Rays Offseason 2021-2022

VORP Speed

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The last week kind of feels like the Lightning crashing out of the playoffs in the first round in 2019. Tremendous regular season team, crashed and burned in the playoffs. A fatal flaw exposed. Disappointment abounds. Small-time performances scattered across the lineup.


Tonight, the Lightning raise the banner for their second straight Cup after that disaster. The FO addressed the flaws, they regained their swagger. They came out the other side tougher and hungrier and more well-rounded.


How will these Rays respond?
 

Zososoxfan

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Getting Glasnow back should help a great deal. What is the fatal flaw that was exposed? Running into a hot hitting team? I'm saying this as a fellow Rays fan (albeit one who still roots for the Sox a bit more), so not trying to needle you here.
 

VORP Speed

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Getting Glasnow back should help a great deal. What is the fatal flaw that was exposed? Running into a hot hitting team? I'm saying this as a fellow Rays fan (albeit one who still roots for the Sox a bit more), so not trying to needle you here.
Not exercising the option on Morton and being short of quality starter/bulk innings
 

ehaz

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Rays with Morton and a healthy Glasnow would've been impossible to beat.
 

crow216

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It's hard to argue that the reason the Rays lost was the lack of SP when it was the Red Sox who won with a group all getting hot at exactly the right time. Eovaldi is dominating again. Nick Pivetta looks like Randy Johnson. Eduardo Rodriguez and his 1.4 whip is probably the second starter. These things may or may not get exposed over a 7 game series instead of a 1 game or 5 game...but even still, it's not like the steamrolling Red Sox were built with a stacked rotation or bullpen. The one thing true there is that typically the world series team has a rotation anchor. Call him an ace or just a solid starter, but the Rays didn't really have that. The Sox, right now, do.

Here's what I've learned the last 4 years of what should have been at least 1 WS for the Yankees. Or maybe not learned but re-remember every year. The flaws of your team usually get highlighted in the postseason but at the end of the day a shitload of what happens is luck. Forget the favorable or unfavorable on-the-field calls. Just in general, you can have all the right pieces and run into a team like the Red Sox who don't want to lose. The Yankees ran into the Astros in 2017 and the Red Sox in 2018. Those were world series quality Yankees teams getting beat by World Series winners. The 2021 Yankees had all the pieces to win a world series but even still, one bad start vs one great start and your whole season is over. We spent a couple years saying the missing piece for the Yankees was an ace. We got an ace and he had a bad start when it counted most.

Sorry if this was a shoot-from-the hip kind of post. Just a lot of hilarity in the randomness of baseball for this season.
 

Kliq

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Rays with Morton and a healthy Glasnow would've been impossible to beat.
A healthy Glasnow doesn't exist, which is a real concern for Tampa moving forward.

The reliance on the bullpen just feels so risky because you are bringing in so many different arms and it only takes one guy who doesn't have it to ruin the game. Last night the Rays pitchers were by-and-large quite effective, but one guy (McLanahan) didn't have it and that submarined the efforts of everyone else.

Losing Morton was a key blow, but I also think about trading Snell. Snell wasn't good this season, but neither was Eduardo Rodriguez but we see in the playoffs the value of having someone who on a good day is capable of giving you 5+ innings of reliable work.
 

Average Reds

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It's hard to argue that the reason the Rays lost was the lack of SP when it was the Red Sox who won with a group all getting hot at exactly the right time. Eovaldi is dominating again. Nick Pivetta looks like Randy Johnson. Eduardo Rodriguez and his 1.4 whip is probably the second starter. These things may or may not get exposed over a 7 game series instead of a 1 game or 5 game...but even still, it's not like the steamrolling Red Sox were built with a stacked rotation or bullpen. The one thing true there is that typically the world series team has a rotation anchor. Call him an ace or just a solid starter, but the Rays didn't really have that. The Sox, right now, do.

Here's what I've learned the last 4 years of what should have been at least 1 WS for the Yankees. Or maybe not learned but re-remember every year. The flaws of your team usually get highlighted in the postseason but at the end of the day a shitload of what happens is luck. Forget the favorable or unfavorable on-the-field calls. Just in general, you can have all the right pieces and run into a team like the Red Sox who don't want to lose. The Yankees ran into the Astros in 2017 and the Red Sox in 2018. Those were world series quality Yankees teams getting beat by World Series winners. The 2021 Yankees had all the pieces to win a world series but even still, one bad start vs one great start and your whole season is over. We spent a couple years saying the missing piece for the Yankees was an ace. We got an ace and he had a bad start when it counted most.

