2005-04-20T23:04:24.663-07:00I'm gonna change some things up on this blog, good things...keep your eyes peeled. I've been busy in the past 2 weeks and I'm finally up for a vacation...
2005-03-31T10:23:23.136-08:00After a few days of deliberating, I decided that I should take Jay and Jim's advice and make my own season preview... Here goes nothing.... I've broken every player down into 3 categories(THE STORY, WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT? and PREDICTED STATS/PREDICTIONS)The Line-Up1. LF- Carl CrawfordTHE STORY:After going the whole offseason thinking that he's gonna be our Starting Centerfielder until Rocco returns and possibly after, Lou drops the bombshell that he's gonna keep CC at Left Field. CC didn't mind it, seeing that Left Field is his natural position.WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT?: Stolen bases, consistant hitting at the top of the order, triples(Chicks also dig the somewhat longball), bunt singles and Gold-glove Defense. Not much more to say about CC.PREDICTED STATS/PREDICTIONS: 60 Stolen Bases, 15-20 HRs, 100 runs scored, 70 RBIs, 8 Outfield Assists and a batting average between .280 and .300. I also think that Carl will make his 2nd consecutive trip to the All-Star game. Also, to Rays Fans' glee, he will sign a long-term deal with the Rays.2. CF- Alex SanchezTHE STORY: After a 2004 season where the Tigers seen Alex hit for a .322 average, they decided that he wasn't worth keeping any longer. Alex was signed on the same day as Alomar and Bautista's retirements, which many Rays seen as the first few signs of the apocalypse. He was being considered to be our starting LF, then Lou proclaimed that he was going to be our starting RF and this weekend he stated that Sanchez will be our starting CF(his natural position) and most likely bat 2nd in the lineup.WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT?: Strikeouts, Stolen Bases, more strikeouts and horrible defense. His OBP was only .334 last year when he batted .322, so we shouldn't get our hopes up when we see that nice batting average. Alex is just going to be warming up the seat for Rocco's return and should provide Rocco-like slap-and-hack hitting without the potential for Home Runs.PREDICTED STATS/PREDICTIONS: 36 Stolen Bases, 5-10 HRs(if we're lucky), .300 Batting Avg., 101 Ks in 82 games(Opening Day til Rocco's July 4th return), 60 Runs Scored, 46 RBIs, 5 Errors, 6 Outfield Assists and 4 Excedrin Headaches for Lou. Alex won't be as horrible as some people predict him to be, but he still will drive most of us crazy like Cruz did last year.3. RF- Aubrey HuffTHE STORY: We knew going into Spring Training that Huff would be playing a corner outfield position, but we weren't sure which one. The Aftermath of Bautista's retirement ended up with the Rays moving Huff from LF to RF. Huff just wants to stay at one position for the entire season, which has yet to happen in his career. Also, Trades rumors continue to swirl around Rays camp regarding Huff.WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT?: Think Scott Rolen-Lite, He's got the offensive numbers just not the golden glove. Huff will most likely maintain his golden boy streak of averaging near 30 HR/100 RBI/.300 Batting Avg numbers.PREDICTED STATS/PREDICTIONS: 34 Homeruns, 120 RBIs, .315 Batting Average, .930 OPS, 50 doubles and about 100 Runs Scored. Expect an eye-opening season by Huff. He's gotten some help on offense and his numbers will show that. However, he will continue to prod at the Front office for offensive support by opening their wallets a bit more. Also, he'll step into more of a leadership type of role on this young team. He'll also let Delmon take over the RF spot when he makes his debut, but will warn him that he'd better produce or he'll take it right back. Could be the other half of the Rays' First All-Star duo of this century...4. DH/1B- Josh Phelps THE STORY: After years of being blocked by known hard-hitting players and Ben Broussard, Phelps was one of the Rays top signees of this offseason. He's meant to cure the Rays deplorable DH problems. He's pretty been promised what will end up in a career number of At-bats for him(400+) and some opportunities to play some 1st base.WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT?: Monster Homeruns and oh yeah, strikeouts. He's always been great against Southpaws and we haven't been given much of a chance to see what he [...]
