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Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

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Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby B-Chad » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:03 pm

Is it just me or does it already seem that the media types are forecasting the AL-East race as a two horse one between the Yankees and Red Sox? I feel like a great deal of attention has been paid to the Yankees and Sox off-season (and speculated off-season) moves. Obviously the Yankees made a couple big splash deals, and Boston traded for Hermida, signed Scutaro/Cameron and are rumored to be interested in acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, but what about the Rays?

I feel like they are going to quietly go into 2010 a much improved team. I really like the Soriano aquisition as the only real cost to the Rays was cash. I don't think Soriano is a great closer, and he is a huge injury risk, but at the same time, I think he helps stabilize their bullpen. With Soriano closing games, Howell can be used more effectively to shut down lefties, Wheeler is still quite useful and Balfour doesn't have to be leaned on in high leverage situations at all (but certainly could be if he performs lights out like in 2008).

On top of the Soriano acquisition the Kelly Shoppach one seems to be quite shrewd as well. Navarro was terrible in 2009, and Shoppach was acquired for Mitch Talbot who's only possible use to the Rays would have been in long relief/mop up duty realistically. Shoppach certainly won't be confused for a stud catcher, but his power would be a huge step up from Navarro's, and Navarro isn't a terrible backup catcher IMO.

I'm also a big fan of their starting rotation going into 2010 which should likely feature Shields/Garza/Niemann/Price/Davis. Another step forward for Price would seem to be a reasonable expectation, and Davis has a nice pedigree. Davis will probably have some ups and downs, but if he struggles badly the Rays also have Hellickson dominating the high minors, and Andy Sonnanstine available in an absolute emergency (who for as bad as he was in 2009 was at least serviceable in 2008) to replace him.

Looking at the offense I'd expect Bartlett to regress some next year and possibly Zobrist too. On the flip side Upton had a bad year last year, and still has such a high ceiling he alone could take a big enough step forward to offset any regression from Bartlett and Zobrist. Another reason I believe in the Rays offense is the possibility that Desmond Jennings replaces "The Gabe's" in RF. Jennings would seem to be a solid upgrade over the platoon currently in right.

Anyways... maybe I shouldn't be posting this in leftovers, but curious to hear some others thoughts :-D
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby wrveres » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:17 pm

B-Chad wrote:Is it just me or does it already seem that the media types are forecasting the AL-East race as a two horse one between the Yankees and Red Sox? I feel like a great deal of attention has been paid to the Yankees and Sox off-season (and speculated off-season) moves.


Pick up your tv remote, hit settings.
Scroll down to where it says setup, click manual.
Scroll down to where it says ESPN, and ESPN², and hit, erase.

save the settings. ;-D



solid write up. I think the Rays have a punchers chance at the wildcard, sure, but not the division. The Sox aren't all that.
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby KCollins1304 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:27 pm

Talking heads might be overlooking the Rays, but I'm sure not. They won 85 games and really didn't play very well all year. They're a lot more like the 97 win team from 08 than the 85 win team of last year. Their rotation has the upside to be the best in baseball.
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby B-Chad » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:33 pm

wrveres wrote:
B-Chad wrote:Is it just me or does it already seem that the media types are forecasting the AL-East race as a two horse one between the Yankees and Red Sox? I feel like a great deal of attention has been paid to the Yankees and Sox off-season (and speculated off-season) moves.


Pick up your tv remote, hit settings.
Scroll down to where it says setup, click manual.
Scroll down to where it says ESPN, and ESPN², and hit, erase.

save the settings. ;-D



solid write up. I think the Rays have a punchers chance at the wildcard, sure, but not the division. The Sox aren't all that.


Lol. I don't actually have cable currently, but yeah, their Yankees and Red Sox slants are ridiculous. I guess I should say the talking heads in "general sports media coverage," seem to be overlooking the Rays.

