 hitters per start.

By Jake Bullington (Rays Correspondent): 

Roberto Hernandez,  ( AKA Fausto Carmona), was supposed to be insurance for the Tampa Bay Rays this year.  The club was supposed to have Jeff Niemann re-assume his spot in the Starting Pitching Rotation – along with David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb and  Matt Moore to round out the top 5.

James Shields and Wade Davis. were dealt away to acquire Wil Myers on the basis of this assumption.  However, Niemann was been hurt – and we are still a few weeks away before Chris Archer is brought up for good.  Thus the club has had to use the beleagured ex Indians chucker.

Roberto Hernandez lone good start for Tampa Bay:

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The Rays Need To Call Up Wil Myers Pronto!

2 And A Hook Podcast Talks About Calling UP Wil Myers – 25 Minute Mark

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Thursday Apr.18/2013

Myers ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha. The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future for many years to come. The club has featured a futile attack with the bats - hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .204//284/.588. They have scored only 39 Runs - while allowing 59 Runs through 13 Games.

Myers ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha. The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future for many years to come. The club has featured a futile attack with the bats – hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .204//284/.588. They have scored only 39 Runs – while allowing 59 Runs through 13 Games.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

First off, I wanted to say that I completely respect the Tampa Bay Rays – and especially am an avid supporter of the head office – including GM Andrew Freidman.  I will get to all of this in this article.

It is time to call up Wil Myers to the big club! 

The club is mired in a slow start at 4 – 9 and are already 5 Games Behind the AL East Division Leaders ‘Boston Red Sox.

The team traded away Veteran Pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City in order to acquire the top hitting prospect.

Here is why the time makes sense.

Service time for Super 2 Arbitration Status and Free Agency Year aside, this clubs current offense is abysmal despite having great pitching ability.

Wil Myers Highlight Reel:

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Rays Say No Time To Panic: It Has Just Been 10 Games

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Sunday, Apr.14/2013

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game.  He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the 4 years - including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  At Age 31, Zobrist goes into a contract year.    Ben Zobrist has been a big bright spot for the Rays this season. Zobrist who continues this season with his musical chairs role on the team has not let his bat cool down 10 games into the season. Rays fans need not worry this early. With only 10 games played in the young season now is not the time to start throwing in the towel and saying that GM Andrew Friedman and his staff have lost their touch.

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game. He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the 4 years – including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009. At Age 31, Zobrist goes into a contract year. Ben Zobrist has been a big bright spot for the Rays this season. Zobrist who continues this season with his musical chairs role on the team has not let his bat cool down 10 games into the season. Rays fans need not worry this early. With only 10 games played in the young season now is not the time to start throwing in the towel and saying that GM Andrew Friedman and his staff have lost their touch.

By Jake Bullington (Rays Correspondent): 

Ben Zobrist aside, the Rays have started this season with a four and six record and are currently in last place in the American League East division, but this is not cause for concern.

Sure David Price does not have his first win of the season and has an ERA up to almost six ( 5.82 to be exact), but the Rays are not worried so why should we be.  

The club started at 0 – 6, before making the playoffs in 2011, so there is no way Joe Maddon will hit the panic button in 2013.

David Price Highlights 2012 – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Tampa Bay Rays Player Roster In 2013 Part 2 – The Pitchers: State Of The Union

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Sunday, Mar.03/2013

The Rays led the Major Leagues last year in ERA (3.19) and were 3rd in team SO.  They also converted 50 of 58 Saves.  Even more impressive was that they were 45-31 with a 2.60 ERA after the ALL-Star Break.  They traded veterans Wade Davis and James Shields away for top level prospects.  Will they be able to duplicate their 2012 numbers with their young talented pitchers improving the club internally?

