A new proposal that would create “floating” divisions would likely mean less revenue and more wins for the Tampa Bay Rays. The proposal would allow teams to choose which division they want to play in. They could opt for the AL East, where they’d make a lot more money playing big-draw teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, or they could play in the central, where they’d play smaller market teams but have the chance to earn more wins against generally weaker competition.
The plan that was presented to Bud Selig would also allow teams to switch leagues, something I am very much opposed to. Some baseball traditions should not be toyed with, and some teams have been playing in the same league for a hundred years or more. Records that are separated by league would become meaningless. I fully support a float system within the leagues, but teams switching between leagues should be reserved for once-in-a-decade board meetings between the team owners and the commissioner, and only then when it’s really necessary (like the Brewers move to the NL).
Newswire: The Tampa Bay Rays have signed Czech pitching prospect Stepan Havlicek. He’s 16 years old and I’m told he’s incredibly disciplined.
The Rays have traded for Rafael Soriano, one of the top free agent relief pitchers available this offseason, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated has tweeted. The deal is pending a physical.
Jorge Cantu was our second baseman for 4 seasons. The best of those seasons was 2005, when he hit 28 home runs and drove in 117 — not a bad number for a middle infielder. We sent him to the Reds and now he’s back in Florida with the Marlins, where he’s drove in 95 and 100 runs the past 2 seasons. I think he’s going to be an excellent player for quite some time, which makes me disappointed when I realize the Rays no longer have him.
2000 Bowman Chrome Jorge Cantu RC
Fred McGriff played about 4 full seasons for the Rays and hit 99 home runs. He’ll probably make the Hall of Fame someday, although his wait might be longer than expected because he fell 7 homers short of the magical 500 mark. He hit 100 RBI in a season 7 times in his career and his career stats rank well with another great first baseman: Willie McCovey.
1986 Donruss Fred McGriff
Per the boss’s orders, we’ve been tasked to assemble a Tampa Bay Rays All Time Team. This is a bit difficult, considering the Rays have only been around for a little over a decade, but we did it anyway. The team will be presented over the coming weeks by position, starting with the infield at first base, then the outfield, then catcher and pitchers (top 3 only) and finally manager (hmmm, this is going to be a tough one). We hope you will agree with our selections.
The Rays have signed a bunch of their later round draft picks one week after the 2009 amateur draft. So far they have locked down 14 draft picks from rounds 12 or later. All of their signees have been collegiate players, which shows a commitment to players that have developed experience against top-quality young players. I’ve always been of the mindset that the difference between the high school competition vs. collegiate competition is far greater than the difference between collegiate and professional.
The Rays looked like they were going to pull off another victory over the division rival New York Yankees, but the bullpen imploded in the 8th inning and blew a 2 run lead as the Yankees came away with the 4-3 win. Grant Balfour recorded just 1 out while surrendering 3 earned runs to the Yankees. His ERA is now at 6.31. Ben Zobrist was 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts, while Carl Crawford was 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. I think it’s usually a bad sign when Carl Crawford starts to hit a few home runs, because he tends to spend the next month trying to be Babe Ruth. I want to give him the “Willie Mays Hayes Talk” from Major League. “You should be hitting the ball on the ground and running them out. Every time you pop one up you owe me 20 pushups”. Crawford means a lot more to this team as a contact hitter with lots of speed than a slugger who strikes out a lot.
The amateur draft is just 8 days away, and the Rays have the 30th, 78th, and 108th picks, along with the 28th pick in each round after that. They are looking for a catcher, and Tony Sanchez from Boston College might be the right fit. He’s solid defensively, but there are some questions about his hitting. He’s got quick hands but is somewhat lacking in the power department. I’m not a hitting guru, but I can see some problems in his swing from the clip below. I’d like to see his back elbow stay a little bit more “tucked” into his side. Extending it gives him a very “armsy” swing, which is probably why he struggles to drive the ball far. He’ll also want to work on not dropping the barrel down and dragging it through the zone, as the smaller sweetspot on a wood bat will punish him for that if he doesn’t make perfect contact.
Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura was injured while attempting to turn a double play on Sunday and will miss the entire rest of the season with a torn ligament in his knee. More to follow…