Ownership of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now just the Tampa Bay Rays) is possibly taking a turn with this franchise. I’m a huge Rays fan and over its short existence I’ve come to the conclusion that every season we start, it’s not going to be a good one. However, the tides may be turning.
The property is showing very good signs of doing whatever it takes to get this team, franchise and fan base out of the basement.
First, there was the announcement of the new uniforms. Personally, I didn’t think there was a problem with our image. I liked the green. I thought our uniforms were conservative (like most team uniforms in Major League Baseball), they had a decent color scheme that didn’t look like any other team, and for some reason I liked the vest-style uniforms they wore. often. Uniforms obviously weren’t the problem for this team. We all know this, but I can see why the property would want a change.
I think on one hand they want everyone to know, especially the fans here in Tampa, that this is a new ownership and a new beginning. I think they want you to see Tampa (well, St. Petersburg, which is in the Tampa Bay area) and what the area (and the state of Florida, FL.) is about when you look at them. Sun, water (bay and beaches) and colour, in this case blue, which suits our area very well.
I will miss the green uniforms though. There were some good moments and pictures made with the Rays in those green uniforms, especially this 2007 season, like Carl Crawford’s natural steal of home base, BJ Upton’s natural steal of home base, Carlos Pena taking out more than 40 home runs and Scott Kazmir. and James Shields pitching like two of the best and incredibly tough pitchers in the league.
But I can not complain. I wanted to change with this team like all the fans here. Initially, I didn’t think changing uniforms was the plan. He just wanted them to spend $10 million to $20 million in the bullpen. Heck, we had a ton of talent this year everywhere, especially hitting, outfield, major infield improvements and with our top two starting pitchers. However, little did he know that the change of uniform was just the beginning!
The Tampa Rays ownership and organization then announced plans for the development of a new stadium on the Al Lang Field site in St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as the redevelopment of the existing Tropicana Field site, which would become a community. residential and commercial that would prosper even more. the growth of the City of St. Petersburg and its surrounding communities.
Although the plan has not yet been approved, it sounds promising as the Rays organization has not promised to increase taxes, the liquidation of the current lease, I think 10 or 12 years, of Tropicana Field and its land through investments and profits from the new development that would go in its place and then additional funding from the team itself. Obviously, there’s a lot more to all of that and I don’t know a lot of details, but from what I’ve heard, it sounds like the owners of the Tampa Rays have a pretty good plan and the mayor of the city of St. Petersburg supports it.
However, I was a little excited when I heard about the plans for the new stadium. Tropicana, while not really that bad of a field, just doesn’t give you the feel of Major League Baseball. I grew up playing baseball for 12 years. I love the game I love outdoor baseball and there’s nothing like watching a baseball game in an outdoor stadium. But I understand why they chose the dome from the beginning. Sometimes it gets really hot here in Tampa and the humidity makes it worse. During baseball season it also rains a lot, which obviously could cause problems with ball games that they just don’t have with the Tampa Bay Bucs (because of the time of year) or Tampa Bay Lightning (because hockey here must be played indoors). ). Both factors, I’m sure; we are the main ones in deciding where the Rays would play when they were born.
The new ownership has taken those factors into account when it comes to the new stadium. The stadium design, which doesn’t have the possibility of a hard roof, sits 20 feet from the bay and only seats 35,000 – 40,000 fans (with the possibility of a whole bunch more with additional temporary bleachers) has a really long ( I do not know). i don’t know what to call it but it looks like some sort of mass of a sailboat) leaning pillar beyond center field that would support a pulley type system that would lift two large canvas covers (what it looks like) over the stadium providing shade on really scorching days or protection against the rain when it falls. And we all know that it will be! So the design, while strange compared to other Major League ballparks, is quite interesting and capable of handling the elements provided by Mother Nature here in Tampa.
Now, even with the uniform changes and proposed plans for a new stadium, fans weren’t excited enough to believe in this franchise. But I think the property is starting to get the attention of fans when it comes to on-field personnel.