The Rays led the Major Leagues last year in ERA (3.19) and were 3rd in team SO. They also converted 50 of 58 Saves. Even more impressive was that they were 45-31 with a 2.60 ERA after the ALL-Star Break. They traded veterans Wade Davis and James Shields away for top level prospects. Will they be able to duplicate their 2012 numbers with their young talented pitchers improving the club internally?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

The Rays are a team built on their strong pitching and timely hits.  The majority of their hurlers are homegrown.  The unfortunate part about all of this is that the Rays have a Stadium problem.  Tropicana Field just doesn’t bring in enough revenue in order to pay their pitchers once they become eligible to be Free Agents.  Let’s face it, when you can’t bank on a pitcher being healthy for the duration of his contract, the management will be hard pressed to sign a pitcher to a long – term, 9 figure contract.

The Tampa fans had better enjoy seeing David Price for the next 3 years – because he is on a path to the kind of dollars that will see him leave town.  The Rays have made their investment in their franchise player already in Evan Longoria.  So here continues the continual revolving door.  The good news is that the organization has stockpiled the kind of talented Minor League System that should be able to brunt the force of such a catastrophic loss forthcoming with the reigning AL CY Young winner.

Price might just be the premier Left Handed Pitcher in the MLB right now.  After him in the Starting Rotation is Jeremy HellicksonMatt Moore, Alex Cobb and Jeff Niemann.  The team alsoadded Roberto Hernandez (Don’t call me Fausto,) for added insurance.  There are 2 highly touted prospects with both Chris Archer and Mike Montgomery possibly seeing some time up with the big club.  They also could see Jake Odorizzi challenge for a spot in the rotation.

David Price Highlights in 2012:

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Tampa Bay Rays Player Roster In 2013 Part 1 – The Hitters: State Of The Union

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Sunday, Mar.03/2013

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game.  He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the 4 years - including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  At Age 31, Zobrist goes into a contract year.

Ben Zobrist has quietly turned into one of the best all around players in the game. He has finished in the top 10 for WAR in 3 of the last 4 years – including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009. At Age 31, Zobrist goes into a contract year in 2013.  It may be his last season with TB.

By Jake Bullington (Rays Correspondent)

Part 1: The hitters:

2012 saw the Tampa Bay Rays miss the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They would finish a very respectable 90-win season and finish third in the AL Wild card. The offseason saw much of what Rays fans are used to from this small market club. Impact players such as B.J. Upton (ATL), Jeff Keppinger (CHW),  and Carlos Pena (HOU),  would move on to greener pastures and sign elsewhere. That meant GM Andrew Friedman and his team would get to work. They would pick up options on SP James Shields, CL Fernando Rodney, and C Jose Molina. They would decline the option on DH Luke Scott and later sign him back.

The offseason would also see the reworking of a long-term deal to keep the Rays 3B Evan Longoria in a Rays uniform at least through the 2022 season. But with Free Agency looming for “Big Game” James the Rays would do what they do best and send Shields, Wade Davis, and a PTBNL (Elliot Johnson) to the Royals for a prospect package that included future rotation regulars Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi and MLB.com 2nd best prospect OF Wil Myers. The Rays would shore up the middle of the infield by Signing and trading for the Blue Jays previous middle infield of Yunel Escobar (MIA) and Kelly Johnson (FA). To replace Carlos Pena, the Rays would sign Free Agent James Loney.   The organization also brought back Joel Peralta on a deal that included a record three Club Options.

Desmond Jennings Highlights:

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Tampa Bay Rays Payroll 2013 And Contracts Going Forward: Part 4 Of A 5 Part Rays Series

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Sunday Mar.03/2013

Will ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha.  The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future

Will Myers ascended onto the PCL scene last year and ripped out 24 HRs in just 99 Games at Omaha. The Rays will be counting on him for their offensive future.  As a Controllable Player for years, he changes the Salary structure of the Team to Lower the committed dollars from what Shields and Davis would have made.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

New Changes to the old article in Purple: 

I am of the belief that the Andrew Friedman and Stu Sternberg have been the ‘model franchise’ in the MLB over the last 5 years.  Not only do they compete in the vaunted AL East versus the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but they have made the playoffs 3 times in that span, including a World Series Loss to the Philadelphia in the 2008 year.  Had Evan Longoria not been hurt for the majority of the season, one could argue that the club was poised to make another playoff appearance.  So how are they doing this?  Their team payroll is roughly one-third of the Yankees and the 40 % of the Red Sox total Payroll.  The Rays are smart enough to let their higher priced Free Agents walk, or even trading them before they are due significant pay raises. 

