2014/2015 Rays Off-Season

VORP Speed

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So…slightly hectic few weeks in the bowels of the Trop.
 
 
The 2014 Rays had very good starting pitching. 22 shutouts on the season, most in the AL since the start of the DH. The bullpen was a dumpster fire to start the season and stabilized towards the end as McGee and Boxberger settled into their roles in the late innings. Offense left a bit to be desired. The team was total crap for 2.5 months then totally great for 2 months and then settled into mediocrity.
 
There are zero free agents leaving this offseason. The team already exercised their options on Zobrist and Peralta. Below are the current contracts for 2015. Everyone not listed (Myers, Odorizzi, Guyer, Franklin, etc) is on a pre-arb minimum deal. Sternberg has been making lots of noise that the BLOATED $77m payroll of 2014 is going to be trimmed back for 2015 to a more Ray-appropriate level.
 

Players Under Contract

2014 Salary

2015 Salary

Evan Longoria

$7.5 million

$11 million

James Loney

$7 million

$7 million

Grant Balfour

$5 million

$7 million

Yunel Escobar

$5 million

$5 million

David DeJesus

$4.25 million

$5 million

Ryan Hanigan

$2.75 million

$3.5 million

Jose Molina

$1.75 million

$2.75 million

Matt Moore

$1 million

$3 million

Chris Archer

$0.5 million

$1 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

Players with an Option

2014 Salary

2015 Option

Ben Zobrist

$7 million

$7.5 million

Joel Peralta

$3 million

$2.5 million

 

 

 

Arbitration Eligible Players

2014 Salary

2015 Expected

Matt Joyce

$3.7 million

$4.9 million

Jeremy Hellickson

$3.65 million

$3.9 million

Sean Rodriguez

$1.475 million

$2 million

Jake McGee

$1.45 million

$3.8 million

Cesar Ramos

$0.75 million

$1.3 million

Alex Cobb

$0.5 million

$4.5 million

Desmond Jennings

$0.5 million

$3.2 million

Drew Smyly

$0.5 million

$3 million

Logan Forsythe

$0.5 million

$1.2 million
 
 
 
Starting Rotation:
A bit crowded right now. Cobb, Archer, Odorizzi, Smyly, Hellickson. Moore coming back. Colome and Karns knocking on the door. Sounds like Hellickson is on the block, which won't be any great loss. Should continue to be the strength of the team in 2015. For all the noise about Price, Smyly out-pitched him after the trade. 
 
Bullpen: 
McGee and Boxberger stepped up as the season wore on. Peralta was pretty shitty, but not completely atrocious. Balfour was a big f'n australian joke. We'll see if they can dump Balfour's salary on someone willing to take a gamble on a rebound year. The bullpen really sank them early in 2014, so if McGee and Box can stay in form and they can scrape together some middle relief this could be an area for huge improvement.
 
Lineup:
Infield is basically set with Loney, Zobrist, Escobar, Longoria and Franklin prob starting to be worked in. Sean Rodriguez still around, too, although wouldn't be surprised to see him traded. They all just need to do better. Well, except Zobrist…he's always good.
There's a glut of outfielders. Kiermaier and Guyer emerged over the course of 2014. Joyce was Joyce. Jennings was not young Carl Crawford and it doesn't look like he ever will be. Dejesus is still around. Zobrist and Rodriguez play a lot of outfield, too. Probably will see Joyce moved this winter, maybe Dejesus, maybe both. 
 
Manager:
Everyone knows the saga. Interviews starting this week for Maddon's replacement.
 
Front office:
Silverman should be a pretty seamless transition as he was very involved as part of the Wall St triad with Sternberg and Friedman. Chaim Bloom is the next boy genius Yalie that some big market team will be overpaying 7 years from now. He will start to play a bigger and bigger role under Silverman.
 
 
Should make for an interesting offseason. If the offense rebounds a bit and the middle relief gets sorted out, this could actually be a pretty good team in 2015. 
 
 
May 30, 2014
375
VORP Speed said:
 
Manager:
Everyone knows the saga. Interviews starting this week for Maddon's replacement.
 
What's the story with Dave Martinez? I don't understand why he hasn't just been handed the job. Did he do something to somebody?
 

VORP Speed

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Snoop Soxy Dogg said:
 
What's the story with Dave Martinez? I don't understand why he hasn't just been handed the job. Did he do something to somebody?
I thought he'd be a shoo-in, but after all the unsuccessful interviews for other jobs he's had over the last few years, maybe there is some red flag there with regards to leadership potential or decision-making ability or something. By all accounts he's very well-liked and respected in the clubhouse. There is also some thinking that the Rays are super-pissed at Alan Nero, Maddon's agent, who also happens to be Martinez' agent or just that they are ready for a clean break with the ways of the Jedi since the off-season is turning into an administrative house-cleaning anyway.
 

VORP Speed

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gryoung said:
What's the word there on a potential move to Canada?
My take is the noise about that is all Stu exerting leverage to get a sweetheart stadium deal in Tampa. I wouldn't rule it out if he (and by extension MLB) doesn't eventually get what he wants, but I think there are a lot more cards to be turned over before anyone goes shopping for Expos hats. For all the attention paid to the lousy attendance, the Rays get really good TV ratings in a pretty big TV market. They have a lousy TV deal now that they've been locked into for awhile, but the forecasts are that their local TV revenue may go up as much as 4x or 5x when they come up for a new deal in 2017. More likely than not they stay put, I'd say.
 

drtooth

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A bit behind on this update.  TB trades Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona for 2 prospects.  From Marc Topkin.
 
