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Tampa Bay Rays
2008-04-04 11:54
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Tampa Bay Rays

2007 Record: 66-96 (.407)
2007 Pythagorean Record: 66-96 (.407)

Manager: Joe Maddon
General Manager: Andrew Friedman

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): Tropicana Field (98/100)

Who's Replacing Whom:

Jason Bartlett replaces Brendan Harris
Willy Aybar replaces Ty Wigginton
Elliot Johnson replaces Josh Wilson
Erik Hinske replaces Delmon Young
Nathan Haynes replaces Elijah Dukes and Rocco Baldelli (DL)
Shawn Riggans replaces Josh Paul and Raul Casanova
Matt Garza replaces Jae Weong Seo, and the starts of Casey Fossum and J.P. Howell
Trever Miller replaces Fossum's relief innings
Howell replaces Brian Stokes in the bullpen
Troy Percival replaces Al Reyes as closer
Dan Wheeler and Scott Dohmann take over relief innings pitched by Shawn Camp, Juan Salas (minors), Jae Kuk Ryu (minors), and Grant Balfour

25-man Roster:

1B - Carlos Peña (L)
2B - Akinori Iwamura (L)
SS - Jason Bartlett (R)
3B - Willy Aybar (S)
C - Dioner Navarro (S)
RF - Eric Hinske (L)
CF - B.J. Upton (R)
LF - Carl Crawford (L)
DH - Cliff Floyd (L)

Bench:

R - Jonny Gomes (OF)
L - Nathan Haynes (OF)
S - Elliot Johnson (IF)
R - Shawn Riggans (C)

Rotation:

R - James Shields
R - Matt Garza
R - Andy Sonnanstine
R - Edwin Jackson
R - Jason Hammel

Bullpen:

R - Troy Percival
R - Al Reyes
R - Dan Wheeler
R - Gary Glover
L - Trever Miller
R - Scott Dohmann
L - J. P. Howell

15-day DL: L - Scott Kazmir, L - Kurt Birkins, R - Chad Orvella, S - Ben Zobrist (IF)
60-day DL: R - Rocco Baldelli (OF)

Lineup:

L - Akinori Iwamura (2B)
L - Carl Crawford (LF)
L - Carlos Peña (1B)
R - B.J. Upton (CF)
L - Cliff Floyd (DH)
S - Willy Aybar (3B)
L - Erik Hinske (RF)
S - Dioner Navarro (C)
R - Jason Bartlett (SS)

For years now, analysts, myself included, have been predicting the coming rise of the Devil Rays. In 2004, their second season under manager Lou Piniella, the Rays won 70 games and finished out of last place in the AL East for the first time in their history. The following year, they saw their offense improve from 13th in the 14-team league to eighth and gave the Yankees fits by jumping out to an 11-5 record in their season series with the Bombers. Despite the extra thump, they won just 67 games and returned to last place. That winter, minority partner Stuart Sternberg bought out founding owner Vince Naimoli and overhauled the front office, installing new general manager Andrew Friedman in place of the much maligned Chuck LaMarr. Accordingly, the 2006 season proved to be one of transition as Friedman traded outfield prospect Joey Gathright, lefty Mark Hendrickson, and lineup mainstays Toby Hall, Aubrey Huff, and Julio Lugo during the season. The departure of the latter two combined with disappointing seasons from 2005 discoveries Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes to drop the Rays' offense drop back down to last in the league. The team won just 61 games, the second lowest total in their dismal history. Last year, the Rays again saw their offense jump up to eighth, but they again finished last, this time with just 66 wins, due in large part to a pitching staff that was by far the worst in baseball.

If one thing characterized the perennial cellar-dwelling Devil Rays it was bad pitching. The only season in which Tampa Bay has posted a team ERA below 5.00 was its inaugural season of 1998, when its rotation was led by Rolando Arrojo and Tony Saunders and its most effective reliever was Albie Lopez. Friedman set about to change that by trading utility man Ty Wigginton for Astros reliever Dan Wheeler at last year's trading deadline, then pulling off a blockbuster over the winter that sent Rookie of the Year runner-up Delmon Young and spare parts to the Twins in exchange for emerging right-hander Matt Garza, double-A pitching prospect Eduardo Morlan, and superb defensive shortstop Jason Bartlett. Those pitching upgrades coincide with the Rays' rebranding from Devils of the deep to beams of light from the heavens and have signaled to many that the club is about to make their long-awaited leap into contention.

