Ask Gary: Are the Rays better off with their moves?

by Gary Shelton on July 1, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

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Saturday, 4 a.m

The Rays have made a number of changes to the roster lately including another bullpen shuffle. It’s great to see that management is being proactive in trying to improve the team. Are you excited about any of the new or returning players? Do you think the team is any better off after all the moves?

 Larry Beller

Some of the moves were made for improvement, Larry, and some of them -- as you know -- were trying to fix a leak.

I like the new shortstop from Miami -- Adeiny Hechavarria -- although it took me two days to learn to spell it. I think the better defense up the middle has a chance to really help the team. It's got to make Tim Beckham

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better, and it will make Kevin Kiermaier as strong as ever. When Wilson Ramos is ready to go every day, that will help.

But I don't think the Rays have done a lot to help their bullpen. Brad Boxberger really wasn't good before he was hurt. The Rays have used 23 pitchers this year, and most of us are prepared to see what's left.

With Alex Colome's wheels coming off, that's my biggest question going into the second half. But who else is there? Jose Alvarado at times. Austin Pruitt every now and then. Tommy Hunter on occasion. But if you look most nights, the opposition usually does better against the Rays' bullpen than vice versa.

I like a lot of the old players. Corey Dickerson has been a star; enough that it makes you nervous about the prospect of him returning to his old swing. I like Colby Rasmus. I like Longo. I haven't liked Kiermaier's play in center this year, but I still believe in his glove. Souza is hit-and-miss.

Can this team contend in the second half? They'll need good starting pitching, and a good bullpen, and they'll have to do a better job with runners on base.'

That said, a to of the doubts about the Rays are because of previous seasons. The Rays are alive, which is more than I thought we'd be able to say at the halfway point.

Homer Bailey (6 year/ $105 million contract) pitches tonight for the Cincinnati Reds against the Brewers.  His current ERA is 43.20.  What is the probability that he will lower his ERA tonight?

Jose Reyes (6 year/ $106 million contract) is currently batting .202.  What is the probability that he raises his batting average if he plays tonight against the Marlins.
Scott Myers
You're a funny guy. One might even think you think those two are overpaid or something.
Hey, you have to give Bailey a bit of a break. He's only pitched in two games this year. Thursday night, after I received your email, Bailey pitched three innings and was knocked around again. He gave up six hits and six earned runs . . . and his ERA still went down to "only" 27.00.
If this was a competition, Reyes is far the inferior return. His average us down to .199, and he's had 261 at-bats. Unlike Bailey, he can't blame his struggles on injury. He's just been bad. It's been six years now since he was an all-star, and it's hard to tell at this point who is more desperate: Reyes or the Mets.
By thew way, there are five hitters in the major league baseball who are hitting lower than .200 and 15 lower than .225.
Which leads us back to the salaries. Heck, Scott, there have always been bad baseball players. But they've never been paid the way they're being paid now.
I have read several stories that mentioned that the G.M. of the Red Wings, Ken Holland, is getting a lot of criticism in Detroit.   If he was fired, do you think that Yzerman would want to be released from his contract, in order to take the Red Wing job?
Jim Willson
Jim, have you been to Detroit? Personally, I'd rather work in Tampa.
I know, I know. Bear Bryant once answered why he went  back to Alabama. "Mama called," he said. It was the same with Steve Spurrier going back to Florida. I'm sure Yzerman loves his memories of the Red Wings. I was there the night he won his first Stanley Cup, and it was a love affair between him and the fans.
But Yzerman is well-paid in Tampa. I honestly don't think he's looking around. I'm guessing, but if Yzerman had loyalty for Detroit, it was mostly to late owner Mike Ilitch.
Yzerman has autonomy here. I don't know if he'd have it in Detroit I don't know that the job pays as well. I don't know if he's intent on building a new history with the Lightning or in adding on to the Red Wings' fine history.
My gut feeling is that two factors would decide it: Is Yzerman pleased with what he has built in Tampa? Or does he want a new hunk of clay? To me, it's hard to beat the job he has here. He likes Jon Cooper. He likes Jeff Vinik. Why rush to shovel snow in your driveway?
I started watching All or Nothing on Amazon tonight.  I was surprised to see that they followed the L.A. Rams, just like Hard Knocks had.  What is the thinking in having two series cover the same team. And could that happen to the Bucs this season?

Jim Willson

I'm not sure that when it comes to TV specials and movies, there is a lot of thinking going on.
I might get it if the two networks were following the Patriots. Or even the Packers or the Steelers or the Cowboys. You know, one of the iconic teams that has built-in viewership. I could understand if they wanted to shadow Drew Brees or Matt Ryan or Eli Manning, a charistmatic quarterback trying to lift his team.
But the Rams? Really? I'd rather watch Rambo III, the one in which he discovers Afghanistan.
You know, I'm looking forward to the Bucs being on Hard Knocks. But after that, I think I'd pick three-four teams, cover them the same way, and edit them into a good rotation. I think you might discover more personalities that way.
I'll care about the Rams when Deacon Jones and Roman Gabriel start playing again. Those were great teams, right? (I still remember the 1967 season, when the Colts (my boyhood team) were undefeated going into the final week of the season ... and didn't make the playoffs.
But this year's team? The only reason to watch the Rams the last several seasons has been to watch Jeff Fisher try to explain his continued employment, and after his firing, you can't even say that anymore.
Really, it just goes to show you the attraction that we have toward all things about the NFL. Give us a program with good access, and we'll watch. Even when the team is the Rams.



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