Glad to see you back and contributing to the boards mv. I was getting on board here at the cafe and getting acclimated to the site not long before you'd disappeared for a while so it'll be nice catching your insights now that you are back ;-D
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby Neato Torpedo » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:04 pm

What wrveres said. Unless the Red Sox make at least one major acquisition (e.g. Adrian Gonzalez), you can pretty much write them off for the division title. Rays vs. Red Sox for the WC will be more entertaining than Red Sox vs. Yankees.
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby B-Chad » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:25 pm

Neato Torpedo wrote:What wrveres said. Unless the Red Sox make at least one major acquisition (e.g. Adrian Gonzalez), you can pretty much write them off for the division title. Rays vs. Red Sox for the WC will be more entertaining than Red Sox vs. Yankees.


Yeah. I personally like the Rays more then the Red Sox currently. The Red Sox starting rotation is awesome, and their bullpen should be awesome once again with Bard/Okajima/Ramirez/Delcarmen/Pap but that offense as it's currently constructed isn't terribly exciting. I will admit that I think the switch from Bay to Cameron will be a gain for the Red Sox (though talking heads wouldn't likely agree since none seem to really value defense). All that said, I think the difference between the Rays offense and the Red Sox is much greater positively for the Rays then the difference in starting/relief pitching is a positive for the Red Sox.

I guess I'm also delusional because I feel like if things break correctly the Rays have a team capable of winning the AL-East with the Yankees being the WC (I see no way the Yankees miss the post-season short of the bubonic plague breaking out in their clubhouse). I see the Rays as a team with a better rotation then the Yankees (namely in terms of depth) and a better bullpen. While C.C. is without question the best pitcher when looking at the Rays and Yankees, I'd argue Shields, Garza might follow 2 and 3. I'm not a huge fan of A.J. Burnett over the course of a full season as he is inconsistant, and I'll be curious to see just how effective Javy Vazquez will be moving back to the AL and a HR friendly ballpark. It's also not out of the question Pettitte begins to show his age a bit, and the 5th rotation spot will likely be manned by either Joba/Hughes which I don't necessarilly believe will be a huge gain over Davis/Hellickson. The offense isn't in the same class as the Yankees, but in fairness to the Rays, no one's really is IMO.

Anyways, more food for thought. Thanks for the thoughts/responses thus far.
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby AussieDodger » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:31 pm

B-Chad wrote:Desmond Jennings


:-L

He might be a June "Super 2 avoidance" call up though.
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby B-Chad » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:17 pm

AussieDodger wrote:
B-Chad wrote:Desmond Jennings


:-L

He might be a June "Super 2 avoidance" call up though.


Barring him signing a contract like Longoria did, I'd be willing to bet the farm you are correct. I would be absolutely shocked if he broke for the regular season with the team. In reality, it isn't the worst idea even from a true "competitive" standpoint to get him just a smidge more playing time in Triple-A to open the season. Definitely a lot less pressure for him and an opportunity to get in a groove before becoming a regular fixture... but in short: Desmond Jennings :-L
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby MasterX1918 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:24 pm

I like them a lot as a wild card team, but I don't see them beating out the Red Sox or Yankees (especially the Yankees) for the Division. They definitly have the talent and the ability, but I still see the Yankees and Red Sox as the favorites.
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Re: Rays being overlooked at this point going into 2010?

Postby AussieDodger » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:19 am

B-Chad wrote:
AussieDodger wrote:
B-Chad wrote:Desmond Jennings


:-L

He might be a June "Super 2 avoidance" call up though.


Barring him signing a contract like Longoria did, I'd be willing to bet the farm you are correct. I would be absolutely shocked if he broke for the regular season with the team. In reality, it isn't the worst idea even from a true "competitive" standpoint to get him just a smidge more playing time in Triple-A to open the season. Definitely a lot less pressure for him and an opportunity to get in a groove before becoming a regular fixture... but in short: Desmond Jennings :-L


Jennings starting in AAA is perfect as far as the Rays are concerned, because they can take their time over dealing Crawford or Upton.
It's not impossible for them to extend Crawford, but if they do they may not be allowed to keep Upton. :-?
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