2005-03-23T23:36:24.746-08:00Introduction: First of all, I'd like to thank Seth for being such a great interviewee. I am so lucky to have this opportunity and I hope that I didn't dissapoint him with "fluff" questions. Anywho, I hope you all enjoy this interview. Thanks -JakeJake: One of the biggest questions coming into thisseason for the Rays fans is "Is Seth completely rehabbed from Tommy John Surgery?" I'd like to knowhow well your arm is feeling. I've heard that in the game your arm got injured in, you actually heard it"pop", is there any truth to that? When I separated my shoulder, I heard the pop and wasn't in immediatepain, but when a tendon just snaps like yours did, youhad to have been in immense immediate pain. Sorry if I'm bringing up unhappy memories.Seth: I didn’t hear it pop, I felt it pop. I was pitchingto A-Rod, I had just thrown him a pitch low and awayfor a ball and I wanted to elevate the ball on the next pitch. I threw that pitch as hard as I could andI could feel my elbow separate.As for being healthy, yes I am healthy. I do feel I will be stronger next year, but I am as strong as I have ever been.Jake: Being as tall as you are, do you feel that you havean advantage or disadvantage over hitters? I feel thatheight (being tall or short) gives its own advantages. How do you feel about it? Also, when you were growing up were the growth spurts slow and sporadic spurts or was it one major spurt? On my way to 6'5", I had small growth spurts which sandwiched an 8 inch spurt.Seth: I feel my size has more up side than down side. First my height is good for getting a downward angle to the plate. Second, I am a big, strong, mean-looking guy out there. I think you see me on the mound as ahitter and know you’re in for a battle.Disadvantages of my size would be that I am a large guy, I am 6’7ish 255-265ish and I have to constantly battle to keep at my playing weight.I grew a lot when I was younger but I would have to say over all it was spread out well. When I was 10 I was 5’7”, at 12: 6’0”,at 14: 6’4”, at 16-20: 6’6”and at 21-up: 6’”7”Jake: On a lot of Rays Message Boards, you're mentionedas being one of the most outgoing players and an unanimous pick as the Rays biggest "Fan Favorite". How do you feel about that?Seth: I would first and foremost like to say thank you. I know I play a game for a living and I know people pay money to walk through the gates to see my team play. Ijust try to treat people like people. I am just a product of good parents.Jake: One of my past interviewees, Carter Gaddis of theTampa Tribune, picked you as his biggest sleepers coming into Spring Training and one of his personalfavorite players on the Rays. How do you feel about?Any messages that you'd like for me to pass onto him?Seth: Thanks for your confidence in me. I am an easy guy to write off sometimes, but I think Carter has a goodidea about how much of a fighter I am.Jake: One thing that I've learned about Major Leaguers is that they usually have a few humorous minor league stories that they have witnessed. Are there any that you'd like to share?Seth: In A ball, Rocco and I where at a restaurant parking lot in Columbia South Carolina, when this carfull of girls drove by. One of the guys with us yells at them. They stop the car and put it in reverse and come to talk to our group. Well these young ladies were not the best looking group, so our friend would not go talk to them, in there embarrassment they forgot to put the car in drive. When they went to drive off she slammed on the gas and backed right into a light post. We all took off running and that was the last of it.Jake: Also, I've learned that Rookie Hazing usually happens once you make it to "The Show". Other than the infamous "Rays in Dresses" one, what was your first "Welcome to the Majors, kid" experience?Seth: I had to sing a song on the bus.Jake: If you had to live with any other Rays player, past or present, who would you choose? Who are your currentbuddies on the team?Seth: I do not have many close friends on the [...]
