3:41 PM EDT, Mon October 22, 2018
3 hours ago
Joey Wendle could be Ben Zobrist 2.0. Maybe.

Joey Wendle could be Ben Zobrist 2.0. Maybe.

The Rays once again find a versatile late-bloomer. And he also wears number 18. I can see your eyes rolling as we announce yet another “next Ben Zobrist”. It has, after all, become an almost laughably predictable cliché to anoint any guy who plays more than one position without embarrassment the next Ben Zobrist. Usually it turns out said player can’t compare to a guy who hit like a top to middle of the order player while playing good to great defense almost anywhere he was asked. There’s a reason Zobrist is special. But please bear with me for a few minutes as I argue that just...
6 hours ago
View from the Catwalk: World Series Eve

View from the Catwalk: World Series Eve

Dodgers head to Boston for the World Series, Rocco Baldelli still a managerial favorite, and two managers are hired Rays Links Minor League Ball looks at outfield prospects who could break into the big leagues in 2019; Jesus Sanchez is among those mentioned Rays Colored Glasses proposes that the Rays should trade for Jose Abreu this offseason Rocco Baldelli will likely be leaving the Rays organization this offseason, as he is a favorite for a couple of the managerial positions open around baseball Around the League The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday...
8 hours ago
Rays prospects and winter leagues: Fox stays hot in AFL

Rays prospects and winter leagues: Fox stays hot in AFL

Lucius Fox has stood out so far in Arizona. Offseason action picked up this past week as play in the Dominican Republic began. Jesus Sanchez and Vidal Brujan are among the Rays participating. Hitters 2B Jonathan Aranda, Liga Mexicana del Pacífico This week: 2 AB, 2 KOffseason: 2 AB, .000 BA/.000 OBP/.000 SLG For the second straight offseason, it looks like Aranda will play just a minor role for Yaquis de Obregón. He had a .793 OPS in 144 plate appearances for Princeton in 2018. OF Ryan Boldt, Arizona Fall League This week: 7 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 0/1 SBOffseason: 15 AB, .333...
Oct 20, 2018
What holes do the Rays need to fill entering the offseason?

What holes do the Rays need to fill entering the offseason?

The Tampa Bay Rays closed out the season as one hottest teams in baseball. From July 31st, until the season’s conclusion, Kevin Cash’s squad compiled a record of 37-19, the best mark in the majors over that time frame. The team was excelling in nearly every facet from the game, receiving key contributions for almost every player on the roster. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. We’ve written this off-season already about the possibility of signing Nelson Cruz or trading for Paul Goldschmidt, but does that meet the Rays needs? Here’s where I see the Rays...
Oct 19, 2018
View from the catwalk: David Price wins

View from the catwalk: David Price wins

How do you adjust your narrative? Let’s talk about narratives. “David Price can’t pitch in the playoffs.” “Buckles under the pressure.” This idea came mostly from the fact that he had never recorded a win as a starter in the playoffs. Never mind that he once pitched the Rays into the playoffs with a complete game 163. That’s different. Somehow. Never mind that, with Toronto, he pitched well enough to “deserve” a win, but never got it. A true ace would have done better. Yes his overall playoff performance was worse than his overall regular season performance, wins aside....
Oct 18, 2018
Rays trade target: 1B Paul Goldschmidt

Rays trade target: 1B Paul Goldschmidt

One of the best first basemen in the game would look right at home in Tropicana The Arizona Diamondbacks were last year’s Brewers: a team succeeding after a front office overhaul brought analytics to the fore. But this is 2018, where Arizona failed to reach the playoffs as players slumped or were missing in action. Accordingly, the team is headed for a rebuild, with any player available, including Gold Glove first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. I’m already salivating [Ed. note: calm down, Danny.]. Playing out the five-year, $32 million contract he signed ahead of the 2014 season,...
Oct 18, 2018
Rays’ Franco, Liberatore among top prospects in respective leagues

Rays’ Franco, Liberatore among top prospects in respective leagues

Some of the Rays’ top talent stacks up well against prospects from other organizations. In recent weeks, Baseball America began prospect-ranking season when it rolled out its league top-20 prospect rankings for subscribers. These lists can be interesting, maybe more than the organization lists — which is something I say every year for this post. A No. 1 prospect in an organization without depth could be a No. 5 prospect in a deeper one, but on these league lists, we really see how top prospects from competing clubs compare to one another. It adds some context to a prospect’s...
Oct 18, 2018
View from the catwalk: Fan interference helps put Red Sox on the brink

