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The Tampa Bay Rays Are Just A Few Moves Away From Being Competitive

tampa bay rays

Sean Morash (BBBA Writer/Owner – offthebenchbaseball.com) 

The Tampa Bay Rays sit at 21 -25, 7 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. They’re still fighting the uphill battle against organizations with more money to spend to try to compete annually.  They’ve got an chance to get after it this year and make some noise, but currently sit in an interesting position where they could become sellers and pack it in in preparation for next season should things continue to go awry in key areas.

The modern Rays don’t really sell; they’re always looking to add value and remain competitive while waiting for a little magic dust to come flying in.  I think that’s a good plan again this year as they sit near .500 today, and they’ve got some magic dust on the way.

The pitching staff has reinforcements coming soon: Brad Boxberger will soon return from the DL to fortify the bullpen.  Alex Cobb is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and could help in the second half.  Blake Snell is among the top 15 prospects in baseball and threw 134 innings last year with a 1.41 ERA.

But the problem with all these guys waiing in reserve is that the pitching staff has already been pretty solid and could be even better if a few contributors return to their expected level.  They’re 5th in the AL in xFIP despite Chris Archer sporting a 4.62 ERA and Matt Moore owning an even worse 5.47 figure.  Both guys are former All-Stars.

The pitching staff has been pretty decent and should improve even without the additional reinforcements.

The lineup? They’re a well-rounded and athletic group with a number of moving and interchangeable parts.  They’re currently 3rd in the AL in WAR, but just 11th in runs.

See how Sean thinks Tampa Bay continue to get better by addressing a possible problem.

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MLB Power Rankings: April 2016

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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Disclaimer:  We based these rankings on best strength to win the World Series.  Therefore some teams that have an easier division to play in, with the least path of resistance to the postseason overall may be ranked a lot higher than a club who is equally talented, yet may play in a juggernaut of a division.

Yesterday won’t change much for the rankings.  Although it kicked off interleague with the Royals beating the Mets 4 – 3, and starts the Junior Circuit looking to win the AL vs NL competition for a 13th straight year.

Pittsburgh also beat the Cardinals.  I have them both ending the year win 91 victories, but these squad’s really intrigue me.

There are a multitude of reasons why I have picked the Cubs as the #1 team.  I explain them in the writeup.

Each Monday, we will post a new set of power rankings and go over the week that was. Read the rest of this entry

I Am Not Buying Into The Tampa Bay Rays This Year

This squad also doesn't have any ALL - Star caliber position players, and will have a tough time keeping up with the offenses of the Jays, Orioles, Red Sox and even the Yankees. I would gladly take all other 4 teams shut down late inning relief over Tampa Bay's as well.

This squad also doesn’t have any ALL – Star caliber position players, and will have a tough time keeping up with the offenses of the Jays, Orioles, Red Sox and even the Yankees. I would gladly take all other 4 teams shut down late inning relief over Tampa Bay’s as well.  Last season the club took advantage of a strong Bullpen that led the AL in Saves with 60, and have since traded stalwart Jake McGee, and have lost Brad Boxberger to start they year for 2 months.  Some of the departed veterans were also not adequately replaced.  All of the four other club all improved or maintained, whereas Tampa will need some luck to just maintain.

Hunter Stokes (MLB Reports Part _Owner – Chief Writer) 

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Forgive me if I don’t follow a lot of other people’s opinion on the Tampa Bay Rays. I outlined in a recent article on over/under win totals for the year that the Rays are 1 of 2 best bets to be under their 82.5 wins for the year.

Okay so last year I did also call for their demise – and they rallied late in the year for a 80 – 82 record, however I don’t even think this club is as good as the roster that competed the 2015 season – meanwhile all the other clubs have maintained or added good players to their depth charts.

Out for the Rays are Jake McGee, John Jaso, Nate Karns, Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore, J.P. Arencibia and Brad Boxberger is out 8 weeks after core muscle surgery.

In are: Corey Dickerson Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Steve Pearce, Danny Farquhar, Ryan Webb and Hank Conger.

Not exactly loading the fanbase with can’t miss talent the Rays are significantly weaker in 2016 than 2015 in my view.

Their Bullpen is worse…The loss of the Starter Karns may actually hurt the club. Read the rest of this entry

Projected Top 5 Save Leaders In The American And National League For MLB 2016

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn't lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40's in Saves again for 2016.

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn’t lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40’s in Saves again for 2016.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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Figuring out the Saves Leaders for the 2016 year is a lot easier to project than the Holds Leaders we did last week.  Perhaps the easiest to discern is also the National League.

Since I projected 7 teams will win 90+ games in the Senior Circuit I have listed 5 teams with their Closer out of the fold there.  I did however, leave out Hector Rondon and Mark Melancon.

I feel the Bucs may trade Melancon despite being in a position to make the playoffs.   I also think the Cubs will blow out a ton of clubs this season in games, and therefore not need Rondon to lockdown a 3 run or under lead.