Sorry if this was a shoot-from-the hip kind of post. Just a lot of hilarity in the randomness of baseball for this season.
I think I agree with all of this.

The Rays built a team that was able to win the toughest division in baseball in convincing fashion. But we've known forever that a short series can go either way. Especially when you are up against a team that has a bunch of talent themselves.

I understand the frustration of seeing a dominant season come apart in a short series, but I don't think the team had any fatal flaw that caused this. And they most certainly will be back next year, because that team is loaded.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Butting in to tip another hat to @VORP Speed . We are fortunate to have rival fans sprinkled around our community who really add a lot.

Also want to throw a bouquet to Wander Fucking Franco. First chance I've had to really focus on him for multiple games in a row and good God. He's going to live in my nightmares for years.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Is Brandon Lowe's horrible Octobers a real pressure thing on him, or just extreme variance? He really looked awful.

The Cruz rental ended up not working out at all - easily handled cleanup DH hitter all series - but it was good to see the Rays go for it in a trade.
 

E5 Yaz

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The Cruz rental ended up not working out at all - easily handled cleanup DH hitter all series - but it was good to see the Rays go for it in a trade.
Disagree with this. It's quite possible they're in the WC game without him
 

The_Dali

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Agree, the Cruz move was solid. They needed some veteran leadership on that team.

The Rays will be back, but it does make you wonder if the complete disregard for starting pitching caught up with them. Trading away Hill middle of the year seemed strange at the time to me. Running out all rookies (some with only 3 games worth of experience!) just doesn't seem like a recipe for success in the playoffs. That approach can work over a long season, but I really doubt it can work in the playoffs.

Anyhow - they will be much better next year with all those rookie starters having more experience, and having Baz and Patino for the full year.
 

Daniel_Son

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As cliché as it sounds, I think they need some high-quality veteran starters. I still can't believe they let Shane Baz - who's pitched a grand total of 13.1 innings - start Game 2. Unfortunately, the Rays FO seems to think that penny pinching is a winning strategy, so I really doubt they're going to back the truck up for a front-line starter.
 

LogansDad

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First time hearing Wainwright. He's pretty good
His personality playing off of AJP makes AJ almost listenable. I will say about Pierzynski, that while he obviously seemed like a pretty big prick when he was playing, his love for the game really comes through as a color commentator, and I actually don't hate him that much.
 

pk1627

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At some point a team has to load up their roster to win it all. I’d like to see the Rays take that step. Great system, etc, but they lose in the playoffs every damn year. If it’s truly a coin flip they should have won one by now.
 

VORP Speed

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Rays exercise $7m club option on Zunino. Total no-brainer, but still nice to see they didn’t Charlie Morton the decision.
 

allmanbro

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It will be interesting to see what the Rays do with their pitching. McClanahan, Baz, Rasmusen, and Patino really could be a great core. I am seeing a lot of claims that they need an ace, but given all the upside in that top 4, I wonder if they go for volume and floor - something like another Wacha. Kikuchi might be a fit if they go FA instead of trade. Then keep Yarbrough in the swingman/#6 spot, Fleming on the shuttle, and maybe pick up some other random depth?
 

sodenj5

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Report is 12/$185 for Wander. Fantastic deal for the Rays.
What an absolute slam dunk for the Rays.

Wander looks like he’s going to be a special player for a long time. They just essentially locked up his prime for well below market rate.

Rosenthal reporting that they’ve bought out all of his arbitration years and 5 of his FA years with a club option for a 6th FA year.
 

Kliq

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For Rays fans, having a great player you feel secure will be on the team for a while is going to be a great feeling.
 

HangingW/ScottCooper

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Passan says 11/$182M guaranteed, plus escalators.
ESPN's article was wrong then, sorry about that.

Side note, at the Wild Card game, Passan sat behind me and I texted a couple friends from my fantasy league. One of them said, "I'll trade you wander for a 2nd Round Pick if you pull on Passan's tie." Not missing a bit, I told Passan about it, he was game and recorded a video with me that I sent to my friend less than 10 minutes after the ask. Sadly, he didn't follow through on the trade offer.
 

sodenj5

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It’s such a slam dunk that there really isn’t anything to discuss. Great move by the Rays. Well-played.
The only real discussion to be had is whether or not Wander left 150 million on the table.

Some players prefer securing generational wealth for themselves and their family over extracting maximum value. A deal like this takes two willing parties.

