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 Watching the Rays...get dismantled, Are they still a threat?
rominer
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 01:39 PM


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We knew Crawford would be gone, figured that Pena would be gone, and expect that Soriano will be gone. Jason Bartlett, traded to the Padres. Dioner Navarro is a Dodger now (which might be a net positive with the seasons he's posted the last two years).

Dan Wheeler is one of us now. Randy Choate is a Marlin, and Joaquin Benoit is a Tiger. Grant Balfour, Randy Choate, Lance Cormier are all unsigned. That leaves them with approximately JP Howell in the pen.

And now, the human spit bomb may be on his way to Chicago:
http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/news/story?id=5998431

Do the Rays have any chance of still being competitive this year? And if not, when?

They have some core players: David Price, first and foremost. Evan Longoria with club options through 2016, James Shields with club options through 2014, Ben Zobrist with club options through 2015. And plenty of cheap young guys who are powerless to go anywhere. That's nice. But it won't be easy for a team that draws 12 fans a night to recapture what they've had for the past 3 seasons.

Time to bury the low budget Rays and start talking about the Orioles and Jays?


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ThinMan
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 01:46 PM


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This year? No. But as I posted in the FA/Trade thread, the Rays clearly won the trade with the Cubbies, spinning Spitball Garza for multiple top prospects, with Hellickson taking Garza's slot in the rotation. 2011 may be their year to sit out in the annual game of musical chairs for which 2 of the top 3 AL East teams advance to the playoffs, but the Rays will be back on top of the heap before long.


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tracey
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 01:58 PM


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this year they look really weak.but i keep hearing about the future.the other after the sox mfy order of finish could go anywhere.


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rominer
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 02:19 PM


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The overwhelming likelihood is that it's all about the future again for Tampa Bay, but I'm not completely ruling the Rays out for 2011.

I will be curious to see how Longoria responds to being the only bat left in that lineup, at an age when you'd expect he might be taking a step forward into his prime. They still have enough speed on the basepaths to be a pain in the neck and, no pun intended (I swear), steal a few wins.

It comes down to how they piece together a bullpen. Price and Shields could easily be every bit as good as Sabathia and Burnett (or Sabathia and Hughes if Shields has a bounceback year). Sonnanstine, Niemann, and Wade Davis gives them a deeper rotation than what the Yankees have at this point.

The Yankees offense at 40% strength probably still gives NYY the edge. And the Orioles and Jays both have enough now to make it difficult for a "good but not that good" team to survive the AL East.

But I think they are more likely to be decent this year – because of the core that they still do have – than to be great 2-3 years down the line, which requires a lot more things to pan out just right than it would if they were a team with any kind of revenue and budget.


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ThinMan
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 02:25 PM


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QUOTE (rominer @ Jan 7 2011, 02:19 PM)
But I think they are more likely to be decent this year – because of the core that they still do have – than to be great 2-3 years down the line, which requires a lot more things to pan out just right than it would if they were a team with any kind of revenue and budget.


I don't know about that. Their farm system was stocked even before the Garza trade, and even more so now. And they're set up really well for this year's draft. No, not all those prospects are going to pan out, but the Rays are rolling a ridiculously large number of dice, and only need a few of them to come up sixes.

I do agree the Rays will not be as bad in 2011 as many are expecting them to be. That rotation, even with Hellickson replacing Garza, is still scary good.


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tracey
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 02:28 PM


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QUOTE (ThinMan @ Jan 7 2011, 02:25 PM)

I don't know about that. Their farm system was stocked even before the Garza trade, and even more so now. And they're set up really well for this year's draft. No, not all those prospects are going to pan out, but the Rays are rolling a ridiculously large number of dice, and only need a few of them to come up sixes.

I do agree the Rays will not be as bad in 2011 as many are expecting them to be. That rotation, even with Hellickson replacing Garza, is still scary good.

it looks like scoring will be an issue,pitching as you say is really quite good.


