Found February 20, 2013 on
The Tampa Bay Rays finished 2012 with a 90-72 record and 3 games shy of a wildcard berth. It was a season in which their star player, Evan Longoria missed 88 games due to injury. The Rays led the majors with a 3.19 team ERA and their staff was anchored by the AL Cy Young Award winner, David Price.
Tampa Bay also had a historic season from their closer, Fernando Rodney, who set a major league record for a reliever (minimum of 50 innings) with a 0.60 ERA, breaking Dennis Eckersley’s record of 0.61 (1990). Rodney also notched a club record 48 saves.
Despite the loss of workhorse pitcher James Shields, the Rays still boast what is arguably the top starting 5 in all of baseball. Joe Maddon will be looking for his three young guns, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, and Alex Cobb to push their innings pitched up near the 200 mark this season.
Heading into 2013 there are a lot of new faces on the team, but if anybody can mesh them together it’s Maddon, who knows the sledding will be tough in the AL East. “It’s going to be very tight,” Maddon said. “Respectfully, I think every team in our division is going to have an opportunity to get to the playoffs next year — more so than any time in the recent past.”
In return for Shields, the Rays picked up two more outstanding prospects to add to their already rich crop of minor league talent. OF Wil Myers and RHP Jake Odorizzi could both start the year in the moors, but look for both of them to get called up at some point this season.
As always, the ringleader of this team is perennial MVP candidate Evan Longoria who is healthy this spring.
Best case scenario
In an ideal world the Rays won’t miss the departed players, particularly James Shields and BJ Upton, and they will be able to seamlessly integrate all of the new faces into their system. This will be a key factor if the Rays want to survive in the AL East. Of course the #1 ingredient required for a best case scenario is a full season from superstar third baseman Evan Longoria. Other things that can make this a memorable season for the Rays are production from Will Myers, another stellar campaign from David Price and another lockdown season from closer Fernando Rodney. The Rays are a World Series caliber team.
Most important Rays
Evan Longoria is the heart and soul of the Rays franchise. ”His name being in the lineup,” David Price explained. “The pitcher knows when he’s on deck, when he’s in the hole, when he’s due up fifth in that inning. They know where Longo is at all times. They probably know where he’s sitting in the dugout.” If Longoria can stay healthy he will be a candidate to pry the AL MVP Award out of Detroit.
Last season David Price made his third consecutive All-Star appearance and for the third straight season logged over 200 innings pitched. He finished the season with a sparkling 20-5 record, an AL best 2.56 ERA, a razor thin 1.10 WHIP and 205 strikeouts. The scary part is that the 27 year old lefty is just entering his prime. ”He’s just really become such a polished pitcher that every time he does go out there, you feel like he could throw a no-hitter,” Evan Longoria said. “He has that kind of stuff, and he’s that electric and that special.”
Potential break out players
“I didn’t get to see him [hit]; I was over there on the other field, but when he hit the ball, I thought it was thunder,” Joe Maddon said when asked about Wil Myers’ first batting practice session this spring. Myers is generally considered one of the top 5 prospects in all of baseball and isn’t it just like the Rays to pry him away from another team? Playing AA and AAA last year, Myers combined numbers were a .314 batting average with 37 home runs and 109 RBI. He might start the season in AAA, but it won’t be long before he gets called up.
Could this be a break out season for 23 year old pitcher Matt Moore? He was solid last year going 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 177.1 innings. Moore has a filthy arsenal and a very high ceiling. An 18 win, 200 strikeout season is certainly within reach for the promising lefty.
Worst case scenario
Any worse case scenario for the Rays involves an injury to Longoria. If he misses extended time like he did in each of the past two seasons, it makes it that much harder for Tampa Bay to keep pace in the division.
Areas of concern
James Shields truly was a workhorse for the Rays. Last season he led the club with 227.2 innings and 33 starts. He racked up 15 wins and 223 strikeouts as well. It’s not that one guy is going to fill his shoes. The Rays will be looking for increased production from Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb.
There was a lot of turnover on the roster and on most teams that would be cause for concern. On the Rays it’s not as worrisome, but still worth keeping an eye on. One of the new faces is Yunel Escobar who hasn’t always endeared himself to management at his other stops, but Joe Maddon is excited to work with the shortstop. “I think he’s capable of being the AL All-Star shortstop and Gold Glove winner,” Maddon said. “From day one, I want him thinking in that direction.”
Who needs to bounce back from a down 2012
Desmond Jennings oozes potential and much was expected of him last year. He didn’t quite live up to the hype with a .246 batting average, 13 homers and 120 strikeouts. The Rays would like him to be a little more patient at the plate this year.