 
The Rays have traded RHP Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona for two prospects, OF Justin Williams and SS Andrew Velazquez, the Times has learned.......
........
Here is the information provided by the Rays about them:
Velazquez, 20, enjoyed a breakout season in 2014 for Class-A South Bend, and was named Midwest League Prospect of the Year in addition to a midseason and postseason All-Star. The switch-hitter led the Midwest League with 50 stolen bases, 94 runs scored and 15 triples. In 134 games (129 at shortstop), he recorded a .290 (158-for-544) batting average, .367 on-base pct., .428 slugging pct., 18 doubles, nine home runs and 62 walks. His 50 steals ranked seventh among all minor league players. From April 22 to July 16 he reached base safely in 74 consecutive games.

Following the season, Velazquez was named the No. 12 prospect in the D-backs system by MLB.com and the No. 16 prospect in the Midwest League by Baseball America. The Bronx, New York native was selected by Arizona in the seventh round of the 2012 June Draft out of Fordham Prep School.

Williams, 19, hit a combined .351 (102-for-291) between Short-Season A Missoula and South Bend in 2014, and won the Pioneer League batting title with a .386 (73-for-189) mark for Missoula. At the time of his August 3 promotion, he had compiled a Missoula-record 28-game hitting streak, batting .443 (51-for-115) during that time. He recorded 52 hits in the month of July, most of any professional hitter at any level. After the season, Williams was named a postseason Pioneer League All-Star, the league's No. 7 prospect by Baseball America, and the No. 14 prospect in the D-backs system by MLB.com. He finished the campaign with a combined four home runs, 46 RBI, .403 on-base pct. and .467 slugging pct.

Williams, a left-handed hitter, owns a .351 career batting average over two professional seasons. He was selected by Arizona in the second round of the 2013 June Draft out of Terrebonne High School in Houma, Louisiana.
 
 
Looks like Evan Longoria left Tuesday's game in Japan after be hit by a pitch in the left forearm.  Appears to be just a bruise
 

VORP Speed

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Rays signed Ernesto Frieri. Take that Sox fans!! Panda who? Hanley what?
 
They also DFA'd Jose Molina and Sean Rodriguez. Apparently extreme pitch-framing skills can only get you so far.
 
Final interviews for the manager position start next week. Field has been narrowed to Kevin Cash, Don Wakamatsu and Raul Ibanez. The obvious choices. There seem to be lots of whispers that Cash is the favorite. Tampa native, former Red Sox and currently studying at the foot of Tito in Cleveland.
 
 
Edit: Also, the Rays traded Joel Peralta and a pretty good, older triple A reliever (Liberatore) to the Dodgers for a couple of younger pitching prospects. The more interesting of the 2 prospects the Rays got back is a guy named Jose Dominguez. He's LAD's 11th ranked prospect. 24 y/o flamethrower, 10 K/9, known to touch 102mph, wild as all hell and already busted once for PEDs. 
 

jasvlm

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I think the Rays are likely to continue to reshape the roster, and while I think it is unlikely, Zobrist may well be the next out the door.  Maddon loved him, but with Joe gone to Chicago, it is entirely possible the Zobrist finds his way onto a different contender.  He's only got one year left on his deal (the Rays have picked up his 2015 option), and he could certainly net the Rays a higher end prospect and a lower level lottery ticket if they decide to move him.  He would seem to make a lot of sense to Cleveland, who could move him around from LF/ss/3b/2b at least until Lindor gets called up.  If the Tribe would move someone like Naquin and change, it might just get it done.  I don't think the Rays could get Frazier, but they should try.
 

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Rays top 10 prospect list from Baseball Prospectus. The 19 y/o kid they got in the Price trade comes in at #1, the 16 y/o kid that they blew thru their int'l bonus limit to sign comes in at #4

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=25132


SS Willy Adames
C Justin O’Conner
RHP Alex Colome
SS Adrian Rondon
RHP Brent Honeywell
RHP Nate Karns
RHP Taylor Guerrieri
1B Casey Gillaspie
OF Justin Williams
LHP Blake Snell
 

JimRiceHOFer

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Matt Joyce traded to the Angels
 
http://m.rays.mlb.com/news/article/104224844/rays-acquire-right-hander-kevin-jepsen-from-angels-for-veteran-outfielder-matt-joyce
 
The Rays bolstered their bullpen Tuesday by trading from a position of strength, sending outfielder Matt Joyce to the Angels in exchange for right-hander Kevin Jepsen.
 
In addition, the Rays will not have closer Jake McGee at the beginning of next season. The team announced Tuesday that McGee underwent arthroscopic surgery Friday to remove a loose body from his left elbow. The acquisition of Jepsen will help shore up the bullen in McGee's absence.
 

VORP Speed

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Zobrist/Escobar to A's for Jaso, their top prospect (Robertson), their #20 prospect (Boog Powell) and cash.

Like the move for the Rays. Turned Zobrist + Escobar + Zobrist's freed up salary into Cabrera (to take over a middle infield spot), Jaso (to DH and be emergency catcher), room for Franklin to start, plus a top prospect and another decent prospect. Relatively neutral for next season plus helps restock the farm.
 

mauidano

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VORP Speed said:
Zobrist/Escobar to A's for Jaso, their top prospect (Robertson), their #20 prospect (Boog Powell) and cash.
 
NOT related to the Orioles great and ribs master chef! Do you think this poor kid is tired of answering that question? Thanks mom and dad.
 

jon abbey

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VORP Speed

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How do you injure a finger on your throwing hand while playing catch?? It has to be something stupid like he barehanded a throw back to him.