Thursday, September 24, 2009

To Those Of You Who Want Upton And Burrell Traded....

To those of you who want BJ Upton and/or Pat Burrell traded, stop dreaming. I read it in blog comments every day. I hear it on sports talk radio almost every day.

Of course the two players have been sub-par this year, and the 2009 Rays would have been better without them, but you have to look at contracts, control, and potential. The main reason that the Rays wouldn't be able to move Upton or Burrell is the fact that they also have to have a trade partner willing to take on the contracts and give fair value.

I will get Pat Burrell out of the way because this will be easier. Burrell will be owed $9 million next season. He has struggled mightily and has failed to come close to expectations. What team that you know of would take that contract off the Rays' hands? Anybody? Beuler? Exactly, nobody will take the contract. The Rays can't afford to release Burrell and pay him all that money to suit up for another team. All that can really happen is that Burrell bats 5th or 6th every night and hopefully next year he meets or beats expectations.

Now let's look at BJ Upton. He is arbitration eligible so he will garner some sort of a raise, but not a huge raise because he is coming off a down season. He is under team control for 3 more seasons, so there is no real need to move him for fear of not being able to lock him up long-term.
Upton may not have been valuable at the plate this season, but he sure has been solid in the field. His speed and cannon have saved multiple runs throughout the season.
Now, I don't know if injuries were a real of fabricated excuse for Upton's mediocre season at the plate, but we know what Upton can do when he is on his game. He has so much potential. After this down season, the Rays would not get anywhere close to fair value for Upton's potential. Trading Upton would basically be a player dump and would say the Rays have completely given up on Upton. It is way too early in his career to give up on BJ Upton, and the Rays front office is much smarter than that.

So, for those of you who want to see Upton and Burrell traded, stop wasting your time and wishes. Stop calling into talk shows and stop writing comments on blogs about it. It's not going to happen. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

RIP 2009

After all the magic that took place in 2008, the 2009 baseball season is now officially over. With the 4-3 loss last night to the Mariners, the Rays are eliminated from playoff contention. This was just a formality, as the season was doomed by an inconvenient 11 game losing streak. However, it is still a sad day. This season had high expectations coming off a World Series appearance. So, today, we pour out a bit of our beer and throw a couple of peanuts and Cracker-Jacks on the ground for our dead season. RIP 2009. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why we should all be in mourning today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Give Me One Reason....

Why Joe Maddon is going to continue to stress the starting pitchers' arms. He is going to continue to pitch James Shields and Matt Garza on normal rest, while giving Wade Davis one extra day. With the Rays out of the playoff hunt, why not shut these guys down and have them ready for 2010? One of the reasons the Rays have struggled this year is tired arms. Since 2009 is gone, I see no reason why Joe Maddon shouldn't be thinking about 2010. Is he worried that a sub-500 record will look very poorly on his job? If that's the case, he should have thought about that all season while making many questionable decisions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Riddle Of The Day

Q: A guy is at home with 2 men in masks. He leaves, makes 3 left turns, then returns home to the 2 men in masks. What just happened?

A: A batter faced the Rays' bullpen with the game on the line in the 8th or 9th inning.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why this is the answer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Question Of The Day

Was anybody else not sure what to do when the Rays won the game last night?

I didn't know if I should celebrate, say "it's about freaking time," or still be pissed off that the Rays lost 11 in a row and blew their shot at the playoffs.

I went with option b. I will still consider finishing over .500 a success. It will be disappointing, but a success, especially compared to seasons of the past. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Embarrassment \Em*bar"rass*ment\, n. [F. embarrassement.]

1. A state of being embarrassed; perplexity; impediment to freedom of action; entanglement; hindrance; confusion or discomposure of mind, as from not knowing what to do or to say; disconcertedness. [1913 Webster]

The embarrassment which inexperienced minds have often to express themselves upon paper. --W. Irving. [1913 Webster]

The embarrassments tom commerce growing out of the late regulations. --Bancroft. [1913 Webster]

2. Difficulty or perplexity arising from the want of money to pay debts. [1913 Webster]

3. Going from being a playoff contender to out of contention by losing 11 straight games


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why the last 2 weeks have been a major embarrassment.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ways To Salvage The Season

The last few weeks have been rather frustrating. After losing 2/3 to the Sox at the Trop, I resigned to the fact that the Rays will not be making the playoffs. There are some ways that the Rays can entertain us over the last few weeks of the season, and here they are with the odds of them happening.

