Tag:Tampa Bay Rays
Posted on: March 20, 2008 9:10 pm

Tampa Bay Rays 2008 Preview

Tampa Bay <a href=/page/TB">Rays logo" src="http://images.sportsline.com/images/cbss/ui2/logos/mlb/160x100/TB.gif" width="160" border="0" />

Key Additions: Troy Percival(RP); Matt Garza(SP); Jason Bartlett(SS); Cliff Floyd(OF); Trever Miller(RP); Willy Aybar(3B)

Key Departures: Delmon Young(OF); Brandon Harris(SS); Elijah Dukes(OF)

Is this finally the year we have all been waiting for? Can the Rays compete with the Red Sox and Yankees of the East?

Starting Pitching:

Projected Rotation -

Scott Kazmir(LH); James Shields(RH); Matt Garza(RH); Edwin Jackson(RH); Jason Hammel(RH)

The last spot in the rotation will be filled by either Jason Hammel, Jeff Nieman or Andy Sonnastine. The Rays have finally built a stable 1-2-3 in the rotation by adding Matt Garza for the expence of troubled, but super talent Delmon Young. Kazmir has pitched his way into the hearts of Rays fans, while throwing a dagger at Mets fans while Shields has been a great sidekick to Kazmir. Edwin Jackson has been pretty good lately in Spring Taining and as well as in the end of 2007. Will he finally show that potential he once had with the Dodgers? Then there maybe a huge drop of at the number 5 slot unless a top prospect like Jeff Nieeman, Wade Davis or David Price come to the rescue. The Rays need to hope the pitching holds up until one of these three are finally ready to hit the majors and help the Rays to a possible play-off push.

 ~ Rays pitcher Edwin Jackson could be one of the many young keys to success for the team.

The Bullpen:

Projected Bullpen: Troy Percival(CL); Al Reyes(RH); Dan Wheeler(RH); Gary Glover(RH); Trever Miller(LH); J.P. Howell(LH); Scott Dohmann(RH)

The addition of Dan Wheeler for utility man Ty Wigginton has showed that it will pay dividends for the Rays. Not too mention they added on Comeback candidate Troy Percival to be the closer. The Rays will most likely use there top 3 most of the year, they have to also use the junky relievers. After Percival, Reyes and Wheeler, the Rays bullpen takes a big blow down to Glover and Miller. Regardless, the additions of Wheeler and Percival will be huge to improve a league ranked 30th bullpen. Who knows, maybe some of the Rays prospects will boost the relief corpse as the season progresses, but Wheeler and Reyes will each be called on for a good 60-70 games in 2008.

 ~ Rays closer Troy Percival will be a big help for a MLB ranked 30th bullpen


Projected Line-up:

1: Akinori Iwamura/2B

2: Carl Crawford/LF

3: Carlos Pena/1B

4: B.J. Upton/CF

5: Cliff Floyd/DH or Rocco Baldelli

6: Jonny Gomes/RF

7: Evan Longoria/3B

8: Dioner Navarro/C

9: Jason Bartlett/SS


Shawn Riggans/C

Rocco Baldelli or Cliff Floyd/OF

Eric Hinske/1B

Willy Aybar/3B

The Line-up has gotten better since the days when Carl Crawford was the only reliable player. Last years additions of Akinori Iwamura from Japan and Carlos Pena were big strides in getting the team better. This year they boosted the line-up again by adding Cliff Floyd to DH. They took a minor hit of trading off Brandon Harris to Minnesota and recieving Jason Bartlett but that was the price they had to pay to acquire Matt Garza. The offense will also get a boost from top 5 prospect Evan Longoria, who should be playing opening day for the Rays. Also over the off-season, the Rays acquired two utility players to take over for Ty Wigginton, Eric Hinske and Willy Aybar. There is no question the offense keeps getting better as the years go on, and with the stock piled farm system will continue as the years go by. The Rays are finally in a good position to fight for the division with the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. They will finally get over the hump of 5th place as they will surpase the rebulding Orioles.

 ~ Rays outfielder Carl Crawford finally has help in a line-up set to contend.