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rominer
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 02:56 PM


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QUOTE (ThinMan @ Jan 7 2011, 11:25 AM)

I don't know about that. Their farm system was stocked even before the Garza trade, and even more so now. And they're set up really well for this year's draft. No, not all those prospects are going to pan out, but the Rays are rolling a ridiculously large number of dice, and only need a few of them to come up sixes.

I'm not ruling out the possibility. But I think the future for them – unless something changes in terms of revenue, fan base, and/or the payroll structure in baseball – consists of a series of small windows, not one big window. So it's not just rolling a few sixes, it's rolling those sixes at the same time.

And nothing is changing with payroll structure. If baseball owners wanted to change the revenue sharing, get some sort of salary cap in place, or anything like that, they absolutely killed their chances with the complete 180 that they did this year in the free agency market.

So basically, either the state of Florida registers a pulse, or the Rays are on a cycle of 2-3 year windows followed by more rebuilding.


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tracey
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 04:44 PM


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QUOTE (rominer @ Jan 7 2011, 02:56 PM)
QUOTE (ThinMan @ Jan 7 2011, 11:25 AM)

I don't know about that. Their farm system was stocked even before the Garza trade, and even more so now. And they're set up really well for this year's draft. No, not all those prospects are going to pan out, but the Rays are rolling a ridiculously large number of dice, and only need a few of them to come up sixes.

I'm not ruling out the possibility. But I think the future for them – unless something changes in terms of revenue, fan base, and/or the payroll structure in baseball – consists of a series of small windows, not one big window. So it's not just rolling a few sixes, it's rolling those sixes at the same time.

And nothing is changing with payroll structure. If baseball owners wanted to change the revenue sharing, get some sort of salary cap in place, or anything like that, they absolutely killed their chances with the complete 180 that they did this year in the free agency market.

So basically, either the state of Florida registers a pulse, or the Rays are on a cycle of 2-3 year windows followed by more rebuilding.

its not much better for the marlins


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Offbase
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 07:02 PM


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QUOTE (rominer @ Jan 7 2011, 02:56 PM)
QUOTE (ThinMan @ Jan 7 2011, 11:25 AM)

I don't know about that. Their farm system was stocked even before the Garza trade, and even more so now. And they're set up really well for this year's draft. No, not all those prospects are going to pan out, but the Rays are rolling a ridiculously large number of dice, and only need a few of them to come up sixes.

I'm not ruling out the possibility. But I think the future for them – unless something changes in terms of revenue, fan base, and/or the payroll structure in baseball – consists of a series of small windows, not one big window. So it's not just rolling a few sixes, it's rolling those sixes at the same time.

And nothing is changing with payroll structure. If baseball owners wanted to change the revenue sharing, get some sort of salary cap in place, or anything like that, they absolutely killed their chances with the complete 180 that they did this year in the free agency market.

So basically, either the state of Florida registers a pulse, or the Rays are on a cycle of 2-3 year windows followed by more rebuilding.

2-3 year windows aren't so bad.

And if you fall all the way back in between you get better draft picks.

I think the Rays will be hard to predict because it appears the ownership really is trying to win, even if it is on a small market budget. Pittsburgh they are not.


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rominer
Posted: Jan 7 2011, 08:13 PM


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2-3 year windows aren't so bad – but they do require everything to come together at the right time. If it doesn't all come together, maybe it's 2-3 years of 80-88 wins. That's a solid showing, but it's not the same as the 3 year window that they just completed.

They do seem to know what they're doing these days, not all like the old Devil Rays. That helps. But I'm not sure the next window necessarily sustains the kind of spending that this window did:

2007 (when they were still bad): $ 24,123,500
2008 (first year of the window): $ 43,745,597
2009: $ 63,313,034
2010 (last year of the window): $ 72,847,133

They recognized that they had a window, and that it was time to spend. But this is a team that was consistently last in attendance in the bad years (with average attendance well below 20,000), and in the good years were still near the bottom, with around 23,000 fans per game. They still play in the worst park in baseball. They still play in an apathetic market.

I don't know if they'll be afforded the same opportunity to splurge a bit when they reach subsequent windows. And if not, they really have to nail it.


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