View Full Version : Spring Training Preview 3/15/05: Tampa Bay Devil Rays

03-15-2005, 11:39 PM
Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Key offseason additions:
OF Danny Bautista
2B Roberto Alomar
3B Alex Gonzalez
1B Travis Lee
SP Casey Fossum
DH Josh Phelps
SP Hideo Nomo
SP Denny Neagle
AN Dave Wills

Key offseason losses:
OF Jose Cruz Jr.
1B Tino Martinez
IF Geoff Blum

General Outlook:
That's a lot of moves for not a lot of talent. I can't say I'm a big fan of anything that they did this offseason, except for the last addition. :smile: Alomar. Why? They should have given Jorge Cantu a chance to see what he can do. Gonzalez. Once again, why? Figure out what you're going to do with B.J. Upton and do something. Is he your shortstop? Third baseman? Figure it out and put him in a permanent spot. Lee could be a decent signing, but he's still a downgrade from Tino. Bautista will help with Baldelli out for a little while. I do like the idea of taking a chance on Fossum. That's a pretty low risk, high-reward type signing. Piniella will get the most out of these veterans, but they'd be better off giving a few youngsters a shot.

Possible starting lineup:
CF Carl Crawford
2B Roberto Alomar
LF Aubrey Huff
DH Josh Phelps
1B Travis Lee
RF Danny Bautista
SS Julio Lugo
3B Alex Gonzalez
C Toby Hall

Ehhh....*shudder*. Let's start at the top because it's the best part. Carl Crawford is becoming a very good player. He's becoming a good all-around player, even developing a little more power. He needs to walk more, but you gotta love his speed. He'll compete with Pods for the stolen base title. Huff gives them one very good middle-of-the-order hitter to drive in Crawford. Aside from that, their lineup is very unappealing. They need Baldelli back soon. You know, this lineup would look a lot better with Upton and Cantu as well as Baldelli. The good news is that all three of them might be in the lineup around mid-season. I'm not saying that'll make them a prolific offense, but they'll at least have a little more promise in their lineup. On the bright side, Delmon Young will be in Tampa soon enough. I'm sure Rays fans can't wait.

Possibly starting pitching rotation:
Mark Hendrickson
Dewon Brazelton
Rob Bell
Scott Kazmir
Casey Fossum

Honestly, I don't even know how to rank these guys. I doubt Piniella would put the pressure of an Opening Day start on a youngster like Brazelton or Kazmir, so my guess is that Hendrickson gets the nod. It's possible Nomo or Neagle could make this rotation. Still, regardless of who they put in there, their rotation isn't very good. The good news is that Brazelton and Kazmir will each get a year of experience under their belt. But they're both likely to struggle which doesn't help the Rays chances. The strong point is their bullpen. Baez, while shaky at times, did have a good year for them as the closer. He should perform at a similar level this year, but is likely to be moved elsewhere at some point. They still have some solid arms in Miller, Colome, Carter, and Harper. No doubt this is the strongest part of their team. Unfortunately, that doesn't say a lot for them. At least they have Dave Wills to listen to....

Overall Prediction:
4th place; 72-90

Player that will surprise:
2B - Jorge Cantu - If you haven't been able to tell yet, I think pretty highly of Cantu. I expect him to get a chance to play at some point - be it at second or third - and prove that he should have been starting all along.

Player that will disappoint:
2B Roberto Alomar - It's kinda hard to find one since most players expectations aren't high to begin with. I'm choosing Alomar because of the Cantu reasoning. I think Alomar will struggle, giving Cantu more playing time, and further proving that Alomar shouldn't have been signed.

03-15-2005, 11:55 PM
One word: Bad.

At least with LaMar at the helm, KW should be able to get Robby back at a great price.

If nothing else, it will be interesting to see Brazelton and Kazmir. I would imagine we'll start hearing the Aubrey Huff trade rumors before long, same with Lugo if he hits like he did last year in the first half. I also wonder if Crawford's name will start to come up in trade rumors. There's really no point in their keeping him since they're not going anywhere with him.

03-16-2005, 12:00 AM
This is an unusually veteran lineup. The young guns will have to get in soon enough because I don't think those veterans will do much. Especially with "Cursedy" Gonzalez at 3rd base. Outstanding preview, keep it up.

03-16-2005, 01:05 PM
Well at least Tropicana Field is nice! :redneck

Baby Fisk
03-16-2005, 01:12 PM
Alomar is flat out lazy. He will put on a uniform and walk around between 1B and 2B as long as someone is fool enough to pay him to.

03-16-2005, 07:49 PM
That team is just plain bad. Fortunately they have some good, young players to build around (i.e. Baldelli, Kazmir, Crawford). I hope that Alomar isn't a disappointment this year because that means someone actually expected something out of him in the first place.

03-16-2005, 08:58 PM
This team absolutely puzzles me. When you think they're getting close to the end of the tunnel(3rd place in the AL east after the Yankees/Red Sox) they do the ol' 1 step forward 2 steps backwards. They had solid, younger players in Cantu and Upton but then they signed garbage veterans such as Alomar and Gonzalez. Oh well, I could care less about them because I can't stand the Rays after driving 1200 miles to see Koch implode versus them in 2003!
As always, keep up the good work commish. :smile:

03-28-2005, 04:04 PM
Yes, the Rays have a handful of talented young players. But Tampa ranked 29th in baseball in attendance last season - only the now-defunct Expos were worse - and will almost certainly finish 30th this year. Of the approximate 1.275 million fans whom the Devil Rays attracted last year, 484,237 came to games in which the Rays faced the Red Sox or New York Yankees

Do the math. In just 18 of Tampa's 81 home dates - that's 22 percent of the home schedule - games against the Red Sox and Yankees accounted for 38 percent of the Rays' attendance. And so the same teams killing Tampa's spirit on the field are largely responsible for saving the Devil Rays at the gate.

There's no Rays of hope: TB still a laughingstock (http://redsox.bostonherald.com/redSox/view.bg?articleid=75266&format=text)