Most famously, Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA projected the Rays to finish third in the East with 88 wins. That projection expects the Rays to allow the fewest runs in the American League and 1.4 fewer runs per game over the course of the season than a year ago. Some of that has to do with the arrival of Garza and the continued maturation of Kazmir, Shields, and even back-of-the-rotation arms such as Andy Sonnanstine, who starts tonight against Ian Kennedy, and Edwin Jackson, but a lot of it has to do with an improvement in team defense expected by the arrival of Bartlett, the shift of third baseman Akinori Iwamura to second base in place of a motley crew of stone gloves from a year ago (Upton, Wigginton, Brendan Harris, Josh Wilson), a regression to average by catcher Dioner Navarro after a poor season behind the plate, and a couple of other changes that may not pan out quite as expected.

One of those anticipated changes was the installation of top prospect Evan Longoria at third base. The move of Iwamura to the keystone seemed predicated on the assumption that Longoria, who hit .299/.402/.520 between double- and triple-A last year, would open the season as the new-look Rays' third baseman. Longoria hit .262/.407/.595 this spring, but was inexplicably farmed out to Durham at the end of March. In Longoria's place is Willy Aybar, a poor fielder who sat out all of last year while rehabbing a wrist injury and his recreational addictions.

Similarly, PECOTA expected Rocco Baldelli to absorb a quarter of the playing time in right field, during which he would have been the team's best defensive outfielder. Unfortunately, Baldelli, who missed most of last year with chronic hamstring issues, may not play at all this year as he was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder this spring. The Rays themselves were hoping Baldelli would be their full-time right fielder this spring, thus allowing righty slugger Jonny Gomes to form a designated-hitter platoon with veteran lefty Cliff Floyd. Baldelli's illness thus has had a cascade effect upon the Rays' roster, leaving right field in the defensively inferior hands of Gomes, four-corner sub Eric Hinske, and late-March waiver pick-up Nathan Haynes. It also will likely force the injury-prone and lefty-susceptible Floyd to play every day as Gomes is needed to spell Hinske against lefties (Hinske career v. LHP: .225/.295/.377).

To a certain degree, it seems the Rays' bubble has burst. A year ago their outfield prospects were five deep with Carl Crawford (then 25) well-established in left field, Rocco Baldelli (also 25) looking to build off his comeback year in center in 2006, 21-year-old Delmon Young installed in right, troubled 23-year-old Elijah Dukes attempting to right his ship and initially succeeding by homering in his first two major league games (both at Yankee Stadium), and 22-year-old B.J. Upton likely to shift into the pastures as Longoria, shortstop prospect Reid Brignac, and Upton's own dismal defense squeezed him out of the infield. Between then and now, Dukes' emotional problems got him banished to Washington (where he's once again on the DL), Baldelli's frailty became career threatening, and Young was shipped to Minnesota, leaving the Rays with a hole in a once over-crowded outfield.

Most likely this is simply another period of transition as the 24-year-old Garza works to establish himself alongside lefty Scott Kazmir (also 24) and righty James Shields (26) to give the Rays the best trio of starters their brief existence, prospects from Longoria and Brignac to 2007 top pick and potential ace David Price continue to fight their way toward the majors, and established starters such as Upton and catcher Dioner Navarro attempt to mature on the job. The rate at which each of those things happen will determine the rate of the Rays' improvement. Heck, by the All-Star break, this team could have Longoria and any of a handful of pitching prospects in place, Garza, Upton and company could be thriving, and the Rays could be well on their way to that 88-win projection, but given their bad luck and self-defeating maneuvers such as the demotion of Longoria, I just don't see it happening.

While the Rays' have made incremental improvements in their pitching and defense, their offense should break even as Carlos Peña regresses from his monster breakout season of a year ago. The result is likely something resembling a well-balanced 75-win team, which is a nice step up from a duck-and-cover 67-win team, but it's not about to change the complexion of the division. At least not this season.

Comments (198)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-04 15:29:12
1.   rilkefan
Fascinating write-up as always - these are one of the highlights of following the season for me. Thanks.
2008-04-04 15:36:07
2.   dianagramr
Melky out tonight tomorrow (serving suspension), Duncan out Sunday Monday (serving suspension).

Girardi not on bench ..... flu.

