Category: Tampa Bay Rays

Colby Rasmus Completes Agreement with Tampa Bay Rays

Baseball’s off season continues, and this week we learned some news affecting the Tampa Bay Rays. With a few months to go before spring training, the team has begun changing its line-up, and more changes are likely on the way. Free agent Colby Rasmus has signed on with the Rays.

 

USA Today reports that the 30-year-old Rasmus, who spent the last two seasons with the Houston Astros, has reached an agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays. Rasmus will provide depth in the outfield, which was sorely needed last year.

 

Other players in the Rays line-up might be wondering what other changes will occur in the next few months. The team needs to make room for Rasmus on its line-up, so someone will have to go. The Rasmus deal could be the first of many changes, but that remains to be seen. Some off-season reshuffling of the line-up was expected, and now it has begun.

 

No one expects Rasmus to emerge as a team leader in Tampa Bay. Adding him to the line-up, however, is an intelligent decision by management, and the addition shows a willingness to address weaknesses in the team’s roster. He could easily emerge as a solid outfielder, and that is clearly the outcome that the team’s management expects.

 

The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, so it is unclear hos much Rasmus will cost the Rays. As an eight-year veteran with a decent record, Rasmus is likely relieved to have the deal inked. Now he can focus on preparing for the upcoming season and learning the ins and outs of Tampa Bay’s system. Here’s hoping that he is just what the Rays need in order to give fans a fantastic season.

 

Tampa Bay Rays Trade Drew Smyly to Seattle

The wheels continue to turn in the front office of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are determined to rebound from what was a very disappointing 2016 season that saw the team finish in last place. The recent signing of Colby Rasmus will certainly help the production of the team in the outfield. However, the Rays did not stop there. General manager Erik Neander is well aware that there are many holes to fill on this team and not much time to fill them before spring training begins. This is why Neander decided to pull the trigger on a trade that sent dependable left-handed starter Drew Smyly to the Seattle Mariners. In return, the Rays will receive outfielder Mallex Smith. There were also two prospects included in the deal. Ryan Yarbrough and Carlos Vargas are both very highly touted and should receive a long look in spring training with a real opportunity to make the team.

 

There is no question that the 2016 season was a huge disappointment for Smyly. The good news is that he was able to pitch a career high 175 innings. The bad news is that his ERA was a career worst 4.88. Smyly could never get into a consistent rhythm during the entire season. He had the bad habit of giving up key hits in critical situations that often cause him to fall behind. Command and pitch selection were frequently cited by members of the media as reasons for Smyly’s struggles. Smyly was healthy and no injuries compromised his performance during 2016. Neander believes that the trade is good for both teams. Smyly will get a fresh start on a team that is expected to contend. The Rays will get a speedy outfielder who fills a need and is expected to contribute greatly during 2017.

The Tampa Bay Rays are grinding to improve upon their offense

The Tampa Bay Rays struggled through a challenging season yet have many options available to improve upon their ball club. The 66 wins in 2016 were the fewest for the franchise since the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Immediate needs include upgrading the team’s offensive production which averaged only 4.15 runs per game or 24th of 30 teams. The stock pile of starting pitchers accrued may assist in gaining a bat or two in order to get the Rays back in line with league average.

 

Tampa Bay has started the offseason by adding catcher Wilson Ramos, formerly of the Washington Nationals, to a two year deal worth 12.5 million dollars. Ramos completed his best season in 2016 producing 22 home runs, 80 runs batted in, and batting .307. He earned a Silver Slugger award and participated in his first All-Star game. Ramos will improve upon the Ray’s offense as long as his health permits. He ended the 2016 regular season with a week left by tearing his ACL and meniscus. The Rays are hopeful that Ramos will be ready to take on the everyday catching duties by May 2017 http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/tampa-bay-rays. Insurance was added for the start of the year when the Rays signed Michael McKenry to a minor league contract worth $900 thousand. McKenry, Luke Maile, and Curt Casali will serve as the Rays catchers until Ramos is ready for action.

