As the saying goes, all is quiet on the western front, yet I’m not content to sit back and watch the world pass by. That said, here’s another installment of links for finks.
- According to Marc Topkin, the Rays are still likely to add a middle infielder and outfielder David DeJesus is still likely to be traded. DeJesus is owed $5M in 2015 with a $1M buyout on a 2016 option, which makes him a reasonably priced target but also does not leave him with a ton of trade value. Per Steamer, DeJesus is projected to be a 0.7 WAR player, boasting $4.9M surplus value.
- The most telling line from Topkin’s article (linked above) gave a little perspective on why the Rays were eager to deal Yunel Escobar, even if they took a loss of $3.7M — $4.2M in surplus value. Topkin wrote, “…The Rays did him (Kevin Cash) the favors of removing the headache of managing Escobar and the hassles of an overcrowded outfield.”
- Loic Oumier (DRaysBay) coincidentally wondered if the Rays might be looking for some improvement at second base, in a market filled with possibilities. He went on to namedrop a few players, like Rickie Weeks, Starlin Castro and Danny Espinosa, who would be in the Rays wheelhouse if a deal in some capacity was to be made.
- Jeff Todd (MLB Trade Rumors) listed both SS Evereth Cabrera and 2B Rickie Weeks as intriguing options left on the market. Knowing the Rays are looking for another middle infielder, yet MLB ready trade pieces on the 40-man roster are few and far in between, perhaps either would fit the bill. Of Cabrera and Weeks, Todd writes,
Cabrera shortstop, 28 – Were it not for his off-field issues, it seems likely the Padres would have tendered the former starting shortstop and given him a chance to regain his 2013 form. The year before last, Cabrera registered a 114 wRC+ while swiping 37 bags (down from 44 in the season prior) and playing the best-rated defense of his career. That was a 3.1 fWAR player, even in a season cut short due to suspension. The 2014 version of Cabrera was not, even when on the field instead of nursing an injury. There are issues aplenty here, but his abilities stand out in a market that hurt for middle infield talent from the start. And it does not hurt that he comes with a year of arb control remaining.
Weeks second base, 32 – Once one of the game’s better keystone options, Weeks has stumbled backward in all areas of the game since 2012. But last year was a bit different; while his defensive metrics continued to lag behind his earlier work, Weeks did put up a .274/.357/.452 slash in 286 plate appearances that brought to mind better days. True, Weeks inflicted much of his damage against lefties, with his solid line against right-handers propped up by a .420 BABIP. But given his track record, a revived spurt of production at least raises the possibility of a late-career renaissance.
- New baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been in office a little more than a whole day, and he’s already made some interesting waves. In an interview with ESPN, Manfred mentioned that examining the pace of the game is first on his list of priorities. Second on his list of priorities, finding ways to “inject additional offense into the game.” You might be asking, how? Manfred is open to pursuing the elimination of defensive shifts, which he says give the defensive team a competitive advantage. It’s not often that I wholly agree with anyone from ESPN, however Buster Olney allowed my thoughts to be more eloquently expressed, “Pushing for rules to restrict defensive positioning would be as absurd and antithetical to the game as informing pitchers…” The writers at Bless You Boys wonder why stop there? After all, Manfred can do much more to increase offense, like limiting the size of gloves, or making each run worth two.
- Former (Devil) Ray Wade Boggs’ beer consumption has become a thing of legend worthy of Bill Brasky. The legend goes, Boggs once drank 64 beers on a cross-country team flight. Hell, even actor Charlie Day got in on the action, claiming during the filming of a new episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Boggs pulled him aside and said he actually drank 107 beers in one day— including before the flight and after. David Laurila (FanGraphs) shed more light on things Sunday, writing,
In 2001, (Former Ray Brian) Rose was “all fired up” when he was claimed off waivers by the Devil Rays. “Not because I was going to Tampa,” explained Rose, “but because Wade Boggs was a coach there. He was my idol growing up.”
Rose soon learned that Boggs could put away cold ones like nobody else.
“I was sitting next to him on a plane and a flight attendant came by and gave him a case of beer,” said Rose. “He slid it under the seat and I was like, ‘What’s up with that? We only have an hour flight.’ He said, ‘That’s mine.’
“The whole flight, we were just shooting the shit, and he went one beer after the other. I said to him, ‘I’m impressed with the way you hit, but I’m more impressed right now.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, beer doesn’t affect me. I don’t get drunk unless I’ve had at least a case and a half.’ I don’t think he even went to the bathroom.”
- Rejoice everyone, baseball season is nigh!
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) January 27, 2015
BP sesh at the Trop — on a Tuesday. https://t.co/TJYDCsQHUT
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) January 27, 2015
- Finally, have you been left with nothing to do during the Snowpocalypse? Worry not, Buzzfeed’s got your back, recommending eight movies you need to watch on Netflix during the blizzard. Here is a hint, they’re all part of Ken Burns’ excellent Baseball series of documentaries.