2008-04-04 15:40:11
3.   bobtaco
Can someone in the Tri-state area look out the window and tell us West Coasters if there is going to be a game tonight.
2008-04-04 15:59:27
4.   Jeb
ah say ah say, could Y'all please tell us southern folk if'n its rainin' cats and dogs up yonder or if the weather is more tolerable?
2008-04-04 16:03:29
5.   bobtaco
I hear the dulcet tones of Michael Kay, so it looks like their is going to be baseball tonight.
2008-04-04 16:08:50
6.   underdog
Sorry if this is a dumb question, but {in Seinfeld voice} just what IS the deal with the Rays removing "Devil" from their name this season? Was that a move made purely to appease the non-Satan-worshipping fans out there, i.e., religious groups, or was there some other equally dumb reasoning behind it? I guess it's better to have a shorter name, so maybe it's as simple as that. And "Manta Rays" aren't as dangerous an animal.
2008-04-04 16:14:00
7.   weeping for brunnhilde
Shaky throw to second by Jason, but they got the out.
2008-04-04 16:15:41
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
6 I seem to recall it did indeed have something to do with Evangelical Christian groups, but it may have been a joke.

I don't know.

2008-04-04 16:18:19
9.   weeping for brunnhilde
Wow!

Check out that positioning by Derek!

Nice break.

2008-04-04 16:20:16
10.   Yankees Brasil
Kennedy needs to get ahead of some people or it's gonna be a long night.
2008-04-04 16:20:33
11.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Cliff Floyd??
2008-04-04 16:21:33
12.   yankeemonkey
Looks like we might have to take Pasta Diving Jeter off the menu for a while...
2008-04-04 16:22:37
13.   Zack
This has the potential to be an interminable game...
2008-04-04 16:23:05
14.   Zack
That was an amazing change to Floyd
2008-04-04 16:23:25
15.   Yankees Brasil
At this pace, Kennedy is not gonna make it to the 5th inning.
2008-04-04 16:24:21
16.   yankeemonkey
Kennedy not getting many calls...
2008-04-04 16:25:23
17.   dianagramr
6

UV Rays perhaps?

2008-04-04 16:25:24
18.   Yankees Brasil
He just embarassed the guy with a change up and he goes with a fastball? Right down the middle? Crazy choice.
2008-04-04 16:26:28
19.   yankeemonkey
Methinks the 'pen will get a workout tonight. Good thing most everyone is fresh.
2008-04-04 16:26:52
20.   Zack
Woah, Dioner is a slow kid
2008-04-04 16:33:52
21.   Yankees Brasil
No slow start for Bobby this season!
2008-04-04 16:36:40
22.   Yankees Brasil
Ugly AB there for A-Rod, missed a fat one.
2008-04-04 16:38:01
23.   weeping for brunnhilde
17 groan
2008-04-04 16:40:07
24.   OldYanksFan
It seems Kennedy takes an inning or 2 to get on track?
2008-04-04 16:41:45
25.   ny2ca2dc
24 you may be right, he's not locked in yet it seems, but much nicer.

I hope we see albaladejo today, it's his last day on the roster.

2008-04-04 16:42:46
26.   Zack
Nice 2nd inning there!
2008-04-04 16:45:23
27.   OldYanksFan
25 Seems he had this problem all during ST... yes?
2008-04-04 16:49:08
28.   Yankees Brasil
Yankees bats = zzzzZZZzzz
2008-04-04 16:52:56
29.   weeping for brunnhilde
Robinson.

Cano.

My God.

2008-04-04 16:55:05
30.   Yankees Brasil
Ian has a great changeup going so far.
2008-04-04 16:57:56
31.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Have to go to a wedding, at this pace I imagine it will still be in the 6th inning by the time I get back this evening...Kennedy not very impressive tonight
2008-04-04 16:58:25
32.   Just fair
Throw EFFFFING strikes.
2008-04-04 16:59:39
33.   dianagramr
Hey Flaherty .... nobody is really successful pitching at 2-0, 3-0 ....
2008-04-04 17:01:56
34.   Yankees Brasil
This is the first control artist who can't throw a strike to save his life. When you can't locate your 88mph fastball, it's just too easy to the opponents.
2008-04-04 17:01:59
35.   OldYanksFan
Wow... Upton is Fast. Bad luck for Kennedy. They aren't exactly hitting him hard.
2008-04-04 17:02:13
36.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
33 Flaherty talks a bit too much...Singleton is great though
2008-04-04 17:02:19
37.   ny2ca2dc
30 But no command with anything else...

29 Yes, in fact Robinson Cano IS a god.

and Upton can burn, damn. Ugly for Ian. (include std disclaimer re: rookie pitchers & patience)

2008-04-04 17:03:04
38.   ny2ca2dc
Alby sighting!
2008-04-04 17:03:17
39.   Yankees Brasil
35 They don't need to, he can't throw strikes.
2008-04-04 17:04:47
40.   Yankees Brasil
Anybody warming up?
2008-04-04 17:05:27
41.   Mattpat11
This could be going better.
2008-04-04 17:06:48
42.   weeping for brunnhilde
Stop squeezing him!!!