 

There have been many relievers moving on to different teams as of late including Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman, and Mark Melancon. Many teams are looking at Ray’s closer Alex Colome who turned in a career year performance. The 27 year old Colome secured 37 saves with a 1.91 earned run average, 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings, and logging 56 innings of work. The Rays are hopeful that they can secure a deal with the Washington Nationals who lost Mark Melancon to the San Francisco Giants. The Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds are seeking starting pitching and all signs point to the Rays being willing to rid of any of their five starters at the right price. An interested team would have to give up quite a bit to obtain Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi since their present contracts are team friendly for the next four years. Yet the Rays seem willing to deal Drew Smyly, Alex Cobb, and Erasmo Ramirez in order to continue to upgrade the offense.

 

 

Chris Archer Continues His Bright Future with the WBC Challenge

This last Friday, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher, Chris Archer, made the fan-based grapevine (via the Internet) with rumors of him representing the USA in the World Baseball Classic. In relation, the World Baseball Classic is an eleven-year-old league with 16 teams. So far, Japan has dominated the league with two titles. Conversely, the Dominican Republic competes for their first and Archer is looking like the prime candidate for another win within the WBC.

 

Chris Archer and the MLB

 

Chris Archer is listed as a baseball pitcher with adequate measures – 6′ 3″ at 200 lb. According to sources, his two-seam fastball can reach 93 – 99 mph, while his secondary ace-in-the-hole, slider, goes up to 87 – 92 mph.

Initially, Chris Archer was first drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft. Later in his career, Archer was traded in the John Gaub and Jeff Stevens account for the Chicago Cubs; Mark DeRosa was released. Finally after a star performance, defeating the Cuban Nation Baseball team, Archer remained impressive to add to any professional baseball team’s roster. As a result, the Chicago Cubs finally traded Archer to the Tampa Bay Rays, along with a few other valuable players of the league.

 

Chris Archer and His Bright Future

Archer continues to excel at his game. Before, during his strong 2015 season, thousands of baseball fans and writers hoped for Archer to win the Cy Young Award. However, Archer’s career energy paused because of the opening of 2016 where the numbers posted with a 4.66 ERA during the fist part of the season. Fortunately, he was able to chop down to 3.25 ERA. Ultimately, this prospective award nominee finished the complete 2016 season with a 4.02 ERA and 233 strikeouts (tied for second in the AL).

 

Chris Archer was born in Raleigh, NC on September 26, 1988

Win-loss record: 41 – 51

Earned Run Average: 3.51

Strikeouts: 795

WHIP: 1.20

 

 The World Baseball Classic

In relation, the World Baseball Classic is an eleven-year-old league with 16 teams. So far, Japan has dominated the league with two titles. Conversely, the Dominican Republic competes for their first and Archer is looking like the prime candidate for another win within the WBC.

 

 

 

Wilson Defensive Award Went To Rays Kevin Kiermaier

This year the Wilson Defensive Award was won by Kevin Kiermaier, the celebrated centerfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. Kiermaier was presented the Gold Glove award in New York City. On top of his fame based on his centerfield power plays, Wilson awarded him by choosing him as their lead defensive centerfielder. This was his second Gold Glove, but not quite the Platinum Glove he had hoped for. That award went to Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor for the SS and Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo for the NL.

 

The award came from Wilson to Kiermaier, based on both the traditional statistics and metrics on his defense, with the addition of advanced computing data. The number crunching was performed by the Inside Edge talent scouts. Every year Wilson gives awards out for each player position and defensive players. The overall defensive award went to Mookie Betts from Boston. The Defensive Team of the Year award went to the Giants. Kiermaier started his Major League Baseball (MLB) career in 2013.

 

Kiermaier has had a really sensational year, which has only built up his reputation for solid ball defense over the last three years. There is talk in MLB management circles that his young talent is going to become a valuable property for the team and overall for the team. In fact, he has already become a shining star in the pantheon of great ballplayers that have made Tampa Bay the great team it has become. It is quite a good thing that these awards nowadays are based more solidly on very well-kept and tracked statistics. It will be interesting to see where he finds his stride and matures in becoming a real team player that is also a lead figure. Some of his plays have been compared to some of the great ballplayers of the past, as if he was a new incarnation of Mantel or Mays. One thing is for sure: everyone in baseball is now aware of just how great a player Kevin Kiermaier is. Read more in this Tampa Bay blog article.