View from the catwalk: Fan interference helps put Red Sox on the brink

Or the call does, at least. Rays Links Rays Radio wrote about how several members of the coaching staff are in the running for managerial positions elsewhere. From his Q&A, it doesn’t seem like Bill Chastain thinks the Rays will sign a catcher. In cased you missed it, the Rays signed Ryan Sherriff. The Rays held a hurricane relief drive, and then trucked the supplies up to the panhandle. If you’re looking for a way to help the folks recovering from Hurricane Michael, GlobalGiving is a good place to start. It’s an organization that funnels money to local charities, best positioned to...
Oct 17, 2018
Which Rays players could be traded this offseason

Which Rays players could be traded this offseason

When the regular season came to a close in 2017, some speculated the Rays could blow up it all up. No one actually thought they’d go through with it. Now, a year later, the Rays are coming off their first winning season since winning the AL Wild Card in 2013. They won 90 games in 2018, despite trading away Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison and Steven Souza Jr, and then also parting ways with Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, and Alex Colome once the regular season got underway. With a year of information under their belts, the Rays should be ready to make some savvy moves to keep...
Oct 17, 2018
Jonny Venters should be the Comeback Player of the Year

Jonny Venters should be the Comeback Player of the Year

This is a robbery. On Tuesday, the MLB Players Association announced the shortlist of candidates for the Comeback Player of the Year award. Now, I don’t mean to besmirch the MLBPA and how their players opted to vote this year, and I don’t mean to be cliched with defining “comeback,” but since we’re here, let’s do the latter. A comeback is “a return by a well-known person, especially an entertainer or sports player, to the activity in which they have formerly been successful.” According to the voting results, that includes Michael Brantley in Cleveland, Edwin Jackson in...
Oct 17, 2018
The 2018 Rays prioritized contact over power and it worked

The 2018 Rays prioritized contact over power and it worked

Rays 2018 Trends: Part 1 One of the best parts of the offseason is it allows us fans to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Baseball provides one of the best Bigger Picture scenes across sports, with 162 games and hundreds of thousands of individual batter-vs-pitcher to analyze once the dust is settled. Over the course of the offseason, we’ll be looking at some trends among individual Rays players, but let’s start zoomed out as far as we can today: looking at team-wide trends for the Rays in 2018. We’ll cover a pair of related offensive trends today before getting to pitching and...
Oct 17, 2018
Rays free agent target: Nelson Cruz

Rays free agent target: Nelson Cruz

Cruz is a free agent... should the Rays be interested? Nelson Cruz is a 38-year-old designated hitter. On the surface, that should be enough to rule him out as a player of interest for the Tampa Bay Rays. But this is not an ordinary 38-year-old DH. This is Nelson Cruz. Cruz has played major league ball for 14 seasons, most of it with the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners. In that time he has been a six-time All-Star, the MVP of the 2012 ALCS, and a two-time Silver Slugger winner. Nelson Cruz can hit. Just plain and simple. And his age hasn’t slowed him considerably. Though his 2018...
Oct 17, 2018
View from the Catwalk: Rocco Baldelli is on the shortlist for Blue Jays Manager

View from the Catwalk: Rocco Baldelli is on the shortlist for Blue Jays Manager

Also: Award season is kicking off, with several Rays in the mix. Rays Links: Rocco Baldelli (and former Rays legend Sam Fuld) both made “strong impressions” with the Blue Jays. Sportsnet in Canada is reporting Baldelli is among their final 5 candidates for the position. The Sporting News selected their Managers of the Year: with A’s Bob Melvin winning for the AL. In the NL, Sporting News selected Brewers Craig Counsell and Braves Brian Snitker as co-managers of the year. Kevin Cash finished 3rd in their voting. Sporting News also conducted a poll of MLB players on who they would...
Oct 16, 2018
Rays sign LHP Ryan Sherriff

Rays sign LHP Ryan Sherriff

Sherriff is recovering from Tommy John surgery The Tampa Bay Rays are looking to bolster their left-handed pitching reserves this offseason, and have started early, with the acquisition of lefty reliever Ryan Sherriff. Sherriff, whose name will certainly lend itself well to grand puns in the future, has most recently played for the St. Louis Cardinals. The 28-year-old, who the Rays signed to a minor league deal, was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2010 amateur draft, but did not sign, and was subsequently selected by the Cardinals in the 28th round of the 2011...
Oct 16, 2018
Rays 2018 Season Review: Offense

Rays 2018 Season Review: Offense

The 2018 Tampa Bay Rays offense was much different than their 2017 iteration of their roster. There were players lost to free agency and players traded away. The Rays also acquired CJ Cron and Joey Wendle in trades and were expecting to transition to youngsters Willy Adames and Jake Bauers at some point in the season. The offense was surprisingly good. They were always going to be a solid defensive team, but the youth and inexperience at the plate was a big unknown. Despite hitting 78 fewer homers in 2018, the Rays scored 23 more runs. Non-pitchers hit .259/.334/.407 and put up 106 wRC+...