Tampa Bay Rays 2012 Offseason Recap and Preview

The Rays were the beneficiaries of (reportedly) the greatest day in baseball last year:

Grade: A-

Notable Additions:

Carlos Peña, Burke Badenhop, Jeff Keppinger, Josh Lueke, Jose Molina, Fernando Rodney, and Luke Scott.

Notable Subtractions:

Casey Kotchman, John Jaso, Kelly Shoppach, and Andy Sonnanstine.

Why?: Really every thing they lost, they replaced, and they also added talent. They replaced Casey Kotchman with what I believe to be a better first baseman in Carlos Peña. They downgraded a little by replacing Shoppach with Molina, but also added a very good player in Luke Scott, who I see most likely to be the Casey Kotchman of this year for the Rays in that he will over-perform his contract.

Andy Sonnantine would have been a reliever for the Rays (because of the depth of their rotation), so they over-replaced him with  Fernando Rodney, Burke Badenhop, and Josh Lueke. This was a huge bolster for a bullpen depleted from their form two years ago.

I haven’t even gotten to what may be their best move of the offseason. Okay, so it really wasn’t an addition, per say, but signing Matt Moore to a 6- year, $14 million (or something in that range. I’m sure of the money, but not the years), contract was probably a good move, potentially a spectacular. For those who don’t know, Matt Moore is ranked in the same echelon as Stephen Strasburg. This is $2+ million a year for an ace-type pitcher for six year. They then have a secondary part of the deal made up of club-options that make the deal a total of 8 years and $40 million (this I am sure of).

 

You may or may not remember that Evan Longoria signed a similar contract (6 years 17.5 Million on his seventh day in the league, or something ridiculous like that). Well, doesn’t that look like an incredible deal now? They can’t really lose that much. At worst, they are losing the $16 Million over the first part of the contract if he stinks, or injures himself. Even for the low-budget Rays, that isn’t a huge blow. The upside on this deal is enormous, though.

 

Predicted Record Range: 92-97 wins

 

Next Up: 

13 Comments

See Blue Jays comment.

Yes that is a very good point. I agree with you there.
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

The Rays Rant- Thanks, I’ll be sure to check it out when you do publish it.

Quinn- Well I don’t know if that will happen to either the Phillies or the Giants in the next few years, but their rotations are certainly coming back to the norm from a few years ago where they were out in front of the pack.

That is very true. Once teams start losing good players, they become an average team, and then they don’t make the playoffs that year or something like that.
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

Good piece. My offseason review is going to be posted soon, I’ll let you know when it’s out.
The Rays Rant- http://yossif.mlblogs.com/

No, I don’t think it’s an absurd thing to think of, but they might just need a little time to grow to that level. One thing they do have going for them, though, is that rotations like the Giants and Phillies are losing arms (Jonathan Sanchez and Roy Oswalt) and will lose arms in the future.

Yes I agree, I don’t know what I was thinking last night. They will be in the top 5 though.
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

I don’t know if I would classify it as THE best in all of baseball, even with the top two stars and Hellickson right behind them. I do think, however, that they’ll definitely be top 5 at least.

I can see the Rays maybe having the best pitching rotation in the league, as they also have other great pitchers too.
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

Yes, yes it was a good move. I see this being a very underrated rotation with both Price and Moore heading it.

Very good review. I think it was a good idea for the Rays to take a chance on Matt Moore like that. He should be very good for them and should be a big contribute to there pitching rotation.
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

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