 

 

The Tampa Bay Rays Finish a Difficult 2016 Season

Not much went right for the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2016 season. The team began spring training with the idea that they would be contenders in the very strong American League East. However, this is not how things would eventually work out for the club. The division was actually much tougher than anyone expected. In fact, the American League East was the only division in the majors to have four teams with a winning record. Needless to say, having to play the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees many times made the season very difficult for the Rays to endure.

 

The Rays eventually finished the season in last place with a record of 68 wins and 94 losses. There were many factors that led to the Rays compiling a record that was worse than every other team in the American League except the Minnesota Twins. One of the biggest disappointments was the performance of starting pitcher Chris Archer. He had been one of the best pitchers in baseball for the past three seasons. There were big expectations for him. He turned 27 in 2016. This is traditionally the age when most baseball players have their biggest season. However, things did not go according to plan for Archer. His earned run average for the season was a very unimpressive 4.02. This was a major increase from the stellar 3.23 earned run average he posted in 2015. He also surrendered 30 home runs in 2016. This was 11 more than he had ever surrendered before in a single season. Archer would finish the season with 19 losses.

 

The offense was also a big letdown for the team. Rays manager Kevin Cash thought that his lineup was very balanced and would get on base frequently. However, that was not the case. The only thing the Rays did well offensively in 2016 was hit home runs. Unfortunately, their inability to get on base consistently hurt the club. Far too many of their home runs were solo shots. Their inability to score runs on a regular basis put their pitching staff under a great deal of pressure. Rays hitters also struck out far too frequently. Kevin Cash attributes this to a lack of strike zone knowledge and plate discipline.

Tamp Bay Rays Fall Again

The Tampa Bay Rays, formerly called the Devil Rays, lost again today to the Boston Red Sox, 3-2 in ten innings. This drops their overall season record to 65-90, again in dead last in the AL East. This division includes the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays. Just for effect, the Tampa Bay Rays, long since out of the playoff hunt, sit 26.5 games out of first place.

In the 10th inning, Dustin Pedroia scored the game winning run; however, the Rays catcher Luke Maile actually had three separate opportunities to tag him out. Pedroia, having one of the best years of his career, somehow dodged the first two swipes. On the final try, Maile succeeded in tagging Pedroia; however, the ball somehow came loose from his glove. Therefore, Pedroia was safe. This all came after a terrific throw from the outfield beat Pedroia to the plate by over 5 yards. Lost in all of this was David Ortiz, whose last hit at the Rays’ stadium will go down as a game winner. This is the 11th straight win for the Red Sox who continue to widen their lead in the AL East. The Red Sox also struck out 11 straight Rays hitters at one point in the game.

As the Tampa Bay Rays begin to look for offseason needs, it’s obvious the Rays need to invest in some offensive firepower. They have been mediocre at best while at the plate, and the position that can easily be improved to bolster their offensive production is corner outfield. While this is a source of extra base hits and home runs for most teams, this has been lacking for the Rays. With Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe, there is a sturdy foundation for this team to build around. Adding another bat would add some protection for Longoria, who often gets pitched around due to the weaker hitters around him in the lineup.

Furthermore, the Rays definitely need to figure out who they want to play catcher for them in the long term. They have used 4 different catchers for extended periods of time. This capricious attitude towards a position calling pitches has led to an inability for pitchers to develop a routine. While all four players have their pros and cons, the Rays need to settle on someone going forward.

Rays Play Spoiler with Win over Toronto

The hopes of the Tampa Bay Rays making the playoffs in 2016 disappeared a long time ago. However, they can still be a thorn in the side of teams that are still very much alive in the playoff hunt. For example, the Toronto Blue Jays currently found themselves at the top of the American League East standings by two games when they began a three-game series at Tropicana Field against the Rays. The home ballpark of the Rays has always been a house of horrors for the Blue Jays. The first game of the series was more of the same.