Fuck.

2008-04-04 17:07:18
43.   weeping for brunnhilde
Fucking ump.

Squeezed him to death, forced him to throw a cookie.

Fucking ump.

2008-04-04 17:07:26
44.   Mattpat11
ohforchristsakes
2008-04-04 17:08:23
45.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Ugh...hope there's some champagne at the early wedding am heading too...that was painful to watch, fat-pitch right over the plate!
2008-04-04 17:08:42
46.   Zack
Oh course, Kennedy's crap start not withstanding, it sure would be nice if this offense starting hitting
2008-04-04 17:09:04
47.   Yankees Brasil
Ump is crazy, that was clearly a strike.
2008-04-04 17:09:07
48.   ny2ca2dc
what's that, only one hit before the base clearer? 3 walks in the inning (err, in the .1 inning). Killing me kid.
2008-04-04 17:09:16
49.   Mattpat11
43 Squeezing him? Maybe on one or two pitches. He was just throwing ball after ball after ball out there.
2008-04-04 17:11:11
50.   Yankees Brasil
Oh well, we will get'em tomorrow.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-04-04 17:12:19
51.   yankeemonkey
Yeah, this is...suboptimal.
2008-04-04 17:12:23
52.   weeping for brunnhilde
43 I know. I was just talking about that ab.

I've not been watching til now, kids running around and whatnot.

2008-04-04 17:13:10
53.   Mattpat11
It would be nice if someone on the team could hit frigging Sonnanstine.
2008-04-04 17:14:00
54.   Mattpat11
I'd rather lose games like this than 3-0.
2008-04-04 17:14:20
55.   OldYanksFan
Frankly, at this point, I would give Kennedy one or 2 more batters to see if he could work his way out of it.

I don't want to give up on this game, but part of a rookie's education sometimes calls for giving them a little extra rope.

2008-04-04 17:17:14
56.   Yankees Brasil
It's one thing to get shutout by Halladay and Burnett, but Andy Sonnanstine, comon now. This game sucks
2008-04-04 17:17:20
57.   Mattpat11
55 Fast forward
2008-04-04 17:17:41
58.   Zack
How old is that catcher, 12?
2008-04-04 17:18:04
59.   Mattpat11
MATSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUI!
2008-04-04 17:18:10
60.   weeping for brunnhilde
Thank you, Hideki.
2008-04-04 17:18:46
61.   Yankees Brasil
Oh, thank you Hideki!
2008-04-04 17:18:58
62.   weeping for brunnhilde
58 No kidding!

I was just making jokes in my head about bedtime, do his parents know where he is, etc.

Molina!

My man Molina!

I love this guy!

2008-04-04 17:20:09
63.   Mattpat11
I know I'm in the minority, but I really like Molina.
2008-04-04 17:20:18
64.   ny2ca2dc
dudes, we have an awesome BUC. I know reality will set in later, but damn Molina has been great! (for a BUC)
2008-04-04 17:20:33
65.   weeping for brunnhilde
63 What's not to like?
2008-04-04 17:20:58
66.   Yankees Brasil
Why is Damon taking strikes right down the middle?
2008-04-04 17:21:09
67.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh, Johnny.

Lame.

Rally-killer.

2008-04-04 17:21:15
68.   Mattpat11
Flash is right here. It may be blasphemous to some here, but we can't just keep taking pitches against this guy and falling behind 0-2.
2008-04-04 17:21:42
69.   weeping for brunnhilde
Come on, Derek!

Basehit gets us back in the ballgame.

2008-04-04 17:22:17
70.   Mattpat11
69 Like that?
2008-04-04 17:22:37
71.   weeping for brunnhilde
YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

Whooooooo haaaaaa!!!

Thank you, Derek!!

Belted that sucker!

2008-04-04 17:22:38
72.   Zack
That was a BOMB by Derek but Upton must have been playing really shallow!
2008-04-04 17:23:01
73.   weeping for brunnhilde
Keep it going, Bobby!
2008-04-04 17:23:07
74.   Yankees Brasil
68 Word, guy throws one right down the middle and we are just looking at it. He doesn't have great stuff, he doesn't paint the corners, what's the mistery there?

Right on, Jetes!

2008-04-04 17:23:39
75.   ny2ca2dc
bats = coming to life. ARod is coming, trust in ARod.

