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I Am Not Buying Into The Tampa Bay Rays This Year

This squad also doesn't have any ALL - Star caliber position players, and will have a tough time keeping up with the offenses of the Jays, Orioles, Red Sox and even the Yankees. I would gladly take all other 4 teams shut down late inning relief over Tampa Bay's as well.

This squad also doesn’t have any ALL – Star caliber position players, and will have a tough time keeping up with the offenses of the Jays, Orioles, Red Sox and even the Yankees. I would gladly take all other 4 teams shut down late inning relief over Tampa Bay’s as well.  Last season the club took advantage of a strong Bullpen that led the AL in Saves with 60, and have since traded stalwart Jake McGee, and have lost Brad Boxberger to start they year for 2 months.  Some of the departed veterans were also not adequately replaced.  All of the four other club all improved or maintained, whereas Tampa will need some luck to just maintain.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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Forgive me if I don’t follow a lot of other people’s opinion on the Tampa Bay Rays. I outlined in a recent article on over/under win totals for the year that the Rays are 1 of 2 best bets to be under their 82.5 wins for the year.

Okay so last year I did also call for their demise – and they rallied late in the year for a 80 – 82 record, however I don’t even think this club is as good as the roster that competed the 2015 season – meanwhile all the other clubs have maintained or added good players to their depth charts.

Out for the Rays are Jake McGee, John Jaso, Nate Karns, Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore, J.P. Arencibia and Brad Boxberger is out 8 weeks after core muscle surgery.

In are: Corey Dickerson Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Steve Pearce, Danny Farquhar, Ryan Webb and Hank Conger.

Not exactly loading the fanbase with can’t miss talent the Rays are significantly weaker in 2016 than 2015 in my view.

Their Bullpen is worse…The loss off Starter Karns may actually hurt the club. Read the rest of this entry

Projected Top 5 Save Leaders In The American And National League For MLB 2016

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn't lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40's in Saves again for 2016.

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn’t lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40’s in Saves again for 2016.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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Figuring out the Saves Leaders for the 2016 year is a lot easier to project than the Holds Leaders we did last week.  Perhaps the easiest to discern is also the National League.

Since I projected 7 teams will win 90+ games in the Senior Circuit I have listed 5 teams with their Closer out of the fold there.  I did however, leave out Hector Rondon and Mark Melancon.

I feel the Bucs may trade Melancon despite being in a position to make the playoffs.   I also think the Cubs will blow out a ton of clubs this season in games, and therefore not need Rondon to lockdown a 3 run or under lead.

This is the same reason why I won’t label Roberto Osuna for the top 5 in the American League either.  It is also not unfathomable to see the Jays go with Drew Storen to close down games.

I fully think that Craig Kimbrel will lead the entire Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox as their Closer.

I may have gone with Aroldis Chapman on the list as well, however his pending suspension for his domestic violence call in should see him riding pine for at least 25 games.  The New York Yankees should still lead the Junior Circuit for total team Saves.
Read the rest of this entry

Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2016

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 - and that was only at 80 - 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense - except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention, it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Evan Longoria.

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 – and that was only at 80 – 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense – except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention in 2016 it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Longoria.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Tampa Bay Rays failed to make it to .500 or better for the 1st time since 2008 in 2015, however with a 5 game winning streak at the end of the campaign, they made it to 80 wins or better for an 8th year in a row.  I highly suspect this year that may come crashing down.

First Boston went off on a spending spree to amp up its roster, and now the Yankees have added Aroldis Chapman to the fold, and upgraded at Second Base with Starlin Castro.

Toronto made its moves for the better in late July, and should be a team to be reckoned with again in 2016.

Only the Orioles don’t look to compete in the AL East during the 2016 campaign with the Rays thus far, and they still may be tough to play 19 times a year if they are to re-sign Chris Davis.

Tampa Bay still clearly has the best Pitching Rotation in the Division with Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi filtering in spots 1 – 5.  But will it be enough to help a fledgling offensive in 2016? (more…)

Tampa Bay Rays Payroll In 2016 + Contracts Going Forward

The Rays are one of six teams that are projected to spend over $30 MIL in Arbitration Eligible Players along with the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, New York mets Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals all will likely pay more in totality than the Rays for 2016.

The Rays are one of six teams that are projected to spend over $30 MIL in Arbitration Eligible Players along with the Baltimore O’s, Toronto Blue Jays, NY Mets, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals all will likely pay more in totality than the Rays for 2016.  The team will only have around a $70 MIL payroll for the coming year.  Don’t look for them to add that many pieces either with drawing just under 1.3 Million fans in 2015 – the worst attendance figure in the Major Leagues.   The club has won at least 80 games a year since 2008, and still they can’t draw at Tropicana Field.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Rays only have four players on current contracts so far this winter, but they also only stand to lose 2 players after the 2016 year in James Loney and Logan Morrison.

Tampa has 3 players in the 1st year of Arbitration and 5 guys in the 2nd Year of Arbitration.  The 2nd year guys include Jake McGee, Logan Forsythe and Alex Cobb – all could be added with 1st Year ARB player Drew Smyly as distinct trade candidates.

Already having 5 pending Free Agents in 2018 has to be in the minds of the management.  All of them will not end the 2016 year on the Roster in my view.

Morrison and Loney both may not reach opening day as both being on the Roster either. (more…)

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