Category: MLB
Posted on: March 15, 2008 7:40 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2008 6:56 pm

O's Season Preview Mailbag: Q's from the fans

Every month, there will be another mailbag where Aaron Folsom answers the Questions of the Fans.

Q: What will the starting infield look like at the end of the 2008 season for the Orioles? Will they be able to trade guys like Ramon Hernandez, Melvin Mora or Brian Roberts?

A: The only guys that might have some trade value at the deadline in the infield are Ramon Hernandez, if he has a good first half, and Brian Roberts. Kevin Millar may be able to attract a team looking for bench help. I don't see Mora going anywhere unless he has a first half like his spring training. I believe Guillermo Quiroz would take over for Ramon Hernandez, if he gets shipped out, and if he gets more time at the position I could see Scott Moore taking over second base duties if the team does not acquire a 2B prospect from any trades.

Ramon Hernandez could be a valuable trade chip for the Orioles come July 31st.


Q: Will Daniel Cabrera ever learn to pitch, or will he continue to have high walk totals?

A: I believe no matter what you do, Daniel Cabrera will always have high walk totals. Rick Kranitz has worked with him over the off-season and both Kranitz and manager Dave Trembley feel it will be breakout year for Cabrera. However, that has been said about Cabrera since his rookie year. Maybe Kranitz can help him out, but so far in Spring Training he seems like the same old D-Cab.

Q: Will Hayden Penn and Adam Loewen stay healthy for an entire season?

A: Adam Loewen is making progress from his recovery and the same goes for Penn. Loewen might not be a 100% as of right now though. Penn added some weight and looked very well in spring training. I think they will stay healthy for atleast a good part of the season, but injuries are spontanious, so I can't give my full confirmation on there full season status.

Q: Will the Orioles show enough this season to persuade Mark Texeira to sign with Baltimore?

A: I think regardless of what the Orioles do this year, they will still persuade Texieria to come to Baltimore. He is a native of Maryland and grew up a Orioles fan. I also think Tex would want to come here tro be around this rebuilding program. I understand he wants to win, but if Tex came to Baltimore, the O's would be on the upside of rebuilding and would be on the rebound. He would probably like being around some vets and some young guys.

Q: Will Troy Patton recover?

A: Patton has a pretty serious injury, but I believe in a year or two he could become a good member of the Orioles team. It will take a while to heal, but regardless is a Top notch prospect. I think he will recover well but may take a while.

Q: Will Nick Markakis continue to develop into a star player?

A: I think by the end of this season, Markakis will go from a top 20 outfielder to a top 15 outfielder. He continues to get better and will probably get even better by seasons end. I believe N-Mark could be a All-Star back-up for the AL this year. Look for good numbers and a solid season from Markakis all season long.

Nick Markakis has the potential to be an All-Star in 2008.

Q: Will Matt Weiters be a september call-up?

A: If The O's elect to trade Ramon Hernandez(Or can find a suitor), I think there is a 70% chance of a Weiters sighting in Baltimore come September. However, if Ramon is still with us, I think there is only a 40%-50% chance of a Weiters sighting in Baltimore. I believe MacPhail and Trembley will want to gte him a few at-bats in the majors here and there to prep him.

Q: Will the Orioles really finish below the Rays this year?

A: Without any significant injuries, I would say yes. The Rays got better over the off-season by adding Cliff Floyd and Troy Percival and bringing up thrid base super prospect Evan Longoria improves the team atleast 10 wins. Now with Wheeler, Reyes and Percival, theyhave a decent bullpen and there offense looks well rounded with Longoria, Crawford, Upton and Pena. Plus, they have a pretty good Top 3 in the rotation in Kazmir, Shields and Garza. However, one or two major injuries could put the Rays right back where they have been for so many years, 5th place.

Q: Will the O's look like they are heading in the right direction by the end of the year?

A: Every year the O's look like a contender in April, then suck it up the rest of the way. This year, it will be the opposite way. The O's will do bad and get better as the season progresses and the younger players get legit playing time. Expect last place in the division, but it will be a fun losing season in my mind. The team will eventually get better and be in the right direction.

Randor Bierd appears as one of the young O's players who will progress as the season goes on.




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com