1) Carl Crawford wins MLB Stolen Base title - CC had a huge lead over Ellsbury earlier in the year, but Ellsbury now has the lead. Ellsbury will be in a lot more situations where he is taking bases to help his team win, but CC also now has nothing to lose by getting caught. Odds: 33%

2) Jeff Niemman ties Rays record for wins by a pitcher - Right now Niemman has 12 wins. Niemman probably has 3-4 starts left in him. He had a win all but locked up this past week if it weren't for the pen. If the pen could learn to hold a lead, I think he at least ties the record, especially if he continues to pitch as well as he has the second half of the season. Odds: 52%

3) Wade Davis gets first MLB win - See: discussion on the bullpen in the Jeff Niemman discussion. Odds: 66.67%

4) The Rays sweep the Red Sox, putting the Rangers as the front runners for the wild card - Well, if the Rays couldn't sweep the Sox when the season was on the line, why would they do it now? Odds: 4%

5) The Red Sox get swine flu and have to call up their AAA team who blows their playoff chances - This is probably more likely than number 4. Odds: 4.1%

6) Andy Sonnanstine pitches more than 2 innings of scoreless ball - HAH. Odds: 0.5%

7) Evan Longoria wins the AL RBI title - Longo trails only Mark Texeria, who may be very tough to catch, although he will be getting a few days off coming up once the Yankees clinch the AL East. Odds: 40%

8) Joe Maddon goes through an 8th and 9th inning without going to the bullpen more than once - During September callups with a deeper pen? Maddon is more likely to bat Sonnanstine 3rd in a game....again. Odds: 2%

9) BJ Upton gets to 10 homeruns - BJ has said he wants to play the rest of the season and prove he belongs. My advice: actions speak louder than words BJ, time to step up. Odds: 7%

10) Pat Burrell hits more homeruns than Jason Bartlett - I have this because Pat Burrell was supposed to be a power hitter while Bartlett a contact hitter. Currently, Pat is down by 1 to Bartlett. There is no reason that Burrell can't wind up ahead of Bartlett if he is playing up to his ability, which he is yet to do all season. Odds: 35% Odds of Pat Burrell hitting a homerun off a lefty, which is what he was brought to this team to do and is yet to do: 20%

11) The bullpen holds onto a lead - The pen has been just terrible lately. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. To me, that means the bullpen has to hold onto at least 1 lead at some point this season, and thus the odds should be 100%. Then again, what pitcher in the pen do you have confidence in? Nothing? Nobody? That's what I thought. Odds: 75%

12) 25,000 people show up to a game at the Trop - I sure hope this happens, even though the Rays aren't in the playoff hunt. Odds: a sad 40%

13) The Rays catch the Red Sox and make the playoffs - This is the Red Sox the Rays are chasing, not the Mets. Odds: 0%

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where these odds come from.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Will they stay or will they go?

After 8 losses in a row, 6 by way of our bullpen straight up sucking it, it's time to look ahead to next year. Everyone has their opinion on what the rays should do with their limited payroll and here is mine. I will go through each key player individually and give my 2 cents on their future with the Tampa Bay frnachise.

Carl Crawford - The big name that nobody wants to see leave. Crawford has a $10m team option that the rays are sure to pick up. The question is whether or not they will keep him or trade him. We all know that they want to keep Crawford, he has been the face of this franchise since his arrival, but it's comes down to payroll. They Rays are trying to make room for his salary, and trading Kazmir went a long way in helping to accomplish that. However, Kazmir alone is not going to be enough. The Rays need to trade or re-negotiate more salaries if they hope to keep Crawford. But even if they can keep him for next year, is it worth it? There is really no chance he re-signs once he reaches free agency, as big market teams are sure to throw and entire Rays team payroll worth of money at him. So do you trade him now for top prospects, or keep him in hopes of another playoff run then let him walk and get the 2 draft picks?
Verdict: I don't think the Rays would have moved Kazmir if they weren't going to be able to keep Crawford. My guess is he stays, and if we are out of the race by july next year, then he is shipped out.