2005-03-05T12:56:49.816-08:00Wow, I feel like a liar right now. I mentioned that in my last post that "I was back and better than ever." I mentioned that I'd be posting alot more since it was the onstart of spring training. Wow, it makes me look like I'm a phony. Anywho, I'll explain my absense, First off, I've been just lazy lately and whenever I get off of work I'd play MVP '05 or GT4. I've been also lacked in posting at my other blogs(Rays Talk, Ya Gotta Believe and SWM Rays). That's starting to change because I've been doing some research for future articles and I have a few solid post-worthy subjects. Well, that's that and I'll post my official review of MVP.Overall Presentation: One of the great things about the MVP is the crispness of the players. The fields look like the actual fields and the players faces are almost perfect matches of their real-life counterparts. What's not to like? The play is solid and they appear to have worked a bit on making the fielding a bit harder than last year, when every catch rivaled Willie Mays' "over the shoulder" catch. All of last year's major glitches have been fixed and adjusted, I'll be more in-depth about that later.Controls: Even if you've never played this game, the controls are a piece of cake. While the game loads before you play, it'll give you a refresher on what buttons do what. The only flaw that I see in the game is the in-game menu(L2) is a bit complicated and the bullpen causes the buttons to be a bit more sensitive(the player you have warmed up will replace the pitcher with a slight nudge) and pressing triangle at any time causes the manager to storm out and argue a call. Other than that, no major problems with the control.Hitting: Vastly improved from 2004's edition of MVP. No more of the "Lefty" glitch. Also, if you need help figuring out how to hit, you can play a few rounds of the new "simon says" hitting game and you'll be ready to hit against any pitcher you face. I admit that it seems harder to hit a homerun in a real game than in previous editions, but HRs don't matter much to me in video games anyways. No real problems here. Hitters eye didn't really help me, but I can see how it works and can help people adjust.Pitching: One of the first things that I heard before this game came out is that the pitching is drastically harder. In my opinion, it's the exact opposite. I've had to restart my dynasty mode just because of the easiness. In my 2nd game played in MVP, I pitched a "Perfect Game" with Mark Hendrickson. I usually average between 4 to 10 strikeouts a game and I've yet to walk 1 batter. One of the things that I enjoy about this game is that the computer's pitchers are very, very intelligent. It's hard to get solid contact off of any "good" pitcher. If they notice that you swing at pitches out of the zone, they'll continue to pitch out of the zone. I'm starting to think that the inventors of Questec had something to do with the pitching in this game.Modes: In this game, you have loads of choices to make. You can select Dynasty mode where you are in charge of improving the team in a 3-year period and beyond. You'll see your minor leaguers grow and improve, becoming all-stars and hall-of-famers in front of your eyes. In this year's edition, you have "Owner Mode" where you control everything about the team. The roster, the mangers, the training staff, the scouts, stadium prices, etc. You are also in charge of building a new stadium from the ground up. You start with a 12,000 capacity and work your way up to a humongous stadium. The way you do that is garner fans' attention by having special promotional days and setting suitable ticket prices. Also, that means if you're a Rays fan, you don't have deal with idiot moves by Vincenzo and Chuckles anymore. Gotta love that....Here's the wrap-up of the review:Pros:-Baseball America helped with the player rankings, so we no longer have problems with insane stats.-Player progression is vastly improved, Delmon Young is a monster from Day 1 on.-Ability to edit pla[...]
2005-02-20T11:01:45.890-08:00For the last few weeks my posts here have been few and far between. The last few days, outside of working, I've been resting and trying to keep my mind intact. I've got some good news for you guys, pretty much.. First, most of you know about my little thing with ESPN which fell through from variables outside of my control. Next, I've been accepted by MVN to write on "Rays Talk", which I will write new material for(outside of the stuff I write here). Also, I'm going to do series previews for Jay on Raysbaseball.com. Jay, I'm definitely going to do those, I've finally decided that I'm going to. I'm also working on getting a few interviews during this season. I've also gotten my Fantasy Baseball teams to work on(2 Private, 2 Public, 1 ESPN). This is surely going to be a fun year for me.
2005-02-15T11:23:13.080-08:00I put my brain to work today and decided that it would be great that I keep myself and everyone else in tune with College and HS baseball in preparation to this June's draft. Since it's very early in the season, I'm just going to list who my preliminary picks on who I think that we could possibly pick at #8.
2005-02-06T13:27:24.333-08:00I'm reading various Rays/MLB message boards and all I see is bitching and moaning on the signing of Denny Neagle...for what reason, He could be a flop? He could tarnish our team name? He could trap himself inside Mons Venus and not leave unless his demands are met? I don't see a legitimate reason why we should complain about taking a chance on a decent veteran starting pitcher. Nomo may be a question mark because he made his career out of using a forkball pitch and has to rely on a fastball if hitters are prepared for the forkball. Out of the 2 Pitching signees, who would you rather see on the mound? I'm sure that I wouldn't be the only one who would choose Neagle. So he made a mistake in Colorado, so what? Everyone makes mistakes, his mistake was just magnified when it was brought into the limelight. Does offering money for some "Sexual Healing" ruin his pitching mechanics? Probably not, unless he's a sadist. I wouldn't be surprised if Neagle had a better year this year in Tampa than any year that he was in Colorado. First, he's out of Colorado which will affect his pitching splits dramatically in the positive direction. Second, our signing him at the league minimum will probably make him want to pitch "lights out" so that he'll (A)get a contract extension from us or (B) garner attention for another team to sign him to a multi-million dollar contract.
