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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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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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30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 14

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Monday July.01/2013

The Bucs have won 9 straight games and now possess a record of 51 - 30.  You have to think that the club will put the nail in the coffin on its 20 year losing streak - with just needing to win 31 of their 81 games remaining.  Better yet, ESPN has them listed as a 88 Percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season.  At the halfway point in the season, the Bucs have the best record in the MLB - and have reached #2 in our power rankings

The Bucs have won 9 straight games and now possess a record of 51 – 30. You have to think that the club will finally put the nail in the coffin on its 20 year losing streak – with just needing to win 31 of their 81 games remaining. Better yet, ESPN has them listed as a 88 Percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season. At the halfway point in the season, the Bucs have the best record in the MLB – and have reached #2 in our power rankings.

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

Another Week has come and gone in the MLB.

Week Stats Ending – June.29/2013

(MLB Reports) AL Hitter Of The Week -  Jason Kipnis (CLE – He reached base 24 times in the 8 games (14 hits, 9 Walks and 1 HBP) – with 3 HRs, 6 – 2B, 9 Runs and 11 RBI.  He hit .519 for the week).

Runners up were:  Miguel Cabrera (DET – OPS of 1.583, with 4 HRs and 7 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (BOS – .560 BA, 14 hits), and Raul Ibanez (SEA – OPS of 1.455 – 3 HRs and 5 RBI.)

(MLB Reports) AL Pitcher Of The WeekR.A. Dickey (TOR – 2 hit CG Shutout versus the Tampa Bay Rays.)

Runners up were: Koji Uehara (BOS – 3 Perfect Saves) and Joe Blanton LAA (1 – 0, with a 1.88 ERA in 2 GS). Read the rest of this entry

The First Three Months Look At The Wil Myers And James Shields Deal – Who Is Leading?

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Friday, June.28th/2013

James Shields has turned in a workman like effort for the Royals - only to have received little run support.  With the Trade having going down seemingly to correct each other main ailments with the Rays needing offense and the Royals needing defense.  It has worked for both teams.  However the Rays have done it for the majority without Myers - where as Shields is on pace for another 200+ IP.  Now the Royals can't hit and the Rays pitching has gone south.  One is left to wonder what if the trade never took place?

James Shields has turned in a workman like effort for the Royals – only to have received little run support to help him with his Won – Loss Record. With the Trade having going down seemingly to correct each other main ailments with the Rays needing offense and the Royals needing defense, it has worked for both teams yet exposed a weakness that used to be a strength in the process. The Rays have done it for the majority without Myers – where as Shields is on pace for another 200+ IP. Now the Royals can’t hit and the Rays pitching has gone south. One is left to wonder – what if the trade never took place?

By Michael McGraw ( Royals Correspondent)

It just will not go away.  The risky trade orchestrated by General Manager Dayton Moore this past offseason between the Royals and Rays deserves revisiting with Tampa Bay’s recent call-up of Wil Myers, the fourth-overall prospect according to MLB.com. 

Admittedly, the ultimate victor of the trade will not be decided for years, as it most likely hinges upon Myers’ development and ascension as a player. 

However, with virtually half of the 2013 season completed and looking at the now instead of the future, and this deal was undoubtedly for the now from the Royals perspective, the early returns are slanted in favor of the Royals. 

Wil Myers 1st HR (Grand Slam Versus the New York Yankees)

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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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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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Baseball’s Greatest One Hit Wonders Part 1: The Batters

Wedesday August 15th, 2012

Phil Plantier made his debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1990. During the 1992 season, Plantier crushed 11 HRs and added another 35 RBI in just 53 games. He was then traded in the off-season to the San Diego Padres for Jose Melendez. Plantier then thrived in California.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Music has one hit wonders, some have even made an entire career out of just one stretch of time where they were deemed relevant.  Baseball is like everything else, they have had their fair share of players that fit this mold.  In the next two weeks, we will take a look at hitters and pitchers that were really on fire for a stretch before they petered out just as fast.  I harken back to the movie ‘Tin Cup” for this next saying,  “Greatness Courts Failure.”  The difference between the two in baseball is so miniscule.  Unfortunately for every player that makes it to the show, hundreds never get their chance at all.  I am sure if you ask each one of these players if they were happy at their time in the Major Leagues, they would tell you that they thought they did not perform to their full capability.  

The players would think highly of the time they had their biggest successes and would wish they could have had more of the limelight for a prolonged stretch.  The fans of baseball are left to form their own opinions on these individuals.  Just like what happens in the world, there will be some fans who remember these guys fondly and others will turn the page on them, not thinking much at all.  The split is usually right down the middle.  The next five hitters are players that I remember making a big splash before bowing out just as quick as they came into prominence.   I contemplated adding Sam Fuld to this list, however he has a chance to play in the Major Leagues for years to come, so it is too early to list him amongst these men.  So at the very least, I will give him the video tribute down below before the page break.  Fuld is a great inspiration and I look forward to writing about him in future articles.  Also, other players I considered for this piece were Bob Hamelin and Rick Ankiel.  I gave Ankiel a pass in both pitching and hitting because he was so unique to have done both.  You can read a recent article I wrote about the man here .  In the end, I did not think Bob Hamelin had a standout performance even as a rookie.  He was lucky to have such a weak class of rookies to compete against in the year he won it.

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