Carlos Pena - Not many people talk about what may happen to Pena in the offseason, but his salary is biggest on the entire team. Pena is owed $10.12m in the final year of his contract. You can't argue about how valuable pena is with his glove and his bat, but he is another guy who is very likely to leave after his deal is up. So, as it goes with CC, do you keep him or trade him? I can't say with certainty how much the Rays are willing to put in to their payroll next year, but I can say that if it came down to having either Crawford or Pena, I would like to see CC stay.
Verdict: I think the rays may try and move him in the offseason, but likely won't get the return they are looking for. He stays....for now.

Pat Burrell - Owed $9m in the final year of his 2 year deal, Pat has been a waste of money so far. Hopefully he can rebound from one of the worst years in his career. I'm sure the Rays would love to shed his salary in a trade, but is their a team that stupid to deal for him?
Verdict: No, there isn't. We are stuck with The Bat for the rest of his deal.

Akinori Iwamura - Has a $4.25m team option for 2010. At this point, he is not worth 5 million when we have Zobrist who can field the position, or at the very least Willie Aybar. I know the Rays would love to keep him and have Zobrist in RF, but not for the price. Also If Desmond Jennings is ready to play at the big league level out of Spring training, then there is a cluster in the outfield and 2b might be the only place for Zobrist to start regularly.
Verdict: Attempt to sign him for a lesser contract, but he goes elsewhere. Sayonara Aki.

Greg Zaun - $2m option. This seems like an easy call but may be determined with what the Rays decide to do with Navarro in Arbitraion. Zaun proved to be a great addition late in the year and his leadership in the clubhouse is just as important.
Verdict: Option picked up

Dioner Navarro - Guaranteed to make at least 80% of his current $2.1m salary and probably more. He wasn't even half the player he was last year, so is it worth it to keep him around? Obviously Zaun is not going to be around much longer, and Riggans is certainly not the answer. The Rays could let him go and try and go after a cather in the very limited free agent pool, but a young catcher isn't easy to come by. The best move would be to deal him so you at least get something in return.
Verdict: 50/50. At this point he isn't worth the money so it depends on what the rays can get for him.

BJ Upton - Upton still hasn't developed in to the player the Rays think he can become, and his time may be running short in Tampa. With Desmond Jennings ready to be a big leaguer by next year, the outfield is going to get crowded with BJ, CC (if he stays), Joyce, Jennings, and Possibly Zobrist. BJ has shown flashes on greatness (June) and then not shown up at all (all other months of the season). He is due for arbitration and will get a significant increase from his 09 salary, think in the range of $3-4m. You obviously sign a guy like BJ instead of letting him go for nothing, but how much longer does he have in Tampa if he doesn't perform?
Verdict: I think the Rays give him one last year to become the player he is expected to be. If he has a repeat of the season he just has, we most likely will be saying goodbye to Mr. Upton.

Jason Bartlett - In my opinion, Bartlett has been the MVP of the Rays this year, and it isn't even close. He has been the most consitent by far and his power number compared to last year our astonishing. He is due for a significant raise as well, likely in the $4-5m range I would guess. He deserves every penny if not more. Pay him what he wants, because neither Bignac or Beckham are ready for the big leagues.
Verdict: Pay the man.

Starting Rotation - James Shields, Jeff Neimann, David Price, and Wade Davis are all under contract for next year. All are quite inexpensive too. Matt Garza is the only starter heading to arbitration. We have all seen what garza can do when he is on, and we have also seen what he can do when he loses his head. Expect soemthing in the area of $3m for Garza next season.
Verdict: The most likely opening rotation for next year will look like this: Shields, Garza, Neimann, Price, and Davis. Things will get interesting pretty fast once Hellickson is ready, thoguh.

