Archive for the ‘Tampa Bay Rays’ Category

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays

One day, somebody is going to sign one of these (relatively) cheap deals for a young player and everyone will hate it. It will look bad from the start and only get worse as the years go on. The Manny Corpas Corollary, let’s call it.

This isn’t that deal. Chris Archer is pitcher with a bright future. Another triumph of the Rays “low and slow” development program, Archer made nearly 40 starts at AAA before the Rays called him up for good in 2013, when he started 23 times for Tampa Bay and pitched well, putting up a 3.07 ERA over 128 innings.

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MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers

At the conclusion of the 2013 MLB regular season, the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers both had 91-71 records, tied for the final American League Wild Card berth.

A one-game tiebreaker was required to solve the matter, but a more balanced schedule could have solved it long before. The Rays faced a more difficult schedule than the Rangers, an unfair reality of life in the AL East.

When Tampa Bay won the eventual tiebreaker, it seemed a matter of karmic justice.

After all, Texas went 53-23 against their own division, the AL West, which boasted a paltry .477 win percentage. The Rays, meanwhile, went 43-33 against AL East competition in a division with a .534 win percentage. Because teams play division opponents 19 times each, making up 46.9 percent of the schedule, division quality is a large determinant of record.

Tampa Bay played 97 games against teams with winning records to just 79 for the Rangers, and each was roughly a scratch team against winning opponents. Texas basically got 18 games against lesser opposition with which to gain a playoff edge and failed to do so.

This all seems terribly unfair, but an equalizing factor may have been at play, favoring teams in the East all along.

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres

There are plenty of roles more important than the lowly fourth outfielder. Going into a season with a question mark this menial on your depth chart should not keep anybody up at night. It is, however, a job that can pay distinct dividends.

There are many different ways to build a fourth outfielder. It is mostly a matter of need. Provide late-game defensive cover for the slugger with “fall down” range or do the opposite – offer “break glass in case of emergency” bench pop when a team needs instant offense.

As Spring Training slowly gives way to the regular season, it is this type of depth role that is often battled over among multiple options. Guys of this nature sometimes price themselves out of the role, leading to some last minute shuffling as the season nears and the ax falls in favor of a younger, cheaper player.

But what type of fourth outfielder you prefer says a lot about you and it says a lot about your favorite team. Your insecurities and worst held fears about the soft spot in the starting nine all bubble to the surface.

So let’s dig in and find out what kind of fourth outfielder works best for you. Yes, you.

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MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Dodgers

Here’s the thing about Jeremy Hellickson – he isn’t very good. He was especially not-very-good in 2013, the loose bodies in his right elbow could well factor into this performance. Hellickson is now out of action until mid-to-late May after he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his throwing elbow.

But the fact of the matter is Jeremy Hellickson is inefficient and often ineffective – this was true to a certain extent in 2012 and 2011. He never really struck anybody out. He walks too many hitters. He rarely lasts deep into games, running sky high pitch counts and putting extra strain on his bullpen.

Perhaps this isn’t fair to Hellickson, he claims two seasons worth than 3 WAR in just three big league seasons. But watching Jeremy Hellickson, you always get the sense that the explosion of offense was just around the corner. His 2013 breakdown seemed inevitable, not surprising.

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Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals

Brewers, Matt Garza agree on Four-Year, $52MM Contract

Such is the state of the baseball free agent market – four years and $52 million seems like a downright bargain. Like the Brewers are getting away with something, considering they just signed one of the top free agent pitchers — the only one who comes without draft pick compensation — to a deal that is very easy to like.

So easy to like, in fact, that it might be worth investigating why his deal is so reasonable. As in, there is a chance his medical records are as scary as we heard.

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Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

By avoiding arbitration with a one-year, $14 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price remains a very good pitcher getting very expensive for a team that doesn’t deal well with cost. The Rays operate on a tight budget and, with free agency looming after the 2015 season, David Price may soon become a luxury they cannot afford.

With a Cy Young in his back pocket, Price earned a $3 million raise on his third trip through arbitration, with one more to come for the Super Two pitcher. Another spin through the arb process should net David Price close to $20 million a year, which is far too rich for the Rays blood.

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Adjustments. I feel like a broken record at this point and we aren’t even into the division series yet. They are a much bigger part of baseball than I ever considered. How does a team adjust? Who adjusts first?

The Tampa Bay Rays adjusted first tonight. They adjusted first and they adjusted better. And they won the game, moving on to face the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series.

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