The Rays splashed an unprecedented amount of cash on a young player, however if Wander lives up to his potential, it will be an absolute steal and he left a boatload of cash on the table.

The flip side is he now has secured the future for himself and likely his children and grandchildren, and will still be young enough where he can get another contract after this one fully expires if he stays healthy and plays well.
 

VORP Speed

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The only real discussion to be had is whether or not Wander left 150 million on the table.

Some players prefer securing generational wealth for themselves and their family over extracting maximum value. A deal like this takes two willing parties.

The Rays splashed an unprecedented amount of cash on a young player, however if Wander lives up to his potential, it will be an absolute steal and he left a boatload of cash on the table.

The flip side is he now has secured the future for himself and likely his children and grandchildren, and will still be young enough where he can get another contract after this one fully expires if he stays healthy and plays well.
He traded upside for certainty. There is no difference in your life if your net worth is $200 vs $350m. It's your general level of wealth that matters, not the absolute number. There's enough tail risk in 3 years of playing MLB baseball, that locking yourself into "more money than you can ever spend" level vs the chance of ending up in "I need a job" level is a completely rational decision.
 

VORP Speed

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yea, the rays are gonna get an absolute haul of prospects when they trade Franco away in 5 years.
The Rays are always looking to maximize excess value. A high-performing 26 y/o Wander with 7 years remaining on a bargain contract will have a lot of excess value.

Plus, in 6 years, the Rays will either be summering in Montreal with 2 regional TV deals or they will have a new sweetheart stadium deal in Tampa or they will be moving somewhere else that throws a ton of money at them.
 

sodenj5

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He traded upside for certainty. There is no difference in your life if your net worth is $200 vs $350m. It's your general level of wealth that matters, not the absolute number. There's enough tail risk in 3 years of playing MLB baseball, that locking yourself into "more money than you can ever spend" level vs the chance of ending up in "I need a job" level is a completely rational decision.
As a normal human, I agree completely. As someone that will likely never have 1/10th of the wealth that Wander is going to amass, I would make the same rational choice.

However, superstar athletes do not always have that same mindset. We saw it play out here with Mookie. He was willing to gamble on himself year over year because he wanted to maximize his value.
 

VORP Speed

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As a normal human, I agree completely. As someone that will likely never have 1/10th of the wealth that Wander is going to amass, I would make the same rational choice.

However, superstar athletes do not always have that same mindset. We saw it play out here with Mookie. He was willing to gamble on himself year over year because he wanted to maximize his value.
When the Sox started extension talks with Mookie he was arb-eligible, had already made $10m the previous season and due to make $20m the following year, right? He was already in the comfort zone financially. I don't think it's the same conversation if they offer him $200m at the end of the 2014 season.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Any word on whether there was a signing bonus? If so, the threat of a lock out also likely helped the Rays here.

As for $200 v $350M, it really only matters if you're looking to build a business empire, become an owner in your 40s, etc. And it's probably hard for a 20 yo baseball player (or any 20 yo, really) to think that strategically far ahead.
 

Imbricus

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Just came here to see how posters were interpreting this ... a major slam-dunk for the Rays indeed. Baseball's No. 1 prospect, already raking in the major leagues at age 20, locked up for 12 years. Though the lead story in ESPN seems laughably off base with this teaser: "Wander Franco's new deal is neither team- nor player-friendly -- it's a win for everyone involved."

If that's true, it's a "WIN!" for Tampa Bay and a "win?" for Wander.
 

VORP Speed

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Further details from Topkin:

The team confirmed Franco is guaranteed $182 million over the 11 years, and that the deal, with the 2033 option and incentives, can max out at $223 million.
Based on multiple reports, some of the details include a $5 million signing bonus, a $25 million salary for the 12th year option, escalator/incentive clauses tied to MVP vote finishes, and a $3 million bonus if Franco is traded since he does not get a no-trade clause.
 

Marciano490

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Lovely diamond Cartier watch, nice to see he’s enjoying his new financial flexibility.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Interesting. If he can give them 5-6 good innings on a consistent basis it could be huge.
They're really banking on his having fully recovered from the shoulder injury that took him out for half the season.

Pre-injury: 10 starts, 53 innings, 3.09 ERA, 3.79 FIP, .627 OPS against
Post-injury: 6 starts, 26 innings, 5.40 ERA, 3.96 FIP, .842 OPS against

Their 2022 version of Rich Hill maybe?
 

NYCSox

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SSS and all but that’s not a material FIP variance before and after. I’d probably take a chance with him over Wacha.