They are also using the philosophy of the ‘John Hart‘ Indians of the Pre-Milennium Cleveland Indians.  Once it was established that Evan Longoria could play at the MLB Level, they signed him to an 8 year contract.  They did the same thing with Starting Pitching Matt Moore last year with a 5 year deal for the rookie based on one playoffs of decent pitching.  It is a risk sometimes to do this, yet the rewards can save you Millions in future payroll if they player outperforms his contract.

Rays Highlights 2012 Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance Is advised:

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The Rays Trade And Draft Record Is Impressive: However Most Of The Best Players Are Now Ex-Rays

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Tuesday, January.08/2013

The Rays Management has been a lot better under the tutelage of the these 3 gentleman.  It is too bad that cant secure an MLB Park with the amount of revenue to pay their great players once they become great.

The Rays Management has been a lot better under the tutelage of the these 3 gentleman. It is too bad that cant secure an MLB Park with the amount of revenue to pay their great players once they become great.

By Jake Bullington (Rays Correspondent)

The Tampa Bay Rays have had a great history of producing great MLB talent ever since the current regime of Stu Sternberg, Matt Silverman, Andrew Friedman, and Joe Maddon took over. Their system, is to build talent up in hopes to sign to club friendly long-term deals and have them produce until the price tag becomes just too high and then get the next era in from trades .When it comes to pitching however its a whole new ball game. The Rays have an unmatched system for finding pieces from all over and putting them into a mix that at best could be described as ” an Island of misfit toys” but it works. If you take a look at the Rays bullpen the last couple years you see a couple of guys stand out that really had no place anywhere else. 

In 2008, Grant Balfour became what no body thought he was, a great pitcher. In 2008 Balfour went 6-2 in 51 games with a 1.54 ERA and a staggering .89 WHIP. Balfour was signed that season for just above the league minimum at $500,000. Balfour would go onto to Oakland a few years later and signed for a little over 3 Million Dollars.

B.J. Upton Highlights – Parental Guidance is advised

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The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

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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.

James Shields ALL-Time so far. David Price may not take very long to surpass all of is Franchise Records James Shields has been the teams best chucker of ALL-Time so far. David Price may not take very long to surpass all of his Franchise Records with Shields heading to KC  now

James Shields  enjoys most of the Teams  ALL-Time Pitching Records so far.  David Price may not take very long to surpass all of his Franchise Records with Shields heading to KC now.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

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:

Franchise History: The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Hitters  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

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

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The Tampa Bay Rays: The Franchise 1998-2012: Part 1 Of A 5 Part Article Series

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.

The many Rays Logo's over the years.  Is the best of this franchise yet tom come

The many Rays Logo’s over the years. Is the best of this franchise yet to come?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

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:

The Hitters:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Hitters 1998-2012: Part 2 Of A 5 Part Article Series

The Pitchers:  The Tampa Bay Rays: The Pitchers 1998-2012: Part 3 Of A 5 Part Article Series

2013 Team Payroll:  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

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Dissecting The Royals And Rays Trade: Shields And Davis For Wil Myers + Prospects

Tuesday, Dec.11/2012

James Shields has 2 years left on his contract with the Rays.  He was the first player they signed to many years of Club Options.  It is a system they have used to sign Zobrist, Longoria and Moore.  It gives the team the flexibility to option out of a contract with a player heading into any year

James Shields has 2 years left on his contract with the Royals.  He is 31-22 with 448 Strikeouts in 477 IP in the last 2 years.  While he might not be a Premiere Ace, he is a front end starter that Kansas City has not had for a long ime.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

