2015 Rays: Straight Cash, Loney

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4 starting pitchers on the DL (Cobb, Moore, Odorizzi, Colome). Closer on the DL (McGee). Franklin, Jaso, Loney on the DL. Maddon in Wrigley, Friedman in Chavez Ravine. The new manager was a bullpen coach last year. They're going to start using more light blue in the uniforms, though, so that's nice.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3 weeks in and things are actually going pretty well. 11-8, tied for 1st with NYY. Given the crazy amount of injuries, this is highly encouraging. They have had 12 players hit the DL (second most on the DL before the end of April in the last 20 years).
 
Smyly came back last week and performed well. Colome is due back later this week, McGee next week and Cobb hopefully 2nd half of May. Odorizzi and Archer have been lights out. Once everyone is back, there is a pretty good chance that this is one of the best rotations in the game, even before Matt Moore comes back over the summer. 
 
The offense, as usual, is the issue for the Rays, but there is a fair bit of optimism around many of the new additions, particularly Souza and Beckham. Loney came back late last week and has been good, Longoria is breaking out of his early slump, Kiermaier has been very good, Dejesus has been better than anyone expected. There is a decent chance Desmond Jennings finds himself spending a lot more time on the bench, given how the rest of the outfield is shaping up. Jaso and Franklin should be back in the next couple of weeks. Cabrera is off to a lousy start, so will be interesting to see how Franklin, Beckham, Forsythe and Cabrera split middle infield duties. Beckham may be playing his way into a full-time gig soon.
 
Relief pitching has been pretty lousy, but the relief has been in a tough spot given a heavy workload with all the starting pitchers on the DL and basically having 2-3 starting slots filled by absolute garbage up until recently. Boxberger and Jepsen have been good. Once McGee comes back, it's possible that they could have a very solid 1-2-3 punch out of the pen. Also, Cash seems to reject the set innings for set relievers dogma, so that's kind of cool to see.
 
Overall, many reasons for optimism. 
 

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jon abbey

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Smyly back on the DL also, TB has done a great job to hang around given all of their rotation injuries. 
 

jon abbey

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Oof, and now Smyly's injury looks like a torn labum and he will be done for the season also. Sorry, VORP. 
 
So who are they left with for now? Archer, Odorizzi, Colome, Karns and Andriese, with Matt Moore on the mend. 
 

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Yeah, this sucks. Rays did a nice job of quietly (and cheaply, of course) re-tooling and were poised to be led by a great rotation. Oh well. Supposedly Moore is ahead of schedule and could be back in 4 weeks. Colome has looked good since he came back from his ST pneumonia. So for now, it's Archer, Odorizzi, Colome, Karns and pray for rain. I think there will be a lot of "pitching by committee" games in that fifth starter slot. Once Moore is back, things might be OK with Karns being a weak link, but not a disaster.

Notice that the one coach that the Rays made sure not to lose in the big shake-up this offseason was Jim Hickey. He's phenomenal. It's amazing what a good pitching coach can accomplish!
 

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As Memorial Day Weekend arrives, Rays are in sole possession of first. Order is restored to the universe just in time for summer.
 

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So the takeaway from the first 2.5 months of Kevin Cash's managerial career apparently is that he is a wizard of some sort. 4/5 starting pitchers are on the shelf, but the team just keeps chugging along with pitching and barely adequate offense. The one starter who isn't hurt (Archer) is having a Cy Young type of year so far and the bullpen has rounded into shape pretty nicely. Last night the bullpen threw a shutout in their start against the Nats, just for good measure. Joey Butler has been a surprise at DH, Forsythe is having a good year, Souza is doing pretty well, but Longoria hasn't been anything spectacular and overall the offense has been very Rays-ian.
It's seemed like smoke and mirrors so far, but it's June 18 and they're a game up in what has quietly become the best division in the league (4 teams over .500, 4 teams with positive run differential). Looks like all those intra-division games to start the year made it look like the division sucked, when maybe it actually was 4 pretty good teams beating up on each other.
Moore and Odorizzi are due back in July, Jaso and Loney should be back in a few weeks. Will be interesting to see how long the team can hang in there.
 

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Matt Moore back tonight from TJ. Unless he learned how to hit during rehab, though, not sure how much it's going to help. Offense of late has been even more pathetic than its baseline level of consistent patheticness.
 

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So what the hell is going on with Curtis Casali? 2 HRs in consecutive games, tonight's both off David Price, 6 HRs in his last 20 ABs and an 1.125 OPS. Has he ever shown any signs in this direction or has he maybe just figured out how to hit at 26?
 

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Totally out of the blue. The dude never had a multi-HR game in college or the minors. I hear he used to tear it up for New Canaan High, though.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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Richie Shaffer on the way to the big club. 
 
Not moving Longo off 3rd, but is a 3B/1B/DH with some late exposure to RF. Probably an immediate upgrade at 1B or DH if they insert him immediately.
 
And BTW Sox took Marrero 1 pick ahead of Shaffer, who has 23 bombs in the minors this year (AA/AAA). I always liked him when he was at Clemson.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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Yea, I flipped over on MLB.TV once the gas can was out in the Sox game and rewound to watch that. Pretty cool scene in the dugout when he came in to the silent treatment.
 
And yea, a guy that plays first and third would fit right in right now. He's had a high K rate and this is a breakout year, so it will be an interesting watch. Loved him in college.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jGu3vKqfrw
 

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Paul's boy Richie 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored plus hit the game-winning HR today to get the Rays back to .500.

With Jaso back, the offense has been much better of late. Too bad that's coincided with the bullpen blowing a bunch of games.
 

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Curt Casali, who has come out of nowhere with 10HR since the all-star break, pulled a hamstring during a home run trot last night. It's been that kind of season.
 

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Rays DFA Daniel Nava, JP Arencibia, Brandom Gomes and Kirby Yates.

Only real decision to be made was between Arencibia and Rene Rivera. Arencibia did well in his cup of coffee late in the season (.310/.315/.606 in 73 PAs), and Rivera has been poor offensively (.171/.213/.275 in 319 PAs). But Arenicibia's production was unlikely to be sustainable, given the minuscule walk rate (1.4%) and strikeouts (30.1%). Steamer actually projects them both to be a cool 33% below average offensively so makes sense to go with the surer defensive bet.

I think Yates can turn it around in another organization and be a semi-useful bullpen piece if he ups his slider usage. But pretty expendable - no complaints here.