Who knew Jeter could drive the ball like that still?!!

2008-04-04 17:23:50
76.   weeping for brunnhilde
We have to get this run in, needless to say.

Come on, Bobby, do your thing!

2008-04-04 17:26:23
77.   weeping for brunnhilde
Nice 2-2 swing there...
2008-04-04 17:26:51
78.   weeping for brunnhilde
Bravo, Bobby!

Bravo!

No more, no less than was necessary.

Makes me happy.

2008-04-04 17:28:22
79.   ny2ca2dc
OK, lets go ARod. Right back into this thing. Whatdaya think, Alby for another inning, then Ohly for 2, then go from there?
2008-04-04 17:28:54
80.   Zack
Giambi showing that opposite field power!
2008-04-04 17:29:24
81.   Zack
Kinda think CC should have caught that though...
2008-04-04 17:29:34
82.   ny2ca2dc
holy fucking moly!
2008-04-04 17:30:33
83.   Mattpat11
81 Definitely should have.
2008-04-04 17:31:26
84.   ny2ca2dc
81 83 I duno if many other LFers get in the balls time zone
2008-04-04 17:32:21
85.   Mattpat11
Why is Howdy Doody catching for the Rays?
2008-04-04 17:32:52
86.   ny2ca2dc
85 Doogy Howser?
2008-04-04 17:33:05
87.   Mattpat11
84 Probably not, but if he gets there, he needs to catch it.

Not tha I'm arguing...

2008-04-04 17:34:35
88.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh, Derek.
2008-04-04 17:34:49
89.   Just fair
Cold weather is to Robinson Cano as Curve Balls are to Pedro Cerrano's belt. Eeesh. E-6
2008-04-04 17:35:09
90.   OldYanksFan
84 He cut too much across and not enough back. Ball went a few inches over his glove. A HR in any other park in MLB.

Iamgine... in the original Stadium, that ball would have been 66 feet from the wall.

2008-04-04 17:36:15
91.   ny2ca2dc
Alby ain't that chubs. Not as bad as Britton.
2008-04-04 17:41:10
92.   Just fair
There's Mlolina again. Sweet.
2008-04-04 17:41:48
93.   cult of basebaal
nice alby!
2008-04-04 17:41:51
94.   ny2ca2dc
third CS of the season for Jose?!
2008-04-04 17:42:46
95.   Just fair
Mlolina is the youngest of the 17 Molina bros. who are catchers.
2008-04-04 17:43:11
96.   cult of basebaal
63 ... no minority at all ... molina ain't no nieves, that's for sure ...
2008-04-04 17:49:56
97.   Zack
So, on the small chance Alby gives, say, 4 innings of 1 run ball, does that make the case for him? I know he will be sent down, but honestly, don't you all already sort of trust him more than Farnswhacker...

Ahh, good to see a clip of the "young phenom" Ellsbury messing it up in the field...