2005-02-03T17:41:04.266-08:00Foreword: It appears that I've been bitten by the "interview bug" and I feel that this may be one of my best posts on this blog (in addition to my Interview with Martie). I emailed Carter late last night(2/2/05) and to my surprise, when I woke up there was a reply by Carter accepting the interview. He also let me know that he was up for a telephone interview(which surprised me) if I didn't want to do it through emails. However, due to a throat infection, I had to decline and do it through emails. I hope you all enjoy reading this interview as much as I did and I'd like to thank Carter again for participating in it. Enjoy! -Jake Jacob Larsen: First of all, thank you again for participating in this impromptu interview with me. Could you give me some background info on how you came to be the top columnist for TBO? You look like you're pretty young, so I'd like to know how you got your foot in the door so quickly. Carter Gaddis: I've been in newspapers since 1986, when I covered high school sports in Palm Beach County for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. I started at the Trib in 1992 and worked my way up through the ranks: high schools, local sports, colleges, NFL/Bucs, Devil Rays. I'll be 36 this month. I'm not a "top columnist," by the way; I'm merely a beat writer. It's a good job, if demanding, and I've enjoyed it. JL: I think that your audio reports are great, you slip in humor once in awhile which a humorist like me enjoys very much. If you had the choice, would you rather do more of those or would you rather sit at the old laptop and type to your heart's content? CG: I'm a writer. I prefer to craft stories (with the luxury of revision), but I've done a lot of radio and TV in addition to newspaper writing. It's something I'm comfortable doing and I enjoy it, as well. But if I had to choose, the keyboard would win every time. JL: Ah, time for predictions. Lou has given up on making them, but do you think that you could list a few of yours for this upcoming season? Whether it be final record, team MVP, breakthrough player of the year, etc., post the predictions that you choose. CG: OK, a brief list. Keep in mind, these predictions are subject to change (in fact, I just changed my mind on one of them as I typed this), and I will disavow any knowledge of their existence if (when) they're proven wrong. But here goes. Record: 71-91. MVP: Crawford. Breakthrough: McClung. Comeback player: Nomo. Best value: Alomar. By the way, I would've listed Baldelli as the breakthrough guy if he hadn't hurt his knee. It's his first arbitration year and the way he hit at the end of last season, I thought he'd put up nice numbers, something like .285, 25, 90, .350 on base, .485 slugging, the usual good defense in CF. Now, it'll be a year until we see him at full strength. That injury was a huge blow to the organization. He'll bounce back eventually, but it's not the same team by any stretch without him in the mix. JL: In your last media report, you seemed like you were a bit disgruntled with some of the signings that the Rays made. Am I a crappy listener or do you really have distaste for some of the signings that they made? CG: Not distaste for the acquisitions, per se. They did what they could with what they had. If there was a hint of frustration in my voice it probably was because I, like the fans, didn't envision such a pitiful level of spending in the eighth season of the team's existence. I'm a big opponent of the concept of "win first, spend later." That's a backward approach. The Rays are never going to draw fans at an acceptable level if they don't win, and they aren't going to win if they don't invest more money in the product on the field. I believe that if the Rays are going to be a major-league franchise, they have to spend like a major-league franchise. I'm not talking about trying to spend on the level of the Yankees and Red S[...]
2005-02-03T11:51:20.616-08:00It didn't take long, but more and more teams are starting to inquire about the services of Aubrey Huff. Now, of all MLB teams, The Pittsburgh Pirates have given Chuck LaMar a call about what it would take for us to forget about Huff. Rumor-wise, this started out as Craig Wilson and Josh Fogg for Huff. I'm only guessing that this offer was pretty much laughed off, if it was even offered. In a Pittsburgh paper, it noted that Chuck LaMar pretty much told Littlefield that he'd have to give up an everyday player, preferabley a Starting Pitcher, and 2 top-notch prospects(also preferabley pitching). I could see this trade happening, moreso than the Huff-to-Cubs trade.