The 8-3 win for the Rays was significant because it was the first game that Alex Cobb had started since September of 2014. The right-hander allowed two runs while pitching five innings to get a no-decision. This was a major step forward after he missed almost two complete seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Danny Farquhar would come in and pitch a shutout inning in relief of Cobb to pick up the win. Cobb said his arm felt good after the start.

It was yet another disappointing outing for Marcus Stroman. The starter for the Blue Jays has had a 2016 season where he has failed to live up to Toronto’s lofty expectations for him. He was projected to be the team’s ace of the future. However, his 4.58 earned run average clearly shows that the young right-hander is not ready to take on that big responsibility. Stroman took the loss to drop his record to 9-6. He pitched six innings and gave up three earned runs.

The Rays continued to show off the power that they have displayed all season. They launched three home runs against Toronto’s pitchers. Brad Miller, Luke Maile and Logan Morrison all went deep for the home team. The Boston Red Sox won their game in Oakland. This means that Boston gained one game on Toronto in a very tight divisional race. For whatever reason, the Blue Jays have never fared well at Tropicana Field.

Smyly Pitches Poorly as Rays Lose to Red Sox

The 2016 season has been a very rough one in many ways for the Tampa Bay Rays. The losses have occurred regularly and the team now finds itself mired in last place with no hope of making the playoffs. Most people knew that the talent the Rays were going to put on the field this season was not going to be able to compete with the lineups of division rivals Toronto and Boston. However, the hope was that the young players of the Rays would start to develop into players that could help them become a contender again in the future. It would be a massive understatement to say that things have not gone according to plan.

One of the biggest disappointments has been left-handed starting pitcher Drew Smyly. He was the primary player that the Rays got in return when they traded superstar pitcher David Price to the Detroit Tigers two years ago. He has been very inconsistent during his time in a Rays uniform. He has given up 29 home runs so far in 2016. That total is a new career high for him. Needless to say, he will need to prevent the ball from leaving the park with such regularity if he is ever going to become the ace that people in the Rays front office thought he would when they traded for him.

The Rays lost the final game of their series in Fenway Park against the Red Sox. Smyly allowed two more home runs during the game. The second of these was a Hanley Ramirez grand slam that gave the Red Sox the lead. The Rays would rally and take Smyly off the hook. He would end up getting a no-decision after pitching five innings and surrendering seven hits and six runs.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said he was satisfied with Smyly’s performance since he came to the Rays. He believes Smyly has the attitude and talent to become the leader of a very young Rays staff. Smyly was understandably upset with his outing. He told the media after the game that there were several pitches that he would like to have back. However, he gave credit to the Red Sox hitters for being so aggressive and taking advantage of his mistakes.

Tampa Bay’s Longoria Has Statistical Goals

The 2016 season for the Tampa Bay Rays began with such promise. People who work for the team in the front office thought the Rays had a legitimate chance of at least contending for a wild card this year. However, that has not been the case. The season has been a complete disaster from the very beginning. Inconsistent hitting and pitching have plagued the team all year. The bright spots have been very few and far between. However, there have been a few things for Rays fans to cheer about. One of these bright spots has been another great season from All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria.

Evan Longoria has been a superstar since the first time he set foot on the field in a Rays uniform. He was a top pick who has lived up to all of the lofty expectations the team had for him. In fact, he has exceeded those expectations in many ways. He has become one of the game’s great all-around players. A slugger who can hit homers and drive in runs. He also has a knack for getting clutch hits in big spots. However, his hitting prowess is not the only thing that Longoria has going for him. He is also regarded as one of the best defensive third baseman in the game today. He has twice been awarded a Gold Glove for his outstanding defense.

Longoria entered the 2016 season with some statistical goals in mind. He feels that setting personal goals is a great way to motivate himself. This philosophy has definitely worked for him this season. He has crushed 31 home runs so far and there is still a full month to go in the season. This is only two home runs short of the 33 home runs he hit during his second season back in 2009. Longoria believes that a new weight training program is responsible for the increased power he has displayed in 2016.

Another goal that the 30-year-old third baseman has this season is to play at least 160 games for the fourth consecutive season. He is on pace to accomplish this goal because he has already played 130 games entering the season’s final month. Evan Longoria has been one of the game’s most consistent players. He shows no signs of slowing down.