2008-04-04 17:52:31
98.   Mattpat11
See, this is why its unwise to have a Jeff Karstens as the long man.
2008-04-04 17:53:54
99.   Eirias
97 It does seem that Albaladejo would like to stay up, doesn't it.
2008-04-04 17:55:03
100.   Mattpat11
99 I'd dump Bruney
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-04-04 17:55:03
101.   Eirias
So having not seen the game until now, was Kennedy as bad as his line appears? Be honest.
2008-04-04 17:57:44
102.   Zack
100 I'd Dump Farnsworth, but I don't think that's an option. Sadly.
2008-04-04 17:59:43
103.   cult of basebaal
98 i think i'd rather have iggy on the roster than karstens ... i don't get the yanks' continuing to favor him over ... well, anybody
2008-04-04 18:02:32
104.   Mattpat11
101 worse
2008-04-04 18:03:09
105.   Zack
I woulda gone one more with Alby
2008-04-04 18:04:04
106.   Zack
Wow was that an ugly root by Hideki
2008-04-04 18:04:23
107.   cult of basebaal
sweeet! ollie is in ... 1st pitch 95mph ... we could have one hell of a bullpen by the end of the year ...
2008-04-04 18:04:32
108.   Mattpat11
103 No.
2008-04-04 18:04:35
109.   Zack
Or rather, route...
2008-04-04 18:06:43
110.   cult of basebaal
108 just cause i know you love him so, mattpat
2008-04-04 18:06:54
111.   OldYanksFan
106 As in Root 66? He is indeed one of the least 'smooth' fielders you will see. I'm for trading him and getting Bonds to DH. We would actually save money on that deal.
2008-04-04 18:08:48
112.   Yankees Brasil
111 That thought has crossed my mind, and I think it would be a heck of a deal. Not sure it's gonna happen though.
2008-04-04 18:09:21
113.   Mattpat11
111 I'm afraid they'd trade him to get a mediocre pitcher, so no.
2008-04-04 18:09:53
114.   Mattpat11
108 We don't use the I word in polite company.
2008-04-04 18:09:54
115.   monkeypants
111 They would lose money, because the Yankees would have to eat just about all of Matsui's salary to move him. You do have a man crush on Bonds.
2008-04-04 18:10:26
116.   Zack
113 Oh you...
2008-04-04 18:10:59
117.   Zack
Sure would be nice to get another run off this guy
2008-04-04 18:11:26
118.   Zack
Wow was that a crappy rebound
2008-04-04 18:12:36
119.   Mattpat11
116 I do not want Noah Lowry on this team.
2008-04-04 18:12:58
120.   Yankees Brasil
It was just that one inning of offense and we went back to hibernation.
2008-04-04 18:14:51
121.   Yankees Brasil
I know it's just 4 games, but Cano looks bad.
2008-04-04 18:15:29
122.   Zack
Surprised at the one inning for Ohlie...But I guess with three lefties coming up, it works...
2008-04-04 18:16:20
123.   Mattpat11
The strikezone is odd tonight.
2008-04-04 18:16:47
124.   monkeypants
I'm "watching" this on Gamecast. Is the offense as somnolent in real time as it appears to me?
2008-04-04 18:18:30
125.   cult of basebaal
114 whatever you do, don't say his name 3 times while looking in the mirror ... or he materializes on the mound at yankee stadium wearing his soul-killing visor-shades
2008-04-04 18:19:26
126.   Just fair
Jeter owes Giambi at least 3 steak dinners already this year.
2008-04-04 18:19:27
127.   Zack
25 The horror. The horror...
2008-04-04 18:19:48
128.   Zack
127 Errr, time warp...126 that should be
2008-04-04 18:20:43
129.   Mattpat11
125 He kills my soul shadeless.
2008-04-04 18:22:16
130.   Mattpat11
Was that a strike?
2008-04-04 18:23:29
131.   yankeemonkey
130 Who cares? About time we got some of those calls swinging our way...
2008-04-04 18:25:43
132.   Just fair
The old school Blue Jays jerseys are awesome.
2008-04-04 18:27:25
133.   OldYanksFan
STRETCH Giambi!
115 I disagree. Matsui would have 1.5 years left at $13m per. You find me a FA deal that's better then that. Who plays left for the Dodgers? Giants? I'm sure there would be interest.

Man crush on Bonds? Hmmmmm... maybe it's just that he is the most exciting player in baseball when he has a bat in his hands. PLUS, even though he would be cheap... even though ANYONE can have him now, everyone would piss and moan about the big, bad, rich Yankees. Red Sox fans would go out of their minds. Beckett against Bonds? HA!

2008-04-04 18:27:56
134.   monkeypants
132 Except, why are they wearing their old school AWAY uniform for their home opener?
2008-04-04 18:28:23
135.   weeping for brunnhilde
132 I did a double-take when I saw those.

Yes, they are.

2008-04-04 18:28:37
136.   OldYanksFan
By the by... it's almost as if Jeter and Co. and trying to injure Giambi's hammy. The guy is horizontal as much as he is vertical.
2008-04-04 18:28:57
137.   Yankees Brasil
Way to put up a fight guys, nice ABs.
2008-04-04 18:30:08
138.   cult of basebaal
129 still, i can only picture him with those shades on ... like the boss with the reflective aviator sunglasses in Cool Hand Luke ...
2008-04-04 18:30:38
139.   monkeypants
133 Maybe you're right about Matsui, but everyone would know that the Yanks had another deal in the works if they tried to move him. Plus, he can't really play defense, so how much interest from an NL team? I think the Yankees would have to eat most of that contract to dump him.

Yes, Bonds is amazing. But you do seem to post about him a lot.

2008-04-04 18:30:44
140.   Mattpat11
Hawkins round two
2008-04-04 18:31:58
141.   Mattpat11
139 And again, I don't want to trade Matsui to get a reliever or a fifth starter.
2008-04-04 18:32:41
142.   Just fair
Make that 4 steak dinners for Giambi, and one for the ump, too.
2008-04-04 18:35:22
143.   Mattpat11
I hate LaTroy Hawkins.

I've yet to have someone explain the point of this to my satisfaction.