2005-02-02T06:47:34.516-08:00On Raysbaseball.com, we've got a decent sized thread going on about our projections and predictions of this upcoming season. Since "writer's block" is currently preventing me from writing my preliminary story idea("Jesus Saves"), I'll throw my prediction hat into the ring. Here's goes nothing.... Final 2005 Record: 80-82 Barring any major injuries to our core players, I see a near .500 season(if not a .500 record) for the Rays. It's true that Chuckles and Vincenzo did drop the ball during this offseason with a few questionable offseason signings, but some of these signings will actually produce positive results. I see a few of our younger players having career years and give Lou reasons to rethink his stance on "playing so many damn rookies." I'm not sure when, but I guarantee that we will be in a fight for a playoff spot sometime this season and gain alot of national exposure. Also, I predict that we will hear more of Stu Sternberg. Biggest Offseason Acquisition: Josh Phelps 1B/DH I believe that we finally found another power bat in Josh. I'm sure that Aubrey will be happy to hear me say that. He'll struggle at times(most likely earlier on in the season), but I see a 30+ HR season out of Josh. I also believe that he'll have a great season on the defensive side of the plate as well, showing the Blue Jays and Indians that they made a major mistake when they gave up on him so quickly. Worst Offseason Acquisition: Alex Gonzalez 3BI may be insane for saying this, but I don't even see A-Gone keeping his job through Spring Training. We've got too much younger, better talent chomping at the bit for playing time that I see one of them will step it up and yank the carpet from underneath him. If I were him, I'd concede defeat now and accept that he'll be a reliable glove off the bench and not an everyday player behind Larson/Snyder/Upton/Cantu(not sure who will be the player to steal A-Gone's job) at 3B. Breakthrough Player of the Year: Rocco Baldelli CF and Scott Kazmir SP (TIE)Even though we may not see Rocco until late May, I see Rocco making major strides to become one of the best centerfielders in MLB. He won't be as major of a fixture on the basepaths, but I see his bat making us forget about the drop in stolen bases. Scott Kazmir will be making his case as the "Ace" of our pitching staff this year and he'll have the numbers to back it up. I see him hitting double digits in Wins, racking up a near-franchise record amount of Strikeouts and I see him improving his WHIP and ERA. Team MVP: Aubrey Huff 1BAll the trade rumors about him will light a fire under him that we'll all enjoy as fans and his team will ride the coat-tails of. He'll set career highs in most, if not all, major stat categories and he'll possibly garner some AL MVP considerations. He'll also step up and into the role of Team Captain and Leader. He's shown us before that he'll talk on behalf of the rest of the team and we'll continue to see that this year. Most Outstanding Rookie: Chad Orvella RPAlthough I see Delmon making some noise, I see Chad making the most noise of all our youngsters this season. I see Orvella garnering a roster spot out of Spring Training and continuing to put up phenomenal numbers as a reliever. If you need some bullpen help for your fantasy teams, I wouldn't look too far and pick up Orvella. Minor League Player of the Year: Reid Brignac SS/3B (SW Michigan Devil Rays)Need I explain further? I believe that I should or else I'll look too biased. I see Reid putting up numbers that may make us wonder if Bossman Junior is really our "Shortstop of the Future." I believe that Reid will get some time at 3B and show some versatility in case we're still wondering where he may fit into our future. Battle Creek , you'd better be ready, for you will see a legend in the making. [...]
2005-01-30T12:06:54.520-08:00On Friday Night, A chicago sports radio station(ESPN 1000) reported that Sammy Sosa was being traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Hairston, maybe Julio and a couple minor leaguers. Now that was all fine and dandy until the 2 jackasses in the booth started talking about how it would be easy for them to take Baez and Huff off of our hands. Bruce Levine, a parasitic-like sports beat writer who pulls rumors out of his ass, said that Hendry was already in the works of a deal which would send Huff and Baez to Chicago for Farnsworth, the players received from Baltimore in the Sosa trade and possibly Sergio Mitre. I was actually pondering calling in this show about how Chicago could get Baez for a starting pitcher, but that was before they started lambasting our team, our GM(if anyone can insult LaMar, it's only us) and everything which we stand for. Next, Bruce started spouting out that Hendry passed on trading for Carl Crawford because he was "too young and too inexperienced." What the?? A team who has Corey Patterson playing in the outfield is telling us that the defending stolen base champion and future 25 HR threat is too inexperienced. That makes sense....NOT! Let me state some facts: Corey is one of the most impatient batters in MLB right now combined with one of the lowest On-base percentages for a leadoff hitter in MLB. Corey is turning 28(I think) and CC is 23....CC has played in around 140+ games in the last 2 seasons and Corey gets hurt every other at bat. So according to Hendry(though I think it's more of Levine-talk,) Corey is a better player than CC? We'll see...