This is the same reason why I won’t label Roberto Osuna for the top 5 in the American League either.  It is also not unfathomable to see the Jays go with Drew Storen to close down games.

I fully think that Craig Kimbrel will lead the entire Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox as their Closer.

I may have gone with Aroldis Chapman on the list as well, however his pending suspension for his domestic violence call in should see him riding pine for at least 25 games.  The New York Yankees should still lead the Junior Circuit for total team Saves.
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Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2016

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 - and that was only at 80 - 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense - except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention, it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Evan Longoria.

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 – and that was only at 80 – 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense – except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention in 2016 it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Longoria.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Tampa Bay Rays failed to make it to .500 or better for the 1st time since 2008 in 2015, however with a 5 game winning streak at the end of the campaign, they made it to 80 wins or better for an 8th year in a row.  I highly suspect this year that may come crashing down.

First Boston went off on a spending spree to amp up its roster, and now the Yankees have added Aroldis Chapman to the fold, and upgraded at Second Base with Starlin Castro.

Toronto made its moves for the better in late July, and should be a team to be reckoned with again in 2016.

Only the Orioles don’t look to compete in the AL East during the 2016 campaign with the Rays thus far, and they still may be tough to play 19 times a year if they are to re-sign Chris Davis.

Tampa Bay still clearly has the best Pitching Rotation in the Division with Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi filtering in spots 1 – 5.  But will it be enough to help a fledgling offensive in 2016? Read the rest of this entry

Tampa Bay Rays Payroll In 2016 + Contracts Going Forward

The Rays are one of six teams that are projected to spend over $30 MIL in Arbitration Eligible Players along with the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, New York mets Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals all will likely pay more in totality than the Rays for 2016.

The Rays are one of six teams that are projected to spend over $30 MIL in Arbitration Eligible Players along with the Baltimore O’s, Toronto Blue Jays, NY Mets, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals all will likely pay more in totality than the Rays for 2016.  The team will only have around a $70 MIL payroll for the coming year.  Don’t look for them to add that many pieces either with drawing just under 1.3 Million fans in 2015 – the worst attendance figure in the Major Leagues.   The club has won at least 80 games a year since 2008, and still they can’t draw at Tropicana Field.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Rays only have four players on current contracts so far this winter, but they also only stand to lose 2 players after the 2016 year in James Loney and Logan Morrison.

Tampa has 3 players in the 1st year of Arbitration and 5 guys in the 2nd Year of Arbitration.  The 2nd year guys include Jake McGee, Logan Forsythe and Alex Cobb – all could be added with 1st Year ARB player Drew Smyly as distinct trade candidates.

Already having 5 pending Free Agents in 2018 has to be in the minds of the management.  All of them will not end the 2016 year on the Roster in my view.

Morrison and Loney both may not reach opening day as both being on the Roster either. Read the rest of this entry

How All Of The San Diego Padres Hitters Were Acquired: (2014 Roster Tree)

Headley led the NL with 115 RBI in 2012 amongst 31 HRs, he will need to put up monster numbers for the Padres to compete with the LA Dodgers going forward.  Headley caaptured a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in 2012. He ended up finishing 5th in NL MVP voting.  He hit 23 HRs and 73 RBI in just 75 Games after the 2012 ALL-Star Game.. Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 - with a 3 Slash Line of .272/.357/.812.  He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI.  He could potentially hit a few more out with the fences drawn in.

As a 2nd RD draft pick (2005) of the franchise, Chase Headley has pretty much been disappointment over the .last 2 seasons after setting the world on fire for the 2nd half of 2012.  Headley led the NL with 115 RBI in 2012 amongst 31 HRs, Headley also captured a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in 2012. He ended up finishing 5th in NL MVP voting. He hit 23 HRs and 73 RBI in just 75 Games after the 2012 ALL-Star Game.. Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 – with a 3 Slash Line of .272/.357/.812. He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI.  In 600 AB during 2013, the man only had an OPS of .747 – with 13 HRs.  2014 has been worse, with a .620 OPS, .204 BA – with just 6 HRs in 211 AB.  The franchise has been criticized for not capitalizing on his 2012 year via a trade.  At least they never gave him a huge extension.

How All Of The Padres Hitters Were Acquired:

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

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Omar Minaya, A.J. Hinch and Fred Uhlman Jr. took over the “office of the GM” on June 22nd, when the Padres fired Josh Byrnes from his post.

In order to see if the canning was valid, one has to search through the transactions the man did under is tenure at the helm.

Some of the current squad was brought in by Byrnes (hired in Oct of 2011, after Jed Hoyer left to take the GM position with the Chicago Cubs. although through the course of the Roster Tree, you will see some of the players go back to the Kevin Towers era.

Crazy enough is that Byrnes was fired by Towers current team (ARI) as the GM in July of 2010.

Towers is also responsible for some of the assembled roster in 2014 for San Diego.  KT is one of several possible replacements candidates for the vacant SD GM job.