Before the winter meetings, the Tampa Bay Rays made some aggressive moves initiating a 6-player trade with the Minnesota Twins to send 2007 Rookie of the Year finalist Delmond Young, 2007 comeback and reliable shortstop Brendan Harris. and minor league pitcher Jason Pridie for an excellent starting pitcher in Matt Garza, a dependable shortstop and above-average hitter (though he had a poor season last year) in Jason Bartlett, and minor league reliever Eduardo Morlan. The Rays had some bargaining power this year with the talent they had on the field and the reserve talent in the minors and it looks like they’re using it to fix their pitching problems. Now, with Garza, the Rays have a formidable third starter who may very well be the second or first starter at some clubs, but with the Rays Kazmir and Shields, he will likely be the third starter creating a top 3 that will compete with everyone. yes all, clubs in Major League Baseball.
Jason Bartlett, if he returns to the form most think he will, will come in and solidify the infield at shortstop, as Brendan Harris goes to the Twins, Josh Wilson misses out on waivers to the Pirates, Akinori Iwamura gets moves to second base (announced this week) and Carlos Peña to first. However, the big question right now is whether Evan Longoria is ready to make it to the big leagues and break into the third base position. Most say he should be there, but the Rays are looking as we speak to find depth at third base. We know Akinori Iwamura is a good fit at third base, but if Longoria is ready, he’ll be looking at one of the best infields in all of baseball.
In addition to third base, the Rays are also looking to add depth in right field now that Delmond Young is leaving for the Twins. The Rays currently have Carl Crawford in left field, BJ Upton in center (what an amazing adjustment Upton and the Rays made by putting him there), and Rocco Baldelli (hopefully he can stay healthy) and Johnny Gomes in right.
I’m not convinced that Baldelli or Gomes are right. If Baldelli can stay healthy, the Rays will have the best outfield in all of baseball. If Gomes takes right field, well, sure, he’s very capable of playing right field, but there are a lot of handicaps for him at the plate. So depth at that position, which would also contribute depth for the DH role, is one of the Rays’ goals this offseason.
Finally, I must mention the position of the receiver. Dioner Navarro did not impress last year. He may have gotten strong late, but still, there’s not much to impress. The Rays will definitely look for depth in Catcher.
Okay, with all that said, let’s go over some other moves the organization has made.
Perhaps even the most notable deal the Rays have made is the signing of closer Troy Percival. Come on Rays fans! You have to love this. Sure he had an injury that cost him some time in the MLB but he was great last year we give him a good deal this year he’s a veteran and he’ll help the bullpen oh and he can still throw pretty impressive. I love this signature. I applaud the Rays for getting it done.
Next, we’ve taken care of the issues with Elijah Dukes. The Rays have traded Dukes to the Washington Nationals for minor league left-hander Glenn Gibson. Again, a good move! We don’t need the trouble Dukes gives us. Sure, he could be and probably will be a very good ballplayer, but not here. He has had too many problems here (not with the Rays but personally). However, Glenn Gibson has very good potential and very good material. A couple of years down the line and he may be pitching full-time for the Rays. For me a good deal and I’m sure we saved some money here too.
Let’s face it! I know we all want to win now, but we still have to have talent in the minors for the future and Dukes, well, it just wasn’t in our future. Gibson has the potential to be, and I think it was a very smart move on behalf of the organization.
Lastly, the Rays sold their No. 1 pick in Tim Lahey’s Rule 5 Draft to the Chicago Cubs for $150,000.
Okay, why not? The Rays have good talent in the minors, so losing one isn’t a big deal and they need some money (well, maybe need isn’t the word; they could use a lot more extra).
So aside from that, there are a few things the Rays will still be looking to do this offseason. They need to reinforce the receiving position which is important. They need to find some depth on the right hand to contribute at the DH position, preferably a southpaw.
There is also talk of possibly more deals. The Rays may be looking to go after a veteran bullpen pitcher like Ron Mahay. They may also try to go after lefty outfielders or players to fill the DH position, like Cliff Floyd, Luis Gonzalez, Luke Scott or possibly even Josh Hamilton.
One thing is for sure and the Rays have made it clear, we will get better. We will start winning!
Well I hope so!