We at the MLB Reports have established that we are far more in favor of acquiring hitters than pitchers in today’s MLB.  Why do you ask?  It is simple. The amount of pitchers that end up injured for the year is mind boggling.  You can check out our Tommy John Surgery Tracker Page here.  Point being, is that is risky to trade away top tier offensive prospects for pitching in return.  Having said this, I like this trade of James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be named later, for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard for both clubs.  It addresses immediate concerns with a look to the future.  To fully assess how this trade will break down we start with the Royals: Read the rest of this entry

Florida Baseball and The San Juan Rays

Thursday November 15th, 2012

Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst)

Last week Jonathan Hacohen, the founder of MLBReports.com called to my attention that the Tampa Bay Rays are an anomaly.  Ultimately, if you look at the way their team is structured and where their talent lays, and the kind of game that Joe Maddon manages the Rays are ultimately a National League team; displaced in the AL East.  The Rays greatest strength is their depth of pitching that they can reach into the bowels of an amazing farm system ripe with young talent.  But from there on out, they rely on an offense that generates runs due to other inefficiencies.

Joe Maddon might very well be the best manager in baseball. He possesses a unique approach to the game, that if had to be categorized, is definitely more national league style than american league. He has to be creative in how he manufactures runs, as his offense does not boast the big sluggers other AL East teams do. He does, however, have a plethora of pitching talent available.

With B.J. Upton leaving town, and Carlos Pena only a carcass of what he once was, there is ultimately zero power left in their lineup.  Their DH for the past two years have been the likes of an aging Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Luke Scott.  Ownership is constantly complaining about attendance and looking for bargain free agents like Johnny Damon to bring in at the end of their careers and hopefully attract some Yankees and Red Sox fans to the stadium.

At this point, the Rays power hitters are Evan Longoria, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist.  They have an amazing nucleus of pitching talent, including David Price who just won the AL Cy Young, and they are mentioning trading almost all of their starting pitchers.  This is understandable, as you have to dish out talent to bring back offensive talent that they are in great need of.  But I still have major gripes with the way owner Stuart Sternberg has approached the past 4 seasons in St. Petersburg, and I will get into more detail about this in a little while. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Realignment, Ross to the Red Sox, Izturis to the Jays, Breaking Up the Rays and Remembering Matt Garza

Monday November 12th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: I will admit that this is a great time of year. I love speculating on free agency signing and the trades that are coming up. But I am getting to the point that there are three words that I no longer feel like speaking: Hamilton, Greinke and Upton. You know exactly who I am talking about. The most popular catches on the market: free agents Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke and B.J. Upton (with his brother Justin Upton apparently available on the trade market). My flavor is lesser lights, like Mike Napoli, Joakim Soria, Hiroki Kuroda, Ryan Madson and so forth. I really think that someone will get a steal in Mike Napoli. I also think that someone will be very frustrated with Edwin Jackson. And if a team gives Anibal Sanchez anything close to the reported $90+ million that he is seeking- get ready for a Vernon Wells contract disaster to appear. 

With all the talk of free agency and hot stove, remember that the WBC qualifiers are still being played. Groups 3 and 4 are set to do battle, starting in 4 short days. Panama and Taiwan are the lucky venues that will be hosting these upcoming classic games. My picks to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic? Panama in Group 3 and Thailand in Group 4. A very balanced group of countries that will be competing and in a short series, anything can happen. I like the addition of Johnny Damon to the Thailand squad, I really think that he will be a difference maker. Those are my two cents at least.

So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

David Price: The Best Starting Pitcher in the American League?

Tuesday July 24th, 2012



Jake Dal Porto (MLB reports Intern Candidate):  The American league consists of several dominant pitchers, but David Price is arguably the best of the crop. Better yet, he hasn’t even reached his full potential as a pitcher at the ripe age of just 26 years-old. While his stats are far ahead of his experience in the major leagues, there’s still room for him to grow… which is actually quite scary.