2005-01-28T17:05:40.643-08:00BRAVES, this is the year. Additions have been made to the NL East, and players have found more money elsewhere. My prediction for the NL East is that the Braves will NOT win it this year. Let's look at the teams... The defending NL East champion: Atlanta Braves C - Johnny Estrada 1B - Adam LaRoche 2B - Marcus Giles 3B - Chipper Jones SS - Rafael Furcal LF - Brian Jordan CF - Andruw Jones RF - Raul Mondesi BN - Julio Franco (1B) BN - Ryan Langerhans (OF) 1 - Tim Hudson (R) 2 - John Smoltz (R) 3 - Mike Hampton (L) 4 - John Thomson (R) 5 - Horacio Ramirez (L) RP - Chris Rietsma (R) RP - Kevin Gryboski (R) CL - Danny Kolb (R) Strength: Infield (LaRoche, Giles, Furcal, Jones and Estrada)...the core returns to a potentially dangerous Atlanta line-up Weakness: a) Pitching (Yes, the Atlanta pitching)...How will Hudson adjust to the NL, how will Smoltz adjust to the rotation after closing, how effective will 3-5 be? b) Outfield (Particularly Jordan and Mondesi)...how will Jordan respond back in Atlanta (having not played more than 66 games since '02), how will Mondesi perform after a year off? The 2003 World Series Champion: Florida Marlins C - Paul Lo Duca 1B - Carlos Delgado 2B - Luis Castillo 3B - Mike Lowell SS - Alex Gonzalez LF - Miguel Cabrera CF - Juan Pierre RF - Juan Encarnacion BN - Jeff Conine (1B/OF) BN - Damian Easly (IF) 1 - Josh Beckett (R) 2 - A.J. Burnett (R) 3 - Dontrelle Willis (L) 4 - Al Leiter (L) 5 - Ismal Valdez (R) RP - Antonio Alfonseca (R) RP - Todd Jones (R) CL - Guillermo Mota (R) Strength: a) Power from the corner infield (Delgado and Lowell)...should post huge numbers b) Speed (Castillo and Pierre)...should wreck havoc on the base paths Weakness: Relief pitching (Bullpen and Mota)...how well will the bullpen perform, how well will Mota succeed as the next relief-to-closer pitcher? The high rollers of the NL East: New York Mets C - Mike Piazza 1B - Doug Mientkiewicz 2B - Kazuo Matsui 3B - David Wright SS - Jose Reyes LF - Cliff Floyd CF - Carlos Beltran RF - Mike Cameron BN - Jason Phillips (C/1B) BN - Joe McEwing (where can't he play) 1 - Pedro Martinez (R) 2 - Tom Glavine (L) 3 - Kris Benson (R) 4 - Steve Trachsel (R) 5 - Victor Zambrano (R)/ Aaron Heiling (R) RP - Mike DeJean (R) RP - Bartolome Fortunato (R) CL - Braden Looper (R) Strength: Power (Piazza, Floyd? and Beltran)...and quite a bit of it Weakness: Spending (Should I even name them)...could the Mets have overspent for anyone? The always trying to improve: Philadelphia Phillies C - Mike Lieberthal 1B - Jim Thome 2B - Chase Utley 3B - David Bell SS - Jimmy Rollins LF - Pat Burrell CF - Kenny Lofton RF - Bobby Abreu BN - Tomas Perez (IF) BN - Jason Michaels (OF) 1 - Randy Wolf (L) 2 - Jon Lieber (R) 3 - Vicente Padilla (R) 4 - Cory Lidle (R) 5 - Brett Myers (R) RP - Tim Worrell (R) RP - Rheal Cormier (L) CL - Billy Wagner (L) Strength: LF/RF (Burrell and Abreu)...if the Phillies are going to contend for the division Burrell and Abreu need to offer support for Thome Weakness: (Lack of) Speed (Lofton and Rollins)...the former is a fomer stolen base threat (pun intended) and the latter is an overrated base stealer Welcome back to America: Washington Nationals C - Brian Schneider 1B - Brad Wilkerson 2B - Jose Vidro 3B - Vinny Castilla SS - Cristian Guzman LF - Termel Sledge CF - Endy Chavez RF - Jose Guillen BN - Nick Johnson (1B) BN - Jamey Carroll (IF) 1 - Livan Hernandez (R) 2 - Tony Armas (R) 3 - Tomo Ohka (R) 4 - Esteban Loaiza (R) 5 - Zach Day (R) RP - Luis Ayala (R) RP - Joe Horgan (L) CL - Chad Cordero (R) Strength: Fan support...welcome back to America...hopefully their fans will be there to support them more than Montreal could Weakness: Rotation (asi[...]