BEST OF MAXIM
Evan Longoria and Jamie Edmondson are having a baby. One teammate was unsure of what to give the couple and asked Longoria. So naturally the third-basemen told him breast pump.
“Hey, Evan told me to buy a breast pump. So I bought a breast pump.” said Price via USA Today.
The actual price of the pump was not announced but Price summed it up anyway.
“Most expensive thing on the...
The Tampa Bay Rays could leave spring training with 32-year-old Juan Sandoval, who was blinded in his right eye as a result of a restaurant shooting.
After word circulated on the internet that Price would not play for the Yankees due to their policy regarding facial hair the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner softened his stance.
CLICK TO READ MORE!
GETTIN' PIGGY WITH IT
Tampa Bay Rays DH Luke Scott is a bizarre man. When Scott showed up at Rays Spring Training on Monday, he showed up with the head of a boar in tow. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times shared the picture to the right, and Gary Shelton of the Times has the full story on the head. Scott bounced through the clubhouse carrying a large boar's head — the first one he killed with...
After dealing with injury issues last season, Tampa Bay Rays 3B Evan Longoria is expected to be a large part of the team’s offensive plans this season. As the Rays prepare to play their first game of the 2013 spring training season, Longoria has reportedly left camp. Fear not Rays fans, Longoria is not injured, he has departed camp in order to be with his girlfriend in order to...
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. The past is a distant memory for Yunel Escobar, something hed rather sweep into a dustbin and forget forever. For good reason, he wants to keep his gaze fixed on the path ahead. His uniform has changed, his colors are different, the clubhouse culture he enters with the Tampa Bay Rays is loose and free.
Still, a player's record is never discarded so simply...
Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Luke Scott — a unique, eccentric fellow with interesting theories and thoughts on a variety of topics — arrived at spring training on Sunday afternoon with a curious object, something one wouldn’t typically consider a necessary accessory for a major league ballplayer to have in his possession as he embarks on camp: A boar’s head.
And no, we are...
Last season Rays DH Luke Scott told the Tampa Tribune that he had hunted down a wild boar and killed it with a spear–turns out he wasn’t lying.
As reported by Yahoo Sports Scott brought in the severed wild boar’s head for ‘show and tell’, a ritual manager Joe Maddon has continued on in spring training. While there has yet to be any photographic proof of the bizarre...
ALL BOBBLE, NO BITE
Your browser does not support iframes.Mark your calendars, Rays fans.On April 21, the Rays will be giving away bobbleheads depicting David Price's canine to kids 14 and younger. Price can be seen with the bobblehead and his French bulldog, Astro, in the video clip above.So, if you are younger than 14, and planning to be in attendance for the Rays vs. A's game at Tropicana...
After the Rays and David Price avoided arbitration back in January, many believed there may be hope that the 2012 Cy Young winner will stay in Tampa Bay for the long term. However, at the end of the day it’s still a business and Price realizes that. “I do know this could be my last year here — or half-year, whatever it is,” Price told FOXSports.com during an interview....
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (11) | 2011 (3) | 2010 (1) | 2009 (4) | 2008 (1)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] AL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Durham
AA: [74-63] Southern League – Montgomery
A+: [55-79] Florida State League – Charlotte
A: [80-60] Midwest League – Bowling Green
A(ss): [52-24] New York-Penn League — Hudson Valley...
The good vibes of spring training, and the beginning of baseball after a long winter, cover a lot of ills. Players get second chances, guys are excited to be around each other, and things that wouldn’t be acceptable in the thick of a competitive season — or, perhaps, in the rest of humanity — are laughed at and accepted.
Enter the boar head.
Luke Scott, who has one of the stranger...
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price is probably nearing the end of his tenure with the Rays. Price has two seasons of arbitration eligibility remaining after 2013, and will be in line for eight figure salaries after signing a $10.1 million contract for 2013. After the contracts recently signed by Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, and Matt Cain, Price figures to...
The Tampa Bay Rays have David Price under team control for a few more seasons, but history would tell you they are not opposed to trading him before their time with him is up. Price is 27 years old and one of the best left-handed starters in the game. If he continues to pitch the way he has over the past few seasons, he could be destined to become the highest-paid pitcher in MLB...
Tampa Bay Rays P David Price made some news on Wednesday by stating that he didn’t think he could ever be a member of the New York Yankees because of their rules, especially the one regarding facial hair. Interviewed by John Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Price expressed his dislike over the team rule which forbids facial hair.
“Joe wants us to be comfortable in our own skin....