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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

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