2005-01-28T11:01:43.140-08:00People ask me "Why aren't the Devil Rays going after Free Agent Pitchers this offseason?," I tend to tell them to look at the contract of Kris Benson and see the trouble that has caused. However, I've told plenty of people that we wouldn't sign any pitchers and I was surprisingly proven wrong with the signing of a Mr. Hideo Nomo, of Dodger and Boston Red Sox fame. I can't say that I'm in love with this signing, but it ranks right under the signings of Phelps and Niemann as possible positive signings/risks. Hideo's 2004 numbers make just about any stat-cringe. I, however, think that he's got a worthwhile chance of returning to his old form and help round out this somewhat shaky rotation. I'm wondering if LaMar was eating some brainfood this week because signing Nomo to a minor league deal was a true stroke of genius. If Nomo makes it onto the roster, his max salary is 780,000 and if he doesn't make the team, we aren't bound to him by a multimillion dollar contract.
2005-01-27T13:48:28.396-08:00This is how I would project the 2005 White Sox batting order to look come opening day...
2005-01-27T06:18:35.666-08:00Due to the lack of stories from St. Pete, I decided that it'd be a great time to look around for things to write about. All of a sudden, I thought to myself, maybe I could ask one of the GMs of our farm system if I could interview him. On my first try, I got an email from Martie Cordaro that he would comply with my wishes to ask him a few questions(which I did, through email). Hopefully I didn't ask him too many "fluff" questions. Well, I hope you guys enjoy the read.
2005-01-25T17:50:29.646-08:00Kenny Williams has snuck under the radar once again. For the second time in as many years the White Sox has tapped into Japans resource of veteran All-Stars looking to play at the next level.
With Spring Training right around the corner, our Devil Rays finally got some work done and signed our Top Draft Pick of this year's amatuer draft. Let's get to know about Jeff Niemann a little better.
Here's the Basic Biographical stuff:
Full Name: Jeffrey Warren Niemann
D.O.B.: February 28, 1983
Hometown: Houston, TX
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 260 lbs.
High School: Lamar H.S.(TX)
Draft Info: 1st Rd. Pick(4) of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 2004 Amateur Draft
Career Record: 28-4
Career ERA: 2.62
Complete Games: 2
Career Saves: 4
Career Innings Pitched: 283
Career Strikeouts: 303
Career Walks: 92
Career K/9: 9.3
Career BB/9: 3.1
Career H/9: 7.2
Career WHIP(Walks+Hits/Innings Pitched): 1.15
*Please note that these are his college career totals
Pitch Selection/Info: Jeff has a Mid-to-High 90's Fastball, An above-average slider, knuckle-curve and a change-up. Baseball America ranked his slider as the best of the 2004 Draft. Niemann also relies on his great command, which combined with his towering height could become a deadly combo in the majors.
Health Problems: Jeff has had artho-scopic surgery on his elbow(not major) before and went through some groin problems in 2004(also, nothing major)Fasciniting Facts:
2005-01-17T11:58:05.350-08:00Well Jakub, you successfully posted without mentioning prospects. I will now live up to my end of the deal. I will make a post all about our favorite Chicago relief pitcher: MR. ZERO.
If there was one positive Free-Agent signing that the Rays made this year, it'd most definitely have to be the signing of Josh Phelps. Out of Bautista, A-Gone and Phelps, Phelps was the only acquisition we actually pleaded for. Scary, huh? We pleaded for a Lefty-Masher with porous defense and near-average speed.
Now lets get down to the nitty gritty, let's learn more about him...
Here's the Basic Biographical stuff:
Full Name: Joshua Lee Phelps
D.O.B.: May 12th, 1978
Hometown: Anchorage, AK
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 215 lbs.
Draft Info: Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th Rd of the 1996 Amatuer Draft
Hitting Info(watch out, I did some research):
I'm new to making scouting reports, so let me know if I forgot anything major.
2005-01-15T20:16:40.686-08:00Sorry, didn't mean to do it again. Few points to address before I continue. 1) Jakub. You are right. The 2B-SS tandem can (and will) be beat (repeatedly). It's nothing to be afraid of. The White Sox should trade one of their OF for a 2B/SS
2005-01-15T13:07:52.876-08:00Sorry, I didn't mean to deceive you, but I really wanted to talk about the Chicago White Sox. I know Jakub has been talking about the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, so I figured we needed to hear some ranting, raving, opinions about those lovable (or love to hate) South Side Sluggers.
