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
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.
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