 

Price took the American League by a storm in 2010. Leading the Rays’ rotation at the age of just 23, he finished the season with an astounding 19-6 record accompanied by a stellar 2.72 ERA, nearly winning the A.L. Cy Young award. Although the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez edged him out for the honor, baseball took notice on Price’s exceptional season. Yet, this was just the tip of the iceberg for him. Read the rest of this entry

What to Expect from Tim Lincecum in the Second Half: The Return of the Giants Ace to Form?

Thursday July 12th, 2012

Sam Evans: Tim Lincecum has been proving doubters wrong his whole life. Despite his small frame, Lincecum has managed to win the Golden Spikes award and two N.L. Cy Young awards. However, in 2012 Lincecum hasn’t looked like the same pitcher. He has not only lost velocity on his fastball, but his numbers across the board are not what we expected from one of the best pitchers in the game. It’s hard to conclude what has caused Lincecum to struggle in his first fifteen starts. But the question on everyone’s mind is: what is next for Lincecum?

From 2007 to 2011, Tim Lincecum ranked fifth in Wins Above Replacement among all starting pitchers. He was simply dominant. In 2008 and 2009, Lincecum became the first pitcher ever to win back-to-back Cy Young awards in their first two full seasons. The Giants largely owe their 2010 World Series title to Lincecum and his 2.43 ERA in the playoffs. Heading into the 2012 season, the Giants reportedly offered Lincecum a five-year, $100 million contract, which he turned down to sign a two-year deal worth about $40 million. Looking back at it, Lincecum probably should have taken the deal which offered him long-term security. Read the rest of this entry

Rays Are a Serious Contender

Monday May 14, 2012

Ryan Ritchey: The Tampa Bay Rays are a team to watch this season for sure. A 21-14 record has them 1 game back of Baltimore for first in the East. The Rays this off-season went out and got Carlos Pena back from Chicago and moved Fernando Rodney to closer. The Rays depend on pitching to carry them and they have the starting pitching to do it. Leading the way for this staff is James Shields. Shields is 6-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Not far behind is Jeremy Hellickson who is 3-0 with a team leading 2.95 ERA. Both of these guys are going to need to lead this team to the promise land. Read the rest of this entry

2012 Fantasy Rankings: Who Ranks Higher – Moore or Hellickson?

Sunday March 25th, 2012

Sam Evans: The Tampa Bay Rays front office has assembled one of the most talented and youthful rotations in the Major Leagues. Matt Moore is the best pitching prospect in baseball and is ready to make an impact in the majors this year. Jeremy Hellickson was the 2011 A.L. Rookie of the Year and he will look to build on his success in 2012. So my question is, if you play fantasy baseball, which Rays pitcher should you draft first? Read the rest of this entry

The 2012 Tampa Bay Rays Starting Rotation

Friday January 13th, 2012


Rob Bland:  Starting pitching surplus.  This is a phrase that every Major League Baseball franchise wishes they could say they possess.  However, one team that is quickly becoming a power in the AL East, has just that.  The Tampa Bay Rays’ rise to success began in 2008 where they were crowned the American League champions.  Since then, they have won due mostly to their strong pitching.  A while back, I heard someone say that the Rays franchise is like an onion: peel one layer off, and there is another layer there waiting to blossom.  When they lost Carl Crawford, probably the best player in franchise history, to free agency, ultra prospect Desmond Jennings came to Tropicana Field.  When Matt Garza was traded to the Chicago Cubs, hyped pitching prospect Jeremy Hellickson took over the 5th spot of the rotation and finished the season with a 13-10 record and 2.95 ERA.  Oh, and he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award just to top it off.  The fact of the matter is the Rays have a scary rotation already in place, with David Price, James Shields, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Hellickson.  

Before the 2011 season, Baseball America ranked Hellickson the #6 prospect in baseball, with Matt Moore coming in at #15.  Moore is a flame-throwing lefty who was called up to the Rays on September 12, 2011 in the middle of a pennant race.  Moore threw 9.1 innings, with 15 strikeouts to 3 walks, and a 2.89 ERA.  He then went on to pitch Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers, and threw 7 scoreless innings on 2 hits.  GM Andrew Friedman believed in his talent so much that he inked Moore to a 5-year, $14M contract that includes club options that would push the total value to $37.5M over 8 years.  Moore will only be 22 years old at the beginning of the season.  

