Most teams fresh off trading an innings-eating sub ace like James Shields would have problems filling out their rotation the following year. Replacing the innings and overall goodness of a pitcher like Shields isn’t easy. It’s hard, in fact! That why teams give up their number one prospect to get Shields – guys like him are hard to find.
The Rays are not most teams. The Rays have pitchers – lots of pitchers – ready and willing to fill out their rotation. Can they replace Shields right away with available talent? Apparently the Rays can fill out their rotation without using any of their heralded young starters.
Despite the fact that they won 90 games and finished only three games behind both the Rangers and Orioles for a wild card berth, the Rays never really felt “in” the AL playoff picture last season. Part of the reason might have been that they had to win 12 of their final 14 games to even be that close, but it’s not like they were ever that far out of it. Regardless, the Rays were one of the unluckiest teams in baseball last season finishing a full five wins below their Pythagorean record which sat tied with the Yankees for the best mark in the American League.
David Price won the hearts of beard enthusiasts and Yankee haters the world over yesterday when he said that his affection for facial hair would deter him from ever signing a long-term deal with the club. Realizing that he inadvertently ruffled the feathers of Yankees fans, Price clarified his comments today. Did I just type ‘clarified’? I meant completely backed off.
“It probably wasn’t the best thing to say, but I didn’t mean anything by it,” Price said. “I wasn’t looking to offend the Yankees. It’s probably the best organization in all of sports. Not just baseball, but all of sports.”
David Price sports more of a permanent stubble than a true beard. Still, the 27-year old reigning American League Cy Young winner is enough of a facial hair enthusiast that he’d spurn long-term commitment from a club like the New York Yankees in favor of whiskers.
One of the new wrinkles in the latest baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the international spending of all teams to a hard cap. Should any team exceed that cap, they are subject to harsh penalties, paying dollar-for-dollar once they surpass the cap by 15 percent.
Even more eye-opening/galling, teams that blow through the cap may not sign an international free agent to a deal worth more than $250000 during the following year. Crazy.
Even more crazy? The first team to subject itself to Bud’s penalties is none other than the Tampa Bay Rays, champions of the frugal arts.
Ben Badler of Baseball America details how the Rays threw money at each and every Latin teenager they came across this year, leaving the international spending cap in the dust and opening themselves to the full punishment of the law.
The Tampa Bay Rays would like a new stadium to call their home. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has made it clear that downtown St. Petersburg is not an option moving forward. The Rays currently have a lease with St. Petersburg and Tropicana Field that runs through 2027, thus complicating any plans to move the club’s home to downtown Tampa or elsewhere in the region. While the issue of funding construction of a new stadium remains at the heart of the matter, Sternberg and the Rays’ hopes received a boost on Wednesday.
Charlie Gerdes, a St. Petersburg councilman, proposed an amendment to the city’s contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that would allow the baseball club to explore stadium options in neighboring Hillsborough County. Gerdes’ proposal comes on the heels of St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster and Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn engaging in stadium discussion with CBS affiliate, WTSP. Gerdes’ plan calls for an annual $1.4 million payment to be made to the city of St. Petersburg, which is equal to city’s yearly cost to maintain Tropicana Field.
Kyle Farnsworth is a victim. A victim of his own reputation and his own early career foibles. A victim of gentle fun had at his expense, thanks to the brilliant Dugout. In reality, Kyle Farnsworth is a really good pitcher and has been for some time. 2012 saw Kyle Farnsworth post his fourth consecutive FIP under 3.50, though it was an injury-shortened campaign.
The Rays don’t need to spend big to build a strong bullpen, they just need to find buy-low candidates and fix or regress them. Farnsworth’s off year in 2012 made him a buy low guy, even if he was in-house.
An incentive laden contract worth at most $3MM? Even the Rays can afford that. Not a bad piece of business from the team that builds cheap bullpens better than anyone.