Bullpen - Expect to see the greatest amount of change in the bullpen for next year. The bullpen started slow, but showed flashes of greatness during the middle of the year. But the biggest reason why they fell out of the playoff race is due to the bullpen being terrible right now. Dan Wheeler is under contract for $3.5m next year, but I can't see him staying. Expect Wheeler to get dealt at some point in the offseason. Grant Balfour and JP Howell are both due for arbitration and will likely get something in the range of $2-3m. My opinion, JP stays and Balfour goes. Joe Nelson is also due for arbitration but spent the end of the season in AAA, so i think it is safe to say he won't be back next season. Brian Shouse has a team option for $1.9m which is a waste considering we can keep Randy Choate thruogh Arbitration for much less, so consider Shouse gone. I do think we offer arbitration to Lance Cormier and keep him. He shouldn't get much more than $1m and was a pretty reliable reliever for most of the year.
Verdict: Lots of changes. Expect to see Howell back, but not in the closer role. I think the rays need to trade or go after a free agent closer that is proven. Howell showed he can get the job done for periods of time, but he clearly cannot handle the full work load. Cormier and choate should be back, along with andy sonnenstine in a long releiver role. The rays will need to go after some releiver via free agency or trades, because the last thing we want to see next year is a repeat of September 2009.

Bullpen Poll

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One Positive Thing

If there is one positive spin I can put on this season going down the tubes, it's how well the young pitchers in the starting rotation have done over the last month. In fact, James Shields may be pitching worse than the other 4 starters right now (of course, not including Andy Sonnanstine). Next years' rotation looks very promising. Shields, Garza, Price, Niemman, and Davis should all be solid starters for a few years to come. Since their arms won't have the stress of a postseason, all 5 should be fresh and ready to go come April. 5 pitchers of that quality have the ability to carry a team a long way should they stay healthy and pitch to their potential.

Now the bullpen, that's a whole other story. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This Quote Makes Me Sick

Joe Maddon on the bullpen in between games of yesterday's double header:

"I don't want to do anything differently, because it's been so successful," Maddon said. "Just because we've had a little bit of a hard time, that doesn't mean you blow everything up. And quite frankly, we can't. That's who we are. That's how we do business."

Really Joe? You would call the bullpen's performance successful over the last few weeks?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why this quote made me just vomit all over my desk.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One Team, Under Porn-Stache

The porn-stache. Simply incredible.

What is with the porn-stache? I don't really get it. There is no real way to describe it, you just know it when you see it. No one laughs at you if you have a porn-stache. Everyone just says "that's an awesome mustache." Dale Thayer was the first to show up with the porn-stache this year. Later on in the season, we saw BJ Upton with one, and now Fernando Perez. The porn-stache rocks. I'm not sure why random players are showing up with the porn-stache this season, but I think there should be more. The ray-hawk was 2008, the porn-stache needs to take over the clubhouse. It will be a lot more bonding than a "Ring of Fire" or urban cowboy road trip. Come on Rays. Now is your chance to come together as a team, and maybe get on a 2008-esque hot streak. The porn-stache could be the Rays' key to either finding a pulse, or at least really enjoying the last month of the season. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So Many Questions?

I wrote yesterday about how the Rays NEED to sweep the Red Sox. A disheartening loss later, I'm not sure where we go from here as fans and as a team. The fans really didn't show up. The fact that only bringing 17,000 people showed in the biggest game of the season is just sad. The players didn't show up like they are playing an elimination game. They struck out way too much, committed 3 errors, and left a major opportunity on the field. In the 8th, the Rays were down by 3 runs, bases loaded, nobody out, and nobody scored. BJ Upton could have made us forget about a dismal season. Jason Bartlett was close, and then, it all crashed down. The Rays finished the inning down 7-4 and wasted a great chance. The players did not execute. And finally, the manager had a pitcher who was demoted earlier this season starting. This starting pitcher walked 4 in a game for the first time in 3 years. He was slightly handcuffed since it was a choice between Andy Sonnanstine and Wade Davis, a pitcher with zero MLB experience, but he still made the choice and has to live with it. I'm frustrated on all fronts. The Rays won all the big games last year, and this year, opportunities are left on the table.

This leaves me with so many questions, and here are a few:
What is different about this team?
Why was last years' team great and this years' team good?
Why are some players struggling so much?
Where are the fans?
Can the September callups make a difference?
Where is this teams' heart?
Why is 09 not greater than 08?

And one last question:
When do pitchers and catchers report?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why I'm asking that last question.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

There Should Be 1 Word On The Rays' Minds This Week


That is all.


2 out of 3 is not enough


Nothing less is acceptable


You have an opportunity to redeem yourselves for games blown in the past


Get right back in playoff contention


Get it done, or the countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting begins.


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why the Rays need a...