2005-01-14T13:27:43.393-08:00After talking to Sam about various things, we started talking about one of our favorite Multi-talented baseball players, Aubrey Huff. Sam pretty much summed what I was thinking, right now we could make another Kazmir-for-Zammy trade because right now Aubrey is worth his weight in gold. Insane as I am, I started thinking...hrm, Aubrey....Gold...Aubrey....Gold....Why am I connecting these 2? Then I look at the periodic table and look at the little box for Gold...Chemical Symbol: Au....El Gaspo! Au-brey ::inserts twilight zone music::
2005-01-04T12:22:28.970-08:00Thanks to the lack of transactions by LaMar, I am forced to make a post which will probably be the funniest I have ever made.
2004-12-31T20:10:59.173-08:00In under 2 hours(here), It'll be January 1st and we'll be inching ever so closer to Spring Training and the beginning of another season of big league baseball. For a Devil Rays fan, we're playing the waiting game and try to see what "winners" we can get out of the bargain bin. Not anything new for us, we haven't had any "big" signings in years. We'll I've griped enough in this blog about our team's lack of intelligence/Front Office Financial Backing/etc. I'm going to turn over a new leaf this year, or at least try to. I'm going to continue posting my general humorous thoughts about our Rays, but I'm going to shut my mouth when it comes to the Front Office. I know that Dan(Raysbaseball.com), Jay(Raysbb.com), Jim(ztiger.com), Sam(devilrays.mostvaluablenetwork.com), Jess(MVN), David, me and all the other Devil Rays fans have ranted and raved until we've gotten blue in the face and some of us have probably suffered from long-term carpal tunnel syndrome.
2004-12-16T23:03:48.626-08:00Yeah, I was kinda pissed in my last blogging about how LaMar didn't do shit during the Winter Meetings but enjoying the sights and sounds of Anaheim, but I can't say that we entirely screwed ourselves into a last place finish. I'm actually getting happier with the things that have been happening in baseball lately. First off, Let me start with the Yankees and their buying of an entire pitching staff. Yes, they picked up big names on the market(Pavano and Wright) and off the market(Randy Johnson). Yet, With that completely idiotic trade for an aging fireballer they also laid waste to their farmsystem. As a Devil Ray fan, we have to suffer a bit this season, but not as much as we originally thought. We'll be facing one of the oldest and most over-hyped arms in baseball. Big whoop, they got Pavano and Jaret Wright by shucking multi-million dollar contracts like it's nothing. Pavano had a "contract" year and will probably crumble from the pressure. Jaret Wright can't even pass a physical, why should we worry about facing him? I'm definitely not trembling at the mention of his name. They haven't spent any money on their offense and they don't have a prospect within arms distance to coming to Ruth's house. I'd like to thank Boston again for totally embarassing New York, now they're delirious enough to make ridiculous signings and trades. Now onto the World Champ, things aren't running perfectly smoothly for them also. I, however, won't count them out anytime soon. They've made minor moves and acquired an upgrade at SS with the signing of "Edgah". The thing about Boston is...well, they've replaced Pedro and Derek Lowe with Boomer Wells and John Halama. I'm sorry Sam, but that's hilarious as all hell. Now with the news that Curt may not be ready for the beginning of the season, Wakefield and Arroyo are forced to take over as "Ace." I'll believe that when I see it. Right now, Baseball isn't big on the minds of Bostonians, which Epstein should be happy about. Baltimore is looking like 90% of their hitters this offseason. None of their targeted acquisitions have landed anywhere close to them. Delgado doesn't seem to be grabbing the pen anytime soon, would you? Peter Angelos has the money, but from the looks of things...noone wants it. I also believe that this backlash comes from Angelos' whining about the Montreal move to DC. You may have bickered yourself into success, however not for your Orioles. A few bright spots last year, but I don't expect any "big" changes for Baltimore next year. Toronto, oh poor Toronto. First, the team totally craps out on JP Riccardi, now no hockey? Geez, the suicide rate must be flying through the roof nowadays in Toronto. The only bright spot is that they got a native son(Corey Koskie) signed to a deal, but that forces the "newly bastardized Native Son" Eric Hinske into a position (1B) that he isn't accustomed to. They made small moves, but not enough to get them out of the cellar any time soon. I guess more time for Aaron Hill and Russ Adams to get some seasoning in the minors. Take your time guys, The Jays aren't leaving Canada anytime soon. Now for our beloved Rays, this is an offseason where we just would rather close our eyes and hope that our team just plays a little bit closer to its "potential". We did get gypped in the trade for Kevin Cash, but I'm sure this kid will turn out to be alot better than Brook "Burke" Fordyce. I'll be glad to put so[...]