Alex Cobb is another intriguing arm that is waiting in the minor leagues for his time to shine.  While he wasn’t included in the Rays’ Top 10 Prospects list before the 2011 season, he turned heads while pitching most of 2011 in AAA.  Cobb went 5-1 with a 1.87 ERA over 12 starts.  Cobb struck out 70 with 16 walks in 67.1 innings, showing plus command of an 89-93mph fastball.  Cobb projects to be an inning-eating work horse in the middle of a rotation.  While he ended up with 9 starts for the Rays with success, there doesn’t seem to be a spot open for him just yet.  

So it appears as though the Rays have 7 viable starting options at the moment. SEVEN. Most teams can’t even say they have four that they are actually happy with. A true embarrassment of riches!  

Talent is not the only thing to consider when putting a team together, and the strapped-for-cash Rays are no exception.  Even with a team salary of just over $42M, the Rays still clinched the AL Wild Card and reached the postseason for the third time in four years in the loaded AL East.  James Shields has club options for 2012-2014, with a value of $7.5M, $9M and $12M, respectively.  For a team with such a low payroll, a pitcher like James Shields does not quite seem to fit the team’s plans.  It might be in the best interest of the club to be looking for suitable trade partners to potentially shore up the team’s needs at 1B and/or SS.  

The reality is that the Rays believe that Moore is Major League-ready now, hence the multi-year contract.  So therefore, one of the five starters from 2011 is either on his way out, or on his way to the bullpen.  Price, Hellickson and Moore are locks for the rotation it would seem.  Even though he missed all of May and half of June with back tightness after a rough start to the season in which he gave up 23 runs in 31.1 innings over 6 starts, Niemann had a very strong July and August. Niemann finished 2011 with an 11-7 record and 4.06 ERA.  Davis signed a contract prior to the 2011 season that would pay him $10.1M through 2014, with options from 2015-2017 for $7M, $8M, and $10M, respectively.  Davis was 11-10 in 2011 with a 4.45 ERA.  The fact that his career ground ball rate is 37.8% and he has struck out under 6 batters per 9 innings doesn’t bode well for him.  Davis’s stats have regressed in the last two years, and with his contract doesn’t seem likely to net a large return if traded.  He could, however, find himself in a swingman type role to start the season.

In James Shields, the Rays have a HUGE trade chip.  Since 2007, he has averaged over 220 innings per season.  His career marks of 7.5 K/9 and 2.07 BB/9 to go along with a 44% ground ball rate make him a very good pitcher.  With 3-years of control remaining, at an average of under $10M per season, Shields could net the Rays a king’s ransom type return.  When Friedman traded Garza to the Cubs, he received outfielder Sam Fuld, SS Hak-Ju Lee (#6 prospect by Baseball America), RHP Chris Archer (#38 by BA), OF Brandon Guyer (#6 Rays prospect), and C Robinson Chirinos.  Comparing Garza’s 2010 season and Shields’ 2011 season shows that while Garza pitched well going 15-10 and 3.91 ERA, his peripheral stats don’t quite stack up.  Not only is Shields’ platform season greater, but his career statistics prove he has been the better pitcher.  With the exorbitant prices some teams are paying for frontline starting pitching (see Gio Gonzalez and Matt Latos), the Rays should certainly be looking into moving Shields.  

In all probability, the Rays rotation will start out as Price, Shields, Moore, Hellickson and Niemann, with Davis going to the bullpen, and Alex Cobb biding his time in AAA.  The Rays could play out the first few months of the season, and look to deal one of Shields, Niemann or Davis based on where they sit in the standings, and their personal performances.  Starting pitching surplus sure is a great problem to have.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Blandy on Twitter***

 

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