2008-04-04 18:37:14
144.   OldYanksFan
141 I'd trade him for prospects so the salary we save on Mats we put right to Bonds.
Actually, I have little faith in JD this year, but he can field a lot better then Mats. I think AJax in 2009 might be close to as productive as either... considering speed and defense also.
2008-04-04 18:37:49
145.   cult of basebaal
143 i think you'd make a good Sith, mattpat!

filled with hate, often you are!

;)

2008-04-04 18:37:59
146.   Yankees Brasil
Thank god he only got a 1 year deal, it's only going to be 1 year of pain.
2008-04-04 18:38:07
147.   OldYanksFan
Mr. Liability-san.
2008-04-04 18:39:02
148.   Mattpat11
145 There's really no one in the system that can match this production?
2008-04-04 18:39:06
149.   yankeemonkey
Thank god for the blind ump.
2008-04-04 18:39:42
150.   Yankees Brasil
Hits and hits and hits, that's all we get out of Hawkins.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-04-04 18:40:10
151.   Mattpat11
150 At least he doesn't walk people.
2008-04-04 18:40:44
152.   yankeemonkey
1 year deal, 3.75mil. If he gets to be really awful, they'll just cut him and no big loss.
2008-04-04 18:40:57
153.   cult of basebaal
148 i think that "he who shall not be named" could "match" this performance, easily
2008-04-04 18:41:15
154.   Yankees Brasil
151 He puts a lot of people on anyways.
2008-04-04 18:41:26
155.   Mattpat11
Yeah, we couldn't pass up this bargain.
2008-04-04 18:41:53
156.   Mattpat11
154 Yeah.

Oh Christ, Farnsworth.

2008-04-04 18:42:12
157.   Mattpat11
153 Pavano?
2008-04-04 18:42:49
158.   OldYanksFan
Well... as least in swapping Viz for LaTroy, we got a draft pick, didn't we?

Ballgame. OMG! We can only hope he doesn't last long. Girardi won't have a long leash for this crap with so many decent kids on the farm.

2008-04-04 18:42:50
159.   Mattpat11
152 They won't. He'll be on this team until the frigging rapture.
2008-04-04 18:44:21
160.   yankeemonkey
Girardi sure picked a good day to take sick time.
2008-04-04 18:45:02
161.   cult of basebaal
157 nah, mister glass would have pulled a hammy or ruptured a spleen or come down with ill humours of the blood coming in from the bullpen
2008-04-04 18:45:36
162.   cult of basebaal
mr hawkins, the glue factory is calling ... blech
2008-04-04 18:45:37
163.   Yankees Brasil
159 That's the scary part, we'll probably end the year with those same scrubs, Farnsworth, Hawkins...
2008-04-04 18:45:53
164.   Mattpat11
161 So which unspeakable player are we referring to?
2008-04-04 18:46:02
165.   OldYanksFan
Is he throwing batting practice?
2008-04-04 18:46:46
166.   Mattpat11
163 Of course we will. We've been pretending that Kyle Farnsworth doesn't suck for two years now. I can't imagine it will be any different.
2008-04-04 18:47:11
167.   Mattpat11
165 He's pitching like LaTroy Hawkins.
2008-04-04 18:47:21
168.   Yankees Brasil
Just leave him there. The game's over anyways, might as well leave him there to finish this mess.
2008-04-04 18:47:44
169.   Mattpat11
So remind me again why we just absolutely had to sign this guy again?
2008-04-04 18:47:51
170.   OldYanksFan
Seeing JD and Matsui in the same OF really makes me appreciate Melky.
2008-04-04 18:48:35
171.   cult of basebaal
164 i'm afraid i can't, i was instructed not to use his name in polite company

wait ... farnswacker is coming into the game, in the middle of an inning ... i thought he couldn't do that or his head would explode or something ... truly, this is a new and wonderous world

2008-04-04 18:50:24
172.   Mattpat11
171 HIM? paying 52 million for this would be more infuriating.
2008-04-04 18:51:14
173.   Mattpat11
Kyle Farnsworth....

There are no words.

2008-04-04 18:51:55
174.   Yankees Brasil
Why can't we cut them both tomorrow?
2008-04-04 18:52:00
175.   monkeypants
169 Hard to explain, really. Since he has not been perfect in the two appearances we have seen him, that clearly signals that the signing was a mistake.

I forgot, do minor leaguers get more or fewer than two appearances before we determine that they are failures too?