It is a franchise that has made several ‘suspect’ trades over the last 10 years, and the drafting record hasn’t netted them the kind of ‘blue chippers’ to sustain a lengthy period of success despite drafting high a lot of years.

San Diego’s club in 2014 is injury prone, hitters and pitchers alike, and are headed for a brutal campaign, already at 35 – 47 heading into games June.30, 2014. 

They are already 8.5 games behind the playoff bar. and 11 out of the NL West.

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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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San Diego Padres 2013 Rotation: What To Make Of It?

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Wednesday April 24th, 2013

Volquez is coming off an up-and-down year with the Padres. He went .500 with an 11-11 record and had an average ERA at 4.14. He should be prepared for the 2013 season as he threw against real competition in the 2013 WBC so he'll already have all of his stuff developed for the duration of 2013.

Volquez is coming off an up-and-down year with the Padres. He went .500 with an 11-11 record and had an average ERA at 4.14. He should be prepared for the 2013 season as he threw against real competition in the 2013 WBC so he’ll already have all of his stuff developed for the duration of 2013.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

The San Diego Padres currently have one of the most boring Starting Rotations in all of baseball. I cannot think of a rotation with more average pitchers than the one the San Diego organization has.

If someone presented me with the statistics of each pitcher in the Padres rotation, I probably would not be able to discern between the number one and five starters. The ace of the Padres — if we can call him that — is Jason Marquis. So far this season in four games, he has a 4.63 ERA to go with a 1-2 record.

Now some pitchers do get off to rough starts, so we cannot judge him based on his ERA and record. But, after looking further into Marquis, I found that his career ERA is 4.60. Is this really the career ERA a team would want for their “ace”?

Tyson Ross, whom the Padres acquired from the A’s was penciled in and made three starts in the five-slot in the rotation. Ross recently went on the 15-day DL with a left shoulder subluxation.

This year, Ross made three starts, none of them more than 5.1 Innings. Although Ross has a solid 3.86 ERA through those starts, it is unlikely that he will keep this up.

Edinson Volquez at the 2013 WBC:

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Edinson Volquez In 2013: Quintessential Ace Or Inconsistent Starter?

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Thursday March 21, 2013

Volquez is coming off an up-and-down year with the Padres. He went .500 with an 11-11 record and had an average ERA at 4.14. He should be prepared for the 2013 season as he threw against real competition in the 2013 WBC so he'll already have all of his stuff developed for the duration of 2013.

Volquez is coming off an up-and-down year with the Padres. He went .500 with an 11-11 record and had an average ERA at 4.14. He should be prepared for the 2013 season as he threw against real competition in the 2013 WBC so he’ll already have all of his stuff developed for the duration of 2013.  You are talking about a guy that has been traded for in a Josh Hamilton deal, plus the exchange that happened to bring him to San Diego (along with Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger for Mat Latos Prior to the 2012 campaign.

By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer):

When the Texas Rangers signed Edinson Volquez as an amateur Free Agent in 2001 they had high hopes for the 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. They signed him along with John Danks and Thomas Diamond. The three pitching prospects for the Rangers were dubbed “DVD.”

After spending a few years in the Rangers’ organization, he made his debut on the big league squad on August 30, 2005 – and spent the duration of the season with them. He ended up starting 3 games and appeared in 6.  His final stat line at 22-years-old read an 0-4 record – with a 14.21 ERA.

Volquez spent the next two years bouncing in and out of the Minors. When he received the call-up in 2006, he did fairly better dropping his ERA to 7.29. His 1-6 record in 8 starts wasn’t very impressive – but I’m not one to judge a pitcher on his record. As far as I’m concerned, the ERA dropping by almost 7 points was a huge step in the right direction.

Volquez discussing his new team prior to the 2012 MLB season:

[youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzPqLC5iZUE%5D Read the rest of this entry

San Diego Padres Payroll In 2013: And Contracts Going Forward

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Thursday, February.21, 2013

San Diego GM Josh Byrnes did little in the off-season aside for signing Freddy Garcia.

San Diego GM Josh Byrnes did little in the off-season aside from signing Freddy Garcia. This team will surprise people with their lineup and their starting rotation. They will be Oakland Athletics of the NL West Division.

By Chris Lacey (Baseball Writer)

The San Diego Padres 2012 season is one that can be split into a tale of two seasons. There was the first half of the season where they struggled to score runs and their record reflected that. They went 34-53 and only managed to score a total of 305 runs as a team. The first month is what really set them back; they had a team batting average of .215. The second half of the season the Padres did a complete 180 degree turn in the way that they played. They scored 346 runs and their record was 42-33 in second half of the season. The team batting average increased to a season high in September of .267. The Padres can carry over what happened in the end of 2012 season into 2013 this could be a very competitive division.

General Manager Josh Byrnes did not do much in free agency. He did sign former All-Star pitcher Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal. The Padres have a history of not having a high payroll. They prefer to use their farm system to generate their major league talent, rather than spend money on Free Agents.

Chase Headley 2012 Highlights. Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised:

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