2008-04-04 18:52:19
176.   cult of basebaal
172 well, you asked who could match this performance ... and if there's anyone i would bet could match a line of .2ips 6hits and 6ers ... it's HIM
2008-04-04 18:52:58
177.   OldYanksFan
While it is NOT totally his fault, a Matsui catch would have saved SIX runs. That's why defense is underrated. Taking away a hit doesn't just save one run, but can end a potential rally.
2008-04-04 18:55:16
178.   cult of basebaal
well, thanks to latroy and farnswacker ... i can now safely embark on the rest of my friday night's schedule of events ... later all
2008-04-04 18:55:49
179.   Mattpat11
175 Proven failures have a shorter leash. Or we could follow the Farnsworth Filosophy and pretend things are going well all year long.
2008-04-04 18:56:13
180.   OldYanksFan
Actually, I blame Robby Thompson.
2008-04-04 18:58:00
181.   Mattpat11
180 I blame LaTroy Hawkins.

Or whomever in the front office apparently thought they signed someone other than LaTroy Hawkins.

2008-04-04 18:58:57
182.   Yankees Brasil
177 That's why it would be good to have relievers who can actually strike somebody out every now and then.
2008-04-04 19:00:12
183.   yankeemonkey
180 I blame Torre.
2008-04-04 19:00:15
184.   Mattpat11
182 Or, and this goes against the Yankees bullpen mentality, relievers that don't allow a ton of baserunners.
2008-04-04 19:00:24
185.   Shaun P
Well, I guess I haven't missed much, hmm?
2008-04-04 19:02:46
186.   monkeypants
179 So by proven failure, you mean effective reliever the last five years? And by shorter leash you mean two appearances. Check.
2008-04-04 19:03:15
187.   Mattpat11
185 You missed LaTroy Hawkins making me eat crow.

I thought signing a career mediocrity who allows a ton of baserunners was a bad idea. I was told it was a good idea because he was so mediocre that no one would offer him a multi year deal and it was a BARGAIN to snatch him up for four million dollars.

He showed me.

2008-04-04 19:03:24
188.   OldYanksFan
185 Nope... Just Mattpat with his rose colored glasses.
2008-04-04 19:14:29
189.   Mattpat11
188 In the spirit of team unity, I've decided that I'm going to scour the major leagues to find someone to add to the bullpen that fits the Yankee philosophy (allowing baserunners).

I'm looking at a few people now, and I plan to have my choice by tomorrow. Then, if the Yankees get that guy, we all pretend together than these moves work and I won't feel left out.

2008-04-04 19:16:06
190.   Shaun P
Did anyone else hear Michael Kay mention Baseball Prospectus during the broadcast - specifically, that they projected the Rays to win 88 games? He was skeptical, but I thought he introduced BP nicely - "analysts well-respected by baseball people" or something like that.

I almost fell out of my chair. I never thought I'd see the day when Michael Kay mentioned BP on air during a Yankees game.

2008-04-04 19:17:12
191.   JeremyM
I think it was nice of Hawkins to make Kennedy feel better about his outing. Team player, all the way!
2008-04-04 19:17:22
192.   weeping for brunnhilde
190 Well, he did go to Fordham, after all.
2008-04-04 19:18:06
193.   Mattpat11
I'm looking at Gary Glover. What do you guys think? I think he has a certain Jeff Karstensy quality to him. He could fir right in.
2008-04-04 19:20:56
194.   Zack
Just got back and saw the score and who did what. Like I said earlier, don't you all trust Alby more already than Farnswhacker or Hawkins? Sheesh...
2008-04-04 19:21:53
195.   Mattpat11
194 Nonsense. Hawkins and Farnsworth were fine signings.
2008-04-04 19:25:07
196.   Shaun P
192 True. Still, it doesn't exactly fit Mr. Cliche's usual on-air schtick.

194 Beware small sample size!

But yes, given that Albaladejo throws strikes, and Ks people, and that Hawkins is a groundball pitcher who Ks almost no one, with a so-so defense at best behind him - I might trust Al'ejo more.

All things considered - Farnsworth didn't pitch too poorly. (I will now duck before Mattpat throws something - perhaps Gary Glover? - at me.)

2008-04-04 19:25:57
197.   tommyl
One game people, one game. Tomorrow Andy will dominate and all will be right with the world.

That said, Farns and Hawks, sheesh, not doing much to impress are you guys? Hey Kyle, wonder why no one wants to pitch you now?

2008-04-04 19:27:53
198.   Mattpat11
196 Farnsworth did exactly what I expected of him. Since that satisfies